This Is How Gynecologists Soothe Their Own Period Cramps
12 months ago, 12 Jan 17:47
If your cramps hit like clockwork every month, leaving you curled up on your couch in agony, you know this particular period symptom is a special brand of sucky. But you're not alone in your misery: "Gynos get cramps too," says Jaime Goldstein, M.D., an ob-gyn at the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center. Yes, that female gynecologist of yours gets the same period cramps that make you curse your uterus every month. The thing is, gynos know more than the gynecological system and its monthly flow than the average person—including how to kick those period cramps. "We've just found what works for us to end the cramping, or at least make it more manageable," she says. After all, they can't suddenly cancel all of that day's Pap smears just because they have a case of killer cramps. For some gynos, that means taking a monthly, multi-pronged approach: "I usually combine three of four different strategies to manage my cramps," says Jessica Shepherd, M.D., an assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at The University of Illinois College at Chicago. While a single strategy can certainly help, put several together and you've got a force to be reckoned with. So what are these strategies, you ask? Well, we asked the same thing. Here, top female gynos explain how they alleviate their own period cramps—and how you can, too. And, no, you definitely haven't tried all of their tricks before. So get ready cork your wine bottle, hit up the gym, and even have some between-the-sheets Os. "Sex helps with everything!" says Maureen Whelihan, M.D., an ob-gyn at the Elite GYN Care of the Palm Beaches. And she notes that applies to both couples and solo play. That’s because (fun fact) having an orgasm increases blood flow to the uterus, which can help with cramps. Plus, orgasms trigger a release of feel-good pleasure chemicals including oxytocin and dopamine. Just make sure that, if vaginal sex is your method of choice, you use a condom. "If your partner ejaculates on the cervix it will actually cause an increase in inflammatory compounds called prostaglandins in response, which can make cramping worse," she explains. "When I'm on the go, I stick an adhesive heating pad or rub some tiger balm onto my lower abdomen so that I can keep on seeing patients, or rocking skinny jeans while I'm bleeding," says Julie Levitt, M.D., an ob-gyn with the Women’s Group of Northwestern. That's because applying heat to your abdomen can actually help the uterine muscles relax, which means less cramping, she explains. But even making yourself a cup of hot herbal tea to drink in transit will help warm and relax you from the inside, says Sheppard, which is why she goes for chamomile that time of month. Stay away from hot cocoa or other sugary beverages, though, and stick to herbal teas, she suggests, because excess sugar intake can worsen cramps. And if the cramps start at the end of your night, then try drawing yourself a hot and steamy bath. ...
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