Two months later, women who had taken the vitamin rated their pain 2.3 points lower than initially on a scale from 0 to 10, and none of them took painkillers anymore.
By contrast, 40 percent of those women who had swallowed the inactive liquid still took the drugs and reported no reduction in pain, according to Dr. Antonino Lasco and colleagues from Universita di Messina.
Manson said it’s unclear if women without vitamin D deficiency would also benefit, and the optimal treatment dose and duration remain murky.
How to ease menstrual cramps?
If your pain is less severe, but still sets your teeth on edge and makes you cranky, here are some tried-and-true ways to avoid cramping.
1. TRY ADVIL.
Start taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug (I prefer Ibuprofen, like Advil) regularly three or four days before your period is ready to start. Ibuprofen lowers your body’s production of prostaglandins, which scientists believe contribute to menstrual cramps. But if you wait until you actually have cramps to take the Ibuprofen, it won’t be nearly as effective, so make sure to take it in the recommended dosage BEFORE your period starts.
2. CONSIDER THE PILL.
The hormones in birth control pills not only help regulate your period, they also help maintain a steady level of hormones, which greatly reduces the severity of menstrual cramps.
3. MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT.
Fat cells produce estrogen, a hormone that, if imbalanced, also contributes to uterine cramps.
4. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER.
If you’re well-hydrated, your liver functions better, keeping your hormones (like estrogen) balanced.
5. STAY AWAY FROM COFFEE.
Caffeine, commonly found in colas, coffee, and even most teas, is a diuretic, and can make cramps a lot worse.
Not just during your period, because who wants to exercise then? Exercise regularly. It will reduce your stress level (stress makes cramps feel worse), and it will release endorphins into your system, which will reduce the amount of pain you feel.
7. HEAT IS YOUR FRIEND.
No matter how many preventive measures you take, camps happen. When they do, using a heat pad on your lower back and abdomen can help relax your muscles and relieve the pain.
8. HAVE A SALAD.
Leafy greens, like spinach, contain lots of magnesium, which is a natural muscle relaxant. Studies have shown that women with the worst cramping are often magnesium-deficient.
9. DON’T FORGET THE FIBER!
Excess hormones are expelled through our bowel tracts, but if they sit there for too long, our bodies re-absorb them (lovely!). So make sure you get plenty of fiber to keep the mail moving.
10. SKIP THE CHIPS.
You might be craving salty junk food, but it will only make your cramps worse, trust me.
Since I started watching what I eat and went on the Pill, I haven’t had a single cramp. Not one. What about you? Do you have any anti-cramp tricks to share?
And there may be side effects from mega-doses of the nutrient. For instance, an Australian study found that older women getting 500,000 IUs per year had an increased risk of falls and fractures.
Vitamin D is naturally made by the skin when exposed to sunlight and is also found in high amounts in fatty fish such as salmon and tuna.