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Period pains: NHS give advice on helping cramps

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Menstrual pain is a throbbing or cramping feeling in the lower abdomen that tends to occur just before and during a woman’s period. The level of pain differs from person to person, but there are lots of ways to reduce or treat the pain, including using supplements. Express.co.uk reveals the six best supplements for period pain.


When taken daily, magnesium could potentially prevent menstrual cramps.

According to the experts at Clue, magnesium works by relaxing the smooth muscle of the uterus and reducing the prostaglandins that cause period pain.

Some researchers suggest that magnesium is such a great treatment for PMS because it calms the nervous system and normalises the actions of different hormones on the central nervous system.

Magnesium can be found in green leafy vegetables, chocolate and nuts, but supplements are often necessary because magnesium is depleted by stress.


Omega-3s are a common ingredient in PMS supplements, drug interaction flagyl alcohol and there’s an obvious reason for that.

One study found that fish oil could be more effective than ibuprofen in reducing period pain.

On top of that, Omega-3 fatty acids can also help to reduce depression, anxiety, lack of concentration and bloating associated with period pain.

Vitamin D

Making sure you’re getting enough vitamin D could reduce your risk of PMS and severe period cramps.

The team at Holland and Barrett explained: “The anti-inflammatory properties of vitamin D also mean it could make menstrual cramps less severe.

“A high dose could decrease the production of prostaglandins, helping to weaken one of the main reasons why you’re getting cramps.”


If you measure the blood calcium levels in women suffering with symptoms of PMS versus those who aren’t, the women with PMS may often have lower blood calcium levels.

Lots of research suggests that increasing your calcium intake through supplements could help menstrual cramps, alongside other PMS symptoms such as mood swings and bloating.

Calcium helps the muscles and tissues in your body to relax, which is useful if you’re experiencing cramps.


Zinc is a key player in the production of oestrogen and progesterone – the hormones that stimulate the ovaries and bring on a period.

The experts at A Vogel said: “There is also some evidence to suggest that zinc could help to ease severe menstrual cramps to allow women to continue with their regular routine.

“The reasons for this are debated slightly though it could be to do with the anti-inflammatory properties of the mineral.

“Oyster, beef, pumpkin seeds and cashew nuts are all great sources of zinc.”

B Vitamins

Vitamin B1 and B12 could both help to ease menstrual cramps.

Vitamin B12 is particularly useful if you have heavy periods because the vitamin makes red blood cells, which help to prevent anaemia.

Studies have shown that the combination of vitamin B12 and fish oil can contribute to relieving period pain.

Anyone concerned about their periods should discuss their symptoms with a GP.

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