During a period, the uterus contracts to squeeze the lining away from the uterine wall and allow it to exit the body through the vagina. These contractions can cause pain or discomfort. Many people refer to them as cramps.

During menstruation, most people experience cramps in the lower abdomen, although the pain can also radiate to the lower back, groin, or upper thighs. Menstrual cramps tend to be worst at the beginning of a period and become less uncomfortable as the days go on.

Many home remedies can help relieve menstrual cramps, including the following:

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1. Apply heat to the abdomen

Placing a hot water bottle or heating pad against the abdomen can relax the muscles and relieve cramps.

Heat helps the uterine muscle and those around it relax, which may ease cramping and discomfort.

A person can also place a heating pad on the lower back to get rid of back pain. Another option is to soak in a warm bath, which can help relax the muscles in the abdomen, back, and legs.

Read about five heating pads to consider here.

2. Engage in gentle exercise

Although exercise might be the last thing many people feel like doing when they have cramps, it may provide pain relief.

Strenuous exercise might not be beneficial if a person is in pain, but gentle stretching, going for a walk, or doing yoga may help. Exercise also releases endorphins, which are nature’s natural pain relievers.

A Taiwanese studyTrusted Source found that 12 weeks of twice-weekly yoga classes reduced menstrual cramps in study participants.

Learn more about some of the top workout mats here.

3. Reach orgasm

An orgasm may help alleviate menstrual cramps. During orgasm, the uterus contracts but then releases. This may help lessen the impact of menstrual contractions.

Like exercise, having an orgasm also releases endorphins and other hormones that relieve pain, helping a person feel good.

Learn more about sex during menstruation here.

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4. Try acupuncture to relieve cramps

ResearchTrusted Source has shown that acupuncture can relieve menstrual cramps. This treatment may reduce inflammation, in addition to releasing endorphins and helping people relax.

A person is more likely to benefit from an ongoing course of acupuncture than a single session.

5. Massage the abdomen

Getting a massage or performing self-massage over the abdomen can also relax the pelvic muscles and alleviate cramping. People can gently rub a massage oil, body lotion, or coconut oil into their skin to help this process.

Shop the 10 best stress-relief lotions here.

6. Massage the abdomen with essential oils

Massaging the abdomen with essential oils may provide additional benefits for those experiencing menstrual cramps.

According to a 2015 review, the following oils may help a person manage cramp symptoms:

  • rosemary
  • Roman chamomile
  • clary sage
  • peppermint

People can try adding a few drops of at least one of these essential oils to a carrier oil for an effective abdominal self-massage.