Vitamin D may help to get rid of period cramps, says study

Period pain is quite common and if you are looking for something beyond hot water bottle and medicines, try vitamin D. It may help to het rid of period cramps.
Woman having period pain
Find out the link between vitamin D levels and period pain. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 6 Jul 2023, 20:03 pm IST
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Period pain knocks on most women’s door every month without fail. While some try home remedies, others do yoga to relieve pain associated with period cramps. You can also give vitamin D a shot to do away with period pain. A study published by National Library of Medicine showed that when vitamin D supplements were given to women with primary dysmenorrhea who have vitamin D deficiency, it helped to reduce the severity and frequency of period pain. Read on to find out the link between vitamin D and period pain.

vitamin d and period cramps
Vitamin D might help you with period pain. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What are period cramps?

Period cramps, also known as dysmenorrhea, are painful sensations that you feel in the lower abdomen or pelvic region during menstruation. The cramps are caused by the contraction of the uterus as it sheds its lining.

Vitamin D and period cramps

Going by some studies like the one published by National Library of Medicine, \vitamin D might have a beneficial effect on period pain. Health Shots connected with Dr Rashmi Baliyan, Gynaecologist and Obstetrician Consultant, Primus Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi to explore how vitamin D might help in reducing period pain.

According to the expert, individual results might vary, and it’s always advisable to consult with a doctor before starting any new supplements.

Vitamin D for period cramps relief

To potentially use vitamin D for period cramp relief, make sure you maintain optimal vitamin D levels naturally in the body. This can be done by:

• Exposing yourself to sunlight which helps to trigger vitamin D synthesis in the skin.
• Eating vitamin D-rich foods.
• Taking vitamin D supplements as prescribed by your doctor.

Click here to know more about how to increase vitamin D in the body!

period cramps and vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency may worsen your period pain. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Vitamin D deficiency and menstruation

Vitamin D deficiency might have an impact on a woman’s menstrual cycle, but the relationship between vitamin D and periods still needs to be studied, says Dr Baliyan. The expert points out that low levels of vitamin D might be associated with irregular menstrual cycles and heavier menstrual bleeding. While there isn’t conclusive evidence linking vitamin D deficiency directly to period cramps, it is important to maintain adequate levels of this vitamin for overall health.

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Nutrient deficiencies that can make period pain worse

Apart from vitamin D, there are nutrient deficiencies that can potentially worsen period pain. Some of them are:

1. Magnesium

Insufficient levels of magnesium have been associated with increased severity of menstrual cramps, says Dr Baliyan. Consuming magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, or taking magnesium supplements, might help to alleviate symptoms.

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2. Omega-3 fatty acids

These essential fats have anti-inflammatory properties and might help to reduce period pain. Foods like fatty fish, flaxseeds and chia seeds are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

3. Calcium

Low calcium levels have been linked to more severe period cramps. So, start eating calcium-rich foods like dairy products, leafy greens and fortified plant-based milks.

Ways to stop period cramps

We know that applying a heating pad or a hot water bottle can help to relax the muscles and relieve period cramps. There are some more options:

1. Exercise

Engaging in light to moderate exercise such as walking or gentle stretching might help to reduce period pain by releasing endorphins and improving blood circulation.

2. Pain relievers

Over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium can help to alleviate menstrual cramps. But don’t just self-medicate, and follow the dosage recommended by your doctor.

3. Relaxation techniques

Practices like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help to reduce stress and relax the body, potentially easing period cramps.

4. Dietary adjustments

Eating a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins can support overall health and potentially reduce menstrual pain.

5. Herbal remedies

Some herbal supplements like ginger, cinnamon, and chamomile have been traditionally used to alleviate period cramps, says the expert. However, their effectiveness might vary.

If period cramps are severe enough to impact your daily activities or are accompanied by other concerning symptoms, go to a doctor and get yourself checked.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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