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(HealthDay News) -- Many women have menstrual cramps before and during their periods. Symptoms can range from mild discomfort to severe pain, nausea and vomiting.
The New York Methodist Hospital offers suggestions on how to help reduce menstrual cramps, and ease symptoms once they've begun:
As long as two weeks before the first day of your cycle, you should make changes in your diet to help reduce the onset of cramps. Maintaining a healthy, low-fat diet with lots of fruits, vegetables and lean meats can help prevent abdominal pain during your cycle.
Immediately before and during your period, limit red meat, salt, caffeine, sugar and alcohol intake.
Light exercise, yoga and meditation also may reduce the pain of menstrual cramps.
Over-the-counter and prescription medications such as Tylenol or naproxen can help ease symptoms. Talk to your doctor about starting these medications a day or two before your cycle begins.
Applying a warm heating pad to the abdominal area, or a warm bath, also may help ease menstrual pain.
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