Menstrual cramp remedies: Stop the pain naturally!

Menstrual cramp remedies: Stop the pain naturally!

Hello, ladies. I’m back talking about our “Aunt Flow.” Again. Lately, I’ve received some comments and emails asking me how to deal with menstrual camps and heavy bleeding. It’s kind of a huge discussion, so I hope I can contain the essence here and provide something useful for at least someone. So without further ado… menstrual cramp remedies in 3, 2, 1…

What are menstrual cramps? Why do they happen?

Natural remedies for menstrual cramps - Good to know.

Menstrual cramps are caused by contractions in the uterus. During each menstrual period, if there is no sperm to fertilize the egg, the uterus contracts to expel its lining. This process is driven by the release of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins.

These uterine contractions cause much of the pain felt during menstrual cramps because the contractions inhibit blood flow to the lining of the uterus. If the uterus contracts too strongly, it can press against nearby blood vessels, cutting off the supply of oxygen to the muscle tissue of the uterus. Pain results when part of a muscle briefly loses its supply of oxygen. (1, 2)

Conventional menstrual cramp remedies

Pain Medication

Do a quick search for “menstrual cramp remedies” and you’ll find lots of articles telling you to take ibuprofen at the first sign of menstrual woes. I personally try to avoid ibuprofen and most over-the-counter pain relief medications. They should be a last resort to dealing with pain, and preferably not a monthly addition to your diet.

Why? Well, without going into too much detail, ibuprofen can cause bad side effects in your digestive system, nervous system, and cardiovascular system. Um… that’s a lot of systems! (And pretty essential ones at that.) Learn more here.

Hormonal Birth Control

Another common suggestion to dealing with intense menstrual cramps and heavy bleeding is to take birth control pills. This makes sense on some level since the latest research suggests that cramps and other menstrual issues start with hormonal imbalances. However, birth control pills are synthetic hormones that override the normal hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian hormonal axis to prevent ovulation. In other words: very unnatural.

Natural remedies for menstrual cramps - Good to know.

If you take a look at the list of side effects that comes with each package of pills you may feel “less safe” taking them. I know from personal experience that birth control pills were not doing my body good. I had some bad reactions that scared me off for good. But even without immediate reactions, long term use leaves individuals wide open for potentially major problems including infertility, cancer, stroke, blood clots, etc. (3)

 The belief that birth control pills are safe comes from more than 40 years of continuous brainwashing by the pharmaceutical industry to both physicians and the public. We are victims of misinformation and dangerous practices. – Erika Schwartz, MD

This is why I try and avoid “conventional” approaches to remedy menstrual cramps. They may take away the pain, but at what cost? I understand that those who suffer from intense menstrual cramps are desperate for relief. But please consider the long term affects before sipping down another pill.

Natural menstrual cramp remedies

On the “much safer” spectrum of common menstrual cramp remedies are things that ultimately help bring oxygen to the muscles. This is good since cramp pain is due to intense contractions that temporarily cut off oxygen to the surrounding muscles.

Natural remedies for menstrual cramps - Good to know.

The most common natural remedies include:

  • Exercising
  • Heating pad (like this… relaxes the muscles which bring oxygen to them)
  • Acupuncture
  • Abdominal massage
  • Warm  baths
  • Yoga
  • Adequate sleep

These are definitely great things to try if you are in the middle of a painful cycle. They are true “all natural” menstrual cramp remedies. My kind of stuff.

But wouldn’t you like to STOP your menstrual cramps so you don’t need to worry about remedies?

I thought so.

Look for more than a remedy: Stop menstrual cramps for good!

Let’s get to the root of the problem. Most menstrual disorders (cramping, heavy bleeding, etc.) are caused by imbalanced hormones.* Imbalanced hormones are partially caused by nutritional deficiencies. They are also caused by environmental toxins and stress. So while every person is different, taking a serious look at food, digestion, and the environment can provide some real solutions. Let’s briefly look at each of these:

Traditional diet for menstrual cramp relief

When you think about the standard American diet, it’s easy to see why cramps are such a common issue theses days. Menstrual cramps affect more than 50% of women, and among these, up to 15% would describe their menstrual cramps as severe? (4)

During my teens and early twenties I had plenty of months where I was toppled over in pain because of cramps. On these days I was only able to really function if I took some ibuprofen.

Once I began implementing whole, organic, nutrient-dense real foods into my diet, however, I noticed my cramps went away. It’s been at least three years since I’ve had a period with cramps. My periods are also lighter and I have less PMS symptoms.

Let your food be your medicine, and let your medicine be your food.

-Hippocrates

Taking the commitment to eat real food is a gradual, long process for most. It is not easy, but it is very simple. When we get our body back to its natural state through real nutrition it functions a whole lot better.

I eat a whole foods diet and STILL get cramps? What’s the deal?

If you still suffer from menstrual cramps and heavy bleeding despite eating a real foods diet chances are that you may have some digestive issues going on.

Odds are pretty great that you will be surprised to learn, in nearly every case of menstrual cramps, it all goes back to digestion… When I talk about digestion, I’m talking about people’s ability to properly break down the food they are eating. – T.C. Hale

If you have food allergies and/or leaky gut, you may have more complex hormonal problems. Your body has to be able to use the food you eat. I have heard of people eliminating cramps by doing GAPS or other temporary healing diets.

Specific foods to consider

The following is not a complete list. It’s simply some suggestions of foods that may be used to help bring balance to your body. Remember, if your body has been dealing with poor diet for many years it will take some time to heal. In my experience you will notice improvement fairly quickly, but full recovery can take years.

Along with a real foods diet, consider including the following:

  • Maca Root: (Like this) Maca is a cruciferous root found growing in the high regions of Peru and has been cultivated for about two thousand years. It has been traditionally and is currently used as a food. The Peruvians believe it gives strength and endurance, enhances ones fertility, and supports pregnancies and menstruation. (Learn more)
  • Magnesium and Calcium: These two minerals reduce muscle soreness. Although it can take time for you to see a noticeable effect. Research also suggest that getting 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day can help lessen many menstrual symptoms. Raw milk is a great source of minerals (and also useful in helping your body absorb minerals, too.) (Where to find quality supplements)  (5)
  • Fatty fish: Fish that contain Omega 3 fatty acids not only help a woman’s heart health it also contains an anti-inflammatory effect that can help with cramps as well as bloating. (6) Also be sure to include Cod Liver Oil: It has the benefits of Omega 3′s AND vitamin D which is essential for mineral absorption. (Where to buy quality FCLO)
  • Plenty of good fats: Aim for 30 – 50% of your diet, including butter, cream, coconut oil, and whole milk. (where to find quality fats)

Foods to avoid:

  • Phytoestrogens likes soy
  • Caffeine
  • Processed foods

Other environmental factors

While I believe food is the biggest culprit to menstrual issues, other environmental factors can definitely add to the problem.

You may find relief from eliminating the following:

  • Stress (as much as possible. Don’t stress about eliminating stress, okay?)
  • Toxic cosmetics or cleaning products (Not sure where to start? Check this out.)
  • Plastics, canned food (most cans are lined with BPA), etc.
  • Toxic tampons and pads (Many people say their cramps went away after using a menstrual cup, like these.)

And consider doing the following: 

  • Sleep in darkness
  • Earthing (Both sleeping in darkness and Earthing can help decrease stress and inflammation and lower cortisol levels.)
  • Get some sunshine (The sun is important for vitamin D which is critical in helping your body absorb minerals… a crucial menstrual cramp remedy).
  • Get your body moving!

Remember, the goal is to get your body (and your hormones) back to a balanced state. Despite the fact that many assume cramps are just part of life, our bodies are designed to function without pain. Pain is always an indication that something needs attention.

*While I do believe that the majority of women struggling with cramps and heavy bleeding are due to hormonal imbalances triggered by poor nutrition or environmental factors, everyone is different. In some instances a “tipped” uterus or other biological abnormalities can be the result. It’s always wise to seek advise from your healthcare professional.

P.S. Since writing this post, Lauren of Empowered Sustenance had written an AWESOME book called “Quite PMS” where she teaches you how to relieve cramps, PMS, and the like. You can read my review of the book here.

What are your favorite “go to” menstrual cramp remedies?

 

Stop menstrual cramps naturally with these menstrual cramp remedies. www.thankyourbody.com

 

References:
1. http://women.webmd.com/menstrual-cramps
2. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/157333.php
3. http://www.nowpublic.com/the_case_against_birth_control_pills#ixzz27c5xfAO2
4. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/157333.php
5. http://www.wikihow.com/Reduce-Menstrual-Cramps
6. http://jenubouka.hubpages.com/hub/Foods-That-Help-Ease-Menstrual-Cramps

This post is part of Monday ManiaSweet Sharing Monday, Scratch Cookin’ TuesdayFat TuesdayClever ChicksNatural Living Monday, Whole Foods Wednesday,  Wednesday Fresh FoodsHealthy 2Day WednesdayLiving Green Tuesday, Real Food WednesdayFrugal Days Sustainable Ways, Simple Lives ThursdayFreaky Friday, Fill Those Jars FridayThe Mommy Club, Creative Juice Thursday, Small Footprint Friday, Simply Natural SaturdaysFight Back Friday, and Sunday School.

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About the author

Hi! I'm and I’m passionate about healthy living: feeling nourished, having energy, getting good sleep, and feeling strong. I believe healthy living does not have to be complicated or stressful. I’m a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist (RSMT) and a Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst (CLMA). I’m also an avid researcher and love to read about nutrition, the body, and toxic-free living. Learn more.

View all articles by Robin Konie

181 comments

  1. Monica

    I have also heard that evening primrose oil is good for cramps. I’m sure that our diet has something to do with cramps and PMS symptoms. I remember reading a study a long time ago that noted how women of traditional cultures did not experience these intense hormonal fluctuations, moodiness, pms, etc; while these things are all considered normal in our culture.


    1. Post author
      robin

      Oh yes! I’ve heard that about primrose oil, too. Thanks for the reminder!

      Yes, I think there are a lot of things we take as “part of life” that really are pretty new to the human experience. It’s not surprising when you consider how much our food and environment have changed in the past 100 or so years.

      1. Nienke

        Evening Primrose Oil works because it contains the Omega 6 fatty acid GLA. This is a good Omega 6! And we most often don’t get enough of it in our diets so supplementation is a good thing.

        It plays an important role in synthesising hormones, so definately useful in fertility & menstrual cycle problems.

        But, since it’s an Omega 6, even a good one, it does count in the Omega 3 / 6 balance ratio.

        So you do have to ‘top’ it with Omega 3, preferably in a supplement that combines the two or taken together. So taking your EPO together with GreenPastures’ Royal Therapeutics for instance, will provide you with a wide range of good fatty acids and should most likely provide you with at least some relief (unless the problem is somewhere else entirely).

        Kind regards
        Nienke
        Greenlady consultancy (herbalism, food & health)

        1. sugarfoot

          Its being hammered into people who care that we are over saturated with omega 6. Is there an omega balanced supplement oil? preferably one that isnt obscenely expensive and I can pour on my salad?

          1. mahalie

            Udo’s oil is a wonderful plant based blend, great on salad. Not sure if it would be too expensive but I prioritize it. It’s $20/bottle.

    2. Erin W

      My naturopath recommended I take flax oil during the first half of my cycle and evening primrose oil the second half. I HATED the taste of the flax oil so I ate some soaked flax crackers instead or just skipped it but took the evening primrose oil the second half. It made a HUGE difference for me. Cramps were greatly reduced if there at all and my flow went from a very heavy seven days to a much more reasonable flow for 5 days. Even without perfect compliance I felt good results but during the month I ran out of evening primrose and kept forgetting to get more it was back to it’s old awful ways.

      Not a concern now as I’m pregnant, but considering how awful my periods have been since the beginning this is a fix I won’t be forgetting.

      1. Shawna

        How did you take the oils? Like, how often within a day and in what form? I have severe menstrual cramps and am looking for a natural remedy.

    3. Cat

      DoTerra has an essential oils blend called Solace that helps me a lot. It contains clary sage, lavender, bergamot, roman chamomile, cedar wood, ylang ylang, geranium, fennel, carrot seed, palmarosa, and vitex. Not sure what it is about the blend that works, but I’m also using essential oils to heal my son’s eczema, so I’m becoming a believer in these God-given natural remedies.

  2. Erin

    I removed grains & legumes from my diet and increased my (healthy) fat intake in order to combat some thyroid problems I was having. I couldn’t believe that my cramps & PMS (as well as my astigmatism) disappeared as well! Heartily recommend a whole foods diet for anyone battling debilitating menstrual cramps :)


    1. Post author
      robin

      Awesome, Erin! It’s true… for many people they may find much improved health from removing grains & legumes (even temporarily to heal the gut). Real food is so amazing. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. cindy

    I just started a higher fat lower carb diet this month it is defiantly a struggle for me my cycle has been so much better this month it is still pretty uncomfortable but I have a copper IUD in so maybe I can’t expect perfection with a foreign object in my uterus


        1. Post author
          Robin Konie

          I think both are real food. Some people have intolerance to grains and legumes, especially if they aren’t prepared a certain way. They can be hard to digest if you have leaky gut or other metabolic issues. But if you’ve never experienced any negative side effects eating either, by all means eat up. :)

  4. Liliana Verd

    Abdomen massage:
    I have always had terrible cramps since my very first period and its really hard to stop the pain even with ibuprofen or naproxen, the dr started recommending taking it the day before but my period is not clockwork.

    One time when I was about 25, I was crawling on the floor with pain again and my mom who has always suffered for me got in bed with me. And started strongly massaging my belly, slowly I felt more relaxed and fell asleep waking up so rested and with no pain.

    When I saw her the next morning she told me the opposite. Even though she didn’t have her period she said she had a terrible night sleep with lots of menstrual and back pain. She never really suffered menstrual cramps during her periods.

    Since then I try to relax and massage my belly or I ask my husband since he can do it a little stronger. Up until a few years back that I changed my diet to a whole foods, healthy fats, no grains diet that I no longer suffer any cramps but like you say that takes some time to take effect.

    Great article, thanks!!


    1. Post author
      robin

      Great, tip! I love a good massage, and I can only imagine an abdomen massage would be great for this. Thanks, Liliana!

  5. Danielle

    Definitely planning on revisiting this post as I continue to figure out what foods work best with my body. Thanks :)

  6. lady kaye

    Regarding the vitamin D, i was attending a conference this past weekend where Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton satisfy that we only need15 minutes in the sun to get our daily dose of Vit. D so let’s not overdo it. Remember to wear your sunscreen in all other cases.

  7. Katherine @ Green Thickies

    I used to suffer so badly from cramps, moods and feeling so ill. I used to have such heavy bleeding for a whole week. After I started a whole foods vegan diet getting lots of green smoothies and raw food in my diet I have no symptoms whatsoever of a period. I don’t get any signs my period is on it’s way and forget I’ve got it apart from very light bleeding for a couple of days. This has made a massive impact on my life. Thank you for highlighting this.

  8. Katie M

    I just started drinking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea. The first cycle I took it, I didn’t start drinking it till after I already had cramps, it helped some, but I was still hurting pretty bad. This last time, I started drinking it at day 28 (I’m also somewhat irregular, so I never know when I’m going to start as in the last year I’ve had as short as 29 days and as long as 42). This was also the first cycle that I used a menstrual cup. Not sure if its credited to the tea or the cup, but my usually severe cramps were only a mild discomfort, and I only bled for 6 days instead of 8.


    1. Post author
      robin

      I drank red raspberry leaf tea while pregnant and postpartum. I noticed it helped my recovery after pregnancy a lot. It makes sense that it would help with cramps, too. Thanks!

  9. Janice

    I have had severe PMS and cramping every month since my first cycle. I went gluten free a couple of years ago, did some cleansing/detox, and made other changes to help with some other issues. About a year ago, I noticed that I no longer had PMS, heavy flow or cramps (at age 41)! I couldn’t believe it. I had cramps for one cycle but that was a time of a lot of stress. I now try to manage my stress better too and haven’t had any problems.


    1. Post author
      robin

      Awesome, Janice! I also notice that when I *do* have any slight menstrual “issues” that I can now trace it back to stress. This is why I still love to do yoga as much as possible as it is my #1 stress reducer. :)

  10. Helen B. @ Blue Eyed Beauty Blog

    This was a very interesting article. I was in a really bad car wreck (I got hit in the drivers side door by someone going 80+ mph while I was nearly stopped) and ever since then I’ve exerperienced terrible cramps. I never had them before that. I have found that using an ab lounge while on my period helps my cramps not be near as bad, I just didnt know why that was until now!

    I am stopping over from the blog hop at Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways and am now following via emial!

    Helen
    Blue Eyed Beauty Blog


    1. Post author
      robin

      Have you looked into any sort of chiropractic work? There’s a chance that a misalignment could be cutting off oxygen to part of your body which would result in cramps. Even slight imbalances can affect the nervous system and trigger a pain response. I’d definitely get it checked out. I was in a car accident once… nothing big at all as I was barely side hit by someone who ran a red light. Thought I was fine. 6 months later I couldn’t move my head… I had a bulged disc that needed attention. All better now, but it’s amazing how our body responds to forced impacts, even months or years after the fact.

      Good luck!

  11. Lyza @ Chic Shades of Green

    I stopped eating grains a couple weeks ago and it didn’t even occur to me until I read this that I didn’t have any cramps last time around.

    I’m cautious about your statement that Maca is safe for pregnancy, everything I have read about it says that it might not be safe because it can cause uterine contractions.

    I found your link on Fresh Foods Wednesday.


    1. Post author
      robin

      Good point, Lyza. As I mentioned, it’s been believed by Peruvians to be beneficial to pregnancy for a long time. I don’t necessarily recommend it for pregnancy (I think that’s something to be discussed with your healthcare provider), but I do know women who have seen improvement to menstrual cramps who have included maca as part of their real foods diet. But, as with any “super” food or food taken as a supplement, you should definitely do your own research and talk to your healthcare provider.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      1. Kwasi

        WWhat are whole diet or food? If few examples can be given.Can i get MACA in Beijing China? Thanks

  12. Karen

    one exercise that helps when i have cramps is to get in the fetal position, but on my knees. Like kneel, then put your bottom down on your feet,then lay forward until your head is on the floor. Then take one leg back and stretch it back behind you. stay in this position for a few minutes then bring that leg back under you, then put the other leg out straight behind you. it really does work to stretch out those muscles down there and help them relax.

  13. Crunchy4Life

    You are very right about diet. We started WAPF intro but still eating some nasty stuff esp eating out. Then we watched Food, Inc & eating out…not so much. Got more into the Nourishing Traditions & added Rosemary Gladstar’s womb tea (+ chaste tree berry added) 3 weeks of the month (not drinking when I start, then for a week) cramps & flow a lot lighter & more tolerable. This is coming from a person where 800mg ibprofen + tylenol 3 + valuim barely did anything the 1st 24 hours were a living hell. That was going on 4 years ago & haven’t looked back, but to warn people in simular situations about its all in the diet!

  14. Rebecca

    I will try maca root since it is recommended here, and plan on ordering some soon, but it would be heaven sent if it helped…

    I do Yoga, I use a heating pad, I eat natural, no caffeine, except a teeny bit in my Jasmine green tea, I drink raw milk, use pastured eggs, coconut oil, etc. Barely any processed foods, maybe a couple times a month.

    I drink raw milk kefir every day and have a great digestive system.

    And I get horrifying cramps, not only during menstruation, but during ovulation as well. I am talking throwing up, curling in a ball, etc.

    I would LOVE to have a natural way to get rid of these cramps, as it is debilitating.

    Unfortunately I don’t think it is possible without a hysterectomy. So I reach for either motrin or aleve for a couple days each month. I hate that I do that, but I am in so much pain.

    There is scar tissue in my abdominal cavity (I am not overweight at all, so there aren’t layers of subcutaneous fat in between my organs). I had an appendectomy and the surgeon apparently dropped STAPLES in my abdominal cavity. When my OBGYN went in for exploratory surgery to see if I had endometriosis, he saw some staples EMBEDDED IN MY OVARIES! others were floating around against my uterus. he also saw a LOT of scar tissue, that he broke up the best he could, but is probably there again, and so I think that is my problem… scar tissue.

    Any little movement (even some bowel movements) will cause a ton of cramping as food moves through my intestines (if I don’t drink enough water for sure). When my uterus contracts to relief itself of the lining, oh boy, it hurts like the dickens.

    So, I do not believe there is a natural cure for my menstrual cramps. I wish!


    1. Post author
      robin

      Oh, Rebecca! I’m so sorry. That sounds awful.

      You are right, sometimes there is nothing we can do and that’s when I’m grateful for modern medicine. It definitely has its place. My mom had a tipped uterus that would give her major issues each cycle. There wasn’t much she could do about it. She eventually went the hysterectomy route… not fun, but made things so much better for her in the long run. Sadly, that’s the reality of life sometimes. That’s why I think it’s important to know our options, but not feel bad if we have to choose a “less natural” approach. Even though I think, in generally, people don’t realize the power behind more natural, basic approaches to health, I certainly believe that modern medicine has it’s place. Grateful that we have it when we need it.

      Good luck!

  15. Nichole

    I use to get terrible cramps! The first few days of each cycle were awful & I would end up sleeping in hot baths to ease the pain at night… not the safest thing :)

    Since eating more traditionally they have gotten better but only recently have then completely gone away. Since I started using cloth pads & a menstruation cup I have had any! I also just started the GAPS diet to heal food allergies so I hope they stay away for good. :)

  16. Rachel @ day2day joys

    You can also get under chiropractic care for cramps! :)

    Would love for you to link up to Healthy 2day Wednesdasy with all you healthy posts every week from Tues 11pm EST to Saturday Evening!

  17. B

    Great post! I totally second the magnesium and and calcium – it always works so well for me. I guess I must be a bit deficient.

    Also – what an awesome blog. I found it via Pistachio Project’s Natural Living Saturdays. Definitely going to start following.

  18. kristy @ gastronomical sovereignty

    i have the same issues with the birth control pill.. not to mention the classist and racist conditions during its invention. It’s also been instrumental in medicalizing the “normal” monthly cycle and pathologizing women who don’t fit into the medical community’s very narrow definition of CONTROLLED and healthy menstruation.

    love this post :)

    thank you for sharing your post with us at the Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up! I hope we’ll see you again this week with more amazing seasonal & real food posts. xo, kristy.

  19. Meghan

    When I read the book “Sugar Blues” by William Duffy, he had a few pages about women who eliminated sugar from their diets and therefore eliminated all cramps from menstration. I’ve been off of processed sugar (the white stuff) for a year and try to only occasionally use maple syrup and honey. I’ve really found a difference with that. Sugar Elimination paired with a healthy, whole foods, Nourishing Traditions diet has really helped me! Thanks for the great article.
    -Meghan

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  21. Sofi

    When I started drinking one green juice a day all my menstrual cramps, headaches, and back pain went away :)

  22. Annie

    As a woman with severe menstrual cramps, I was excited to read this post. I eat a real foods diet, exercise daily, and still have problems.

    I am wondering if you have an alternative to the 30-50% “good fats” you proposed consuming, since I am highly lactose intolerant. Considering how much of these good fats you suggest consuming, I’m not surprised I still cramp so severely, but I would be much worse off if I did eat all those delicious milk products!


    1. Post author
      robin

      Coconut oil, tallow (beef fat), lard (non-hydrogenated), and palm oil (from responsibly sourced farms) are great options for non-dairy fat. I’d also consider getting your hormones checked… make sure your vitamin D levels are good, too.

      Good luck, Annie!

  23. Annette

    My niece had severe monthly pain and these are the things she takes that have got rid of her pain

    a) ISAFLUSH b) ISAOMEGA Supreme c) ISACALCIUM and the
    d) AGELESS JOINT SUPPORT

    She is now pain free. Check out 360bodybeauty.com for natural products that helps these problems.

  24. safiya

    boil a tsp of cumin seeds in one cup water and a pinch of asafoetida reduse to half … drink hot frequently it wil reduce cramps

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  26. diya

    I am suffering from very severe cramps since the age of 13, now 1 am 20, and still having the same problem. I have even missed my school exams due to this, would it be helpful following a proper diet, i dont want it to affect my regular routine anymore. :(

      1. diya

        my changed diet helped a little with the pain, but from now on i am facing a different problem.
        i generally used to get periods before two days as the last month date, but now i am having nausea and feeling as if periods will come but it’s not coming, which is more painful. since two or more days i have noticed that i have discharged 1 or 2 drops of blood, but menstrual cycle has not started yet, i am very much tensed regarding this.


        1. Post author
          robin

          Oh man, I’m sorry. I wish I had some insight as to what may be going on, but there are so many factors that could be affecting this. I’d seek out a homeopathic doctor or someone else who really deals with “root issues” to help guide you. Good luck!

  27. silvia alvarez

    my daughter just started her period 2 months ago..first month was no problem, no pain, 5 days but last month she had really bad menstrual cramps, vomiting and diarreah and her period lasted almost a week. we dont eat processed food 95% of the time iam hoping and praying that this month it wont be as bad. will do of your tips but was wondering about giving her maca,if she is not too young for it? thanks…she is only 11!! =(

  28. Sarah

    I am 29 years old and have been getting painful periods since I was 13. I experience severe pain in my lower abdomen and lower back, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and have almost fainted a few times. Last year, I had to visit the emergency room 3 times. I’ve tried Premenstrual Tension from BrainSync Technology and I saw that if I listen to this for about 3-4 days before the strike I am more present more able to handle myself… and this helped immensely. Give it a try http://www.brainsynctechnology.com/shop/premenstrual-tension/ This has helped a lot.

  29. Taylor

    One thing my mother and I do is drink ginger mix with warm water. I put about one tbs in about a cup of warm water and it helps me with those cramps that makes self nauseaed. Ginger is like 4bucks at walmart and it beats putting med in the body to relieve the pain.

  30. Tamara

    Lovely!! :) hate period pains makes my back pain really bad! #sigh so unfair.. Great tips though:)

  31. Jill

    I can’t say enough great things about menstrual cups and the reduction in cramping! I don’t know why any woman would use a tampon or pad instead of a menstrual cup – I wish I knew about them when I was much younger. They have greatly lessened my cramping, sometimes to the point that I forget I have my period. Also since mine has never leaked, I don’t have to wear pads at all.


    1. Post author
      robin

      I know! People find it so strange, but they aren’t any stranger than tampons… and so much nicer for so many reasons.

  32. Debora Lemos Dal Corso

    Hello, I have endometriosis and I take the contraceptive Yaz prescribed by my doctor. Do you have any suggestions for more natural control of the problem? Thank you.


    1. Post author
      robin

      Endrometriosis is just something I’m starting to learn more about. Hopefully I can write a post about it in the future, but it may be a while before I feel prepared to put anything out there. I’m sure there’s something, I just don’t know what yet. Good luck!

    2. Beth Cartwright

      Endometeiosis has been linked to systemic yeast infection. The best way to get rid of the systemic yeast is to take an enzyme that is made for yeast digestion (cellulose) along with probiotics at least 2 times a day between meals.

  33. Kat

    Thanks for the tips. I had never ever experienced menstrual cramps until the last months which has made me concerned. My periods have always been totally pain free until I suddenly had a sudden onset of cramping during my last few menstrual cycles. It was so bad I almost fainted and had to take ibuprofen. I don’t know what has happened! Ive been trying to work out what has suddenly mucked up my hormones. I have just moved abroad and I have had to use normal toxic menstrual pads which I am thinking might have added to this all. I also don’t have access to grass fed meat and bone broth which I consumed all the time which has been a big change diet wise.


    1. Post author
      robin

      Oh no! I’m so sorry. Have you been stressed since moving? Moving is so stressful and I would imagine it’s even worse moving abroad. Try some meditation or yoga, make sure you get plenty of sleep, and hopefully it will work itself out once things settle a bit. Good luck!

  34. Michelle Waite

    I had bad cramps and PMS most of my life. I am now 43, the age where everything should be getting worse, but I feel the better than I ever have. My symptoms have almost disappeared after switching to a traditional diet. I also find that cramps and PMS and less of a problem when period comes shortly after I have been fighting a cold and I have been taking high doses of fish oil, probiotic foods and drinking broth. I also try to be more diligent about avoiding sugar when I have a cold, so that might help too.
    I also take ballet and my teacher has told us that certain moves you do often in ballet relieve cramps.

  35. rachael

    boil fresh ginger root and add in 40-60 drops of cramp bark tincture. this combo is powerful at relieving cramps.

    also, for digestive problems with cramping ::
    * blend 1-2 fresh, organic apples with a bit a water until they have the consistency of applesauce.
    * mix some kudzu root in cold water until it dissolves.
    * Heat the applesauce on the stove and add the kudzu.
    * Stir until it becomes thick.

    apple-kudzu is one of the most soothing foods for the digestive system, it is helpful when there is nausea & vomiting with cramping. i suggest researching the digestive virtues of kudzu root.

    also try probiotics, fermented foods such as raw sauerkraut and digestive enzymes. ocean-farmed, undyed salmon or wild salmon is great, especially when its raw fats are intact. chia seeds, organic raspberries & raspberry leaf tea.

    when food is poorly digested & assimilated or there is lots of dampness in the spleen, bloating, etc. my friend Rehmannia’s Taoist herbal product called “shapeshifter” does wonders. its described as a weight loss product on the site, but it also really helps with digestive heat & being able to transform/assimilate the food you eat. http://www.shamanshackherbs.com/shop/shapeshifter/

    ume plum tea for alkalinity and pain relief.

    noni powder for pain relief.

    sea buckthorn juice for omega 7 and soothing the digestive tract.

    ayurvedic remedy called shatavari for hormone balance.

    don’t eat or drink cold things around your cycle.

    drink plenty of SPRING water. none of that “brita” filtered tap.

    raw calcium from derived seaweed is very easy to assimilate. I take one called kelzyme which is unprocessed, fossilized kelp.

    magnesium oil rubbed into the belly and bottoms of the feet is helpful too.

    blessings to all.

  36. Anonymous

    I am suffering from this menstural pain from many years. I had ovarian cyst operation 4 years ago by laprotomy. Than I was under hormonal therapy with the pills for 10 months. I thought that after operation all will be ok but this pain is increasing every month. Dose of painkiller gives relief for 1 hour or few that too after 2 hr of taking the painkillers. This pain is effecting my personal and professional life. I require to take leave from work and stay back at home basically on the 2nd day of mensturation. I heard that walking is a solution I even started with morning walk but still the pain is same. Doctor says there isnt any permanent solution, probably after marriage or having baby will give some relief. Please help me with this problem.


    1. Post author
      robin

      I’m so sorry. That’s a tough thing to deal with each month.

      What is your diet like? That could be a huge factor in all of this… are you still on the pill? That could be another factor. I’ve also heard of some people getting relief from switching to a menstrual cup.

  37. Courtney

    Thank you!!!!!! I am young and have only gotten my period a few months ago. Today I’ve been waaaay tired and stressed, and getting cramps today after school… did not help!!!
    And now I know what to do, so thank you! I feel much more in control:)

  38. Pingback: What I Loved In April | Homemade Mommy

  39. kavleen

    2 or 3 days before periods warm dried dates in milk
    and drink it, one glass everyday. if u have severe period cramps drink the milk with dried dates during ur periods and take pain killer on the first day of ur periods.
    believe me this won’t cause u pain at all

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  41. valenhar

    Dear ladies,

    I would like to share my experiences with my menstrual cramps. I have been suffer this pain for more than 10years and tried lots of way to help.

    Here is my story to share:
    I used to have menstrual cramps since secondary school and it torture me for the past 10 years. The only things I do is eating painkiller to reduce the painful every month.

    Year after year, I have no idea that how many bills that have been eaten.

    Till I met my angel, she told me that she has abnormal months of the periods, it can be 3-4 month for once or 1-2 months for once.
    she told me that there is a pants that help her to improve from 3-4, 2-3. 1-2 till normal period monthly.

    She said that “why don’t you try it and you won’t be torture by the painful.

    I tell myself that “Yes, why don’t try it and it can help me improve it and even cure it. and I choose to believe it and it is already 8months that I have been wearing it.

    I love the pants!!!!!

    It is really help me improve till cure my painful. and I don’t have any painful now.

    You could said why say so, I it so magical?

    First things to ask yourself, do you know why female has menstrual cramps?

    It is the hormonal imbalances
    Cramps are caused by the contraction of your uterus
    (as it sloughs off the fertile layer it had prepared for a possible pregnancy; if there is an absence of a fertilized egg after ovulation has occurred, the uterine wall swells and sheds. )
    Menstrual cramps are usually side effects of greater-than-normal uterine muscle contractions.

    Therefore, we need something to protect our uterus and let it be warm and insulation and to improve the hormones system.

    Medication will only help you to reduce or stop the painful temporarily.

    I always remember ” Prevention is better than cure” !!!

    Ladies, our body is so precious and we need to take care of it.

    Love our body and health and it mean to love your family and your beloved!!!!
    Start now from young to protect your selves.

  42. Tanis

    MAGNESiUM!!!!! And yes red raspberry leaf tea as well as healthy diet and plenty if excercise but if nothing else take magnesium and lots of it! I too have had killer painful
    Cramps since 13 and would vomit, pass out etc every single month!! Nothing has helped the way magnesium has! N for me it can’t be cal mag it has to just be plain magnesium:)


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      Magnesium is amazing… and sadly something most of us our deficient in. A good reminder, thanks!

      1. T

        I am sceptical. The first few months were awesome. I never had cramps, as I got older they seem to have gotten worse.I played sport like 5days a week I avoided caffeine etc my biggest issue is probably my diet, love sugar and I battle because I’m in SA and some of the products these websites talk of are foreign and difficult to get. I’m 20 now, I don’t want to have to deal with this my whole life and I also don’t want to take the chance of being infertile due to contraceptive remedies. I’ll give some of the remedies a try and hopefully I find relief too. Brilliant article by the way

  43. Clove

    Hi Robin! I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be on this site or not (maybe you write these articles for older women) but all of the menstrual cramps I’ve suffered made me research ways to stop the pain, and it led me to this website. I guess you’d like some background information: I’m only 13 and I got my period when I was 11. I’ve had it for about 1 and a half years now. Whenever it’s that time of the month, I get really bad cramps and I feel like I can’t function. It hurts to the point where I’m just sitting there sweating from the pain, and during school I’m constantly leaving class and going to the nurse to lie down and try to make the pain go away. I’ve told my mom about it, but she hasn’t really done anything. She doesn’t get cramps, and neither does my older sister. I did notice that exercise helps. I joined the cross country team, and for those three months, the cramps I got during my period weren’t as painful. After the cross country season was over, the cramps returned to being the same painful as they were before. Now, the only relief I get is when I read a book, watch a movie, play games, etc. and get distracted from the pain. I even considered stealing some of my sister’s birth control, but I wasn’t sure about it and after reading this I know I don’t want to do it anymore. This article has a lot of good tips that I’ll definitely try, but I was just wondering. Are there also some kid friendly ways to stop the pain? If you see this reply, thanks for taking some time to read it and I hope you can answer my question!


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      Hi Clove,

      Sorry to hear about your cramps. It can be so frustrating. I’d say that everything in this post (with the exception of maybe the maca root) are totally fine for someone your age to use. I’d definitely look into your diet first and foremost as cramps are usually a sign of some sort of imbalance in the body. There is a book I’m reviewing right now that will be coming out in a few weeks that I think you’ll like, too. Check back in a couple weeks and I’ll give you that info once it’s public. :)

  44. right kidney pain

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    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      Quoting is okay as long as you don’t copy and paste entire articles. According to copyright laws, you can usually quote up to 10% of something that isn’t yours as long as you have given credit and a link back. Thanks for asking.

  45. Kirstyn Lia

    I can’t explain HOW much exercising has helped my severe cramps.
    I have suffered for years with cramps that are so strong that some months I can’t get out of bed for days.
    I went to the doctor who prescribed me birth control pills for the pain (this was a year or two ago, so I was probably 18 or 19 at the time)–which immediately made me extremely, disorientingly dizzy, to the point that I wasn’t able to pay attention in class and was afraid to drive to work alone.
    Needless to say, I ditched those pretty quickly.
    However, I have found that if I go for a nice 30 minute run every other day or so for a week before my period, there is an almost 75% reduction in the severity of the cramps. it was literally a MIRACLE for me.
    Though I have to admit that I still pop a few advil from time to time, generally, with the exercise, and maybe a heating pad and a few cups of peppermint tea, I am able to completely get rid of the cramps sans icky pills :)

  46. Erin Locke

    I used to get severe cramps, until I started drinking water, and then they simply vanished. I’ve had problems with dehydration before but I didn’t know that it could also cause cramps.
    Once or twice I’ve vomited as well, but once I fasted a couple of days before my cycle, so that whenever I drank so much water I didn’t end up vomiting.

  47. Deborah

    Menstrual cramps may be an indication of a lower back issue. Once I started getting chiropractic adjustments I NEVER experienced another cramp and I had a history of horrible cramps for years. Wish I had known about chiropractic years ago.


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      Yeah, when I switched to a menstrual cup my cramps went away, too. So cool.

  48. Carly

    I’m 12 and my mom is at work and I’m home alone right now and my menstrual cramps really hurt and I found ibuprofen and I wanted to take it but I don’t want to bother my mom with a text asking if I can have one because she’s teaching a class, so I came on here and one question: do they all work? And I hear vitamin E , calcium, and zinc help so you can take your daily vitamins so I’m taking my one a day teen stuff but I don’t know what he,ps and what doesn’t help because ip don’t wanna go off and try everything if they won’t work…

    1. Jessica morrison

      Im in the same sitch. Im 14 and home alone so i just looked up stuff and yoga poses really worked for me. And eating a banana wont hurt supposedly since bananas are full with potassium they help cramps

  49. Amber

    I have ALWAYS had cramps. Horrible debilitating cramps. Those things you suggest haven’t really helped me much. After having my babies, they went away for a while then came back. I eat real food and still had cramps. THIS MONTH – NO CRAMPS!! NOT EVEN A TINY BIT!! I was having some hip joint pain and decided to up my vitamins so see if it would help the pain, it happened to be a few days before my period. I’m sure it was one of those that helped. I took a multi-mineral, K2, D3 and a regular (low vitamin) CLO. Something helped, and I’ll make sure I do it again next month!! Excited!!

    1. Anony Mouse

      Good to hear. Most likely it was *magnesium* in your multi-mineral. Magnesium is great for helping muscles in all parts of the body function better. I take it to avoid horrible calf cramps and it works for both the calf issues and menstrual cramps.

  50. Judy @Savoring Today

    I discovered that Valerian root helps with cramps when I took it as a sleep aid. It does make you drowsy, so it is best to only take it in the evening or night, but it works.

  51. Gabby

    i dont have any natural remedies i have dysmenorrhea paracetamol doesnt work but only iburofen works. i wake up in the morning vomiting sometimes if i dont have my iburofen the day before, the pain is exteme! im worried to try anything else because i hate suffering i can barely walk when it happens :(


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      I’m sorry to hear that, Gabby. I’m sure it’s really frustrating. I’d consider finding a healthcare practitioner (homeopathic or something similar) who might be able to get to your root problem.

  52. leanna

    Great article! Warm Chamomile tea works for me for cramp relief. Avoiding too much caffeine really helps in preventing menstrual headaches.

  53. Tamara

    I have extreme pain- I throw up and sometimes can’t even move- with my period for the first two days. A friend, who is very knowledgeable about alternative medicines, recommended chia seeds. I can find nothing to back it up, but it is the only natural remedy that I have tried that has worked. It is also supposed to work for morning sickness.

    1. Rachel Royer

      Hello. One thing I can say about Chia Seeds and how they possibility help is it cleans out your system. If you drink it whole or put them in a food what happens is it gathers moisture and almost like a mucus coating. When the seeds enter into your intestinal tract to exit the body it takes bits and pieces that were left behind with it and cleans your intestinal tract.

  54. Pingback: End Your Menstrual Misery: 5 Natural Secrets to a Regular, Crampless, Happy Period | Blair Blogs

  55. Rachel Royer

    One of my questions is about cramps that happen on your thigh. When I get cramps I usually go walking to help the pain but if I wait too long to go walking and haven’t done anything to stop the pain it goes to the top of my right thigh. That part hurts more than the abdominal cramps and numbs my leg. If I take pain meds, when the thigh is cramping, I have to up the doseage. Is there something I can do to stop it? Since walking with a thigh cramping hurts.


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      I’m really not familiar with menstrual cramps in the thigh. Could be a bone out of place in the pelvis that is pinching a nerve or something. I’d consider going to a chiropractor and checking it out.

    2. Alyssa

      I get that too, I think it occurs when the pain is to severe and its your body’s reaction to dealing with it.

  56. mariah

    Wash your privates with hot water (as hot as is comfortable). It will relax muscles all the way to your abdomen. This is good advice for when you change your pad/tampon.

    A tampon , especially one for heavy flow, may amplify cramps. I usually wait out my cramps before using one.

    Where i come from we drink

    a quarter cup mildly hot milk mixed with a quarter cup rosewater. It eases constricted blood flow and gets rid of cramps. It could be taken every 3 to 4 hours.

    An alternative remedy is mixing a level tea-spoon of turmeric powder (that yellow powder used in curries) with half a cup of mildly hot milk and drinking that.

    Mildly hot means as hot as could be easily gulped down.

  57. Alyssa

    How to cope (from someone with severe pain):
    -Distraction is key; watch TV, read a book, etc.
    -Sleep usually helps to calm your body.
    -Peppermint; non caffeinated tea works best.
    -Don’t eat fatty foods.
    -Have lots of calcium; milk and or some specially made orange juices seem to help.
    -Warm bath or shower.
    -Heat does work but personally cold works as well.

  58. Natalie

    What a great article, thanks so much! I can’t take Advil on my period because I’m usually too nauseous to eat, and I’d prefer to skip the various issues you can get by taking it on an empty stomach, so I’ve been looking for some natural remedies. I’ll be sure to try a few!

  59. Emilee

    I have horrible cramps that are dehibilitating. I have my medical marijuana card, so I smoke marijuana and then meditate when my cramps are too bad.

  60. hannah

    Hello.. I have my period when I’m 13. At first, I don’t have any problem with menstrual cramp but it begin when I’m 15. I often skip from school because of this. This year I’m 17 and I will sitting for very important exam.. well, I don’t want my result will screwed up because of this problem. My mum have bought me many medication and none of them can relief the pain though. I think I wanna try that pink colour of pill though.. its menstrual cramp pill.. but I worry about the side effect. What shud I do.?


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      I’m not sure what pill you are referring to. I’d start by seriously looking at your diet to see if you can help the problem from the inside out. As for a quick fix… have you tried any of the natural remedies listed in this post? I’d start with those. Good luck!

  61. Amoge

    I’ve been seeing since I was 10. Women in my family don’t have cramps but my case seems to be different. I take ibuprofen but the effect wears off after like 4 hours. I found out that vomiting works for me. Sounds unusual but it actually helps!

    1. MKV

      I often get bad nausea during my period but never enough to actually vomit. I sit there begging to vomit to feel better but I never do! I am afraid to try these things and not take my ibuprofen, I eliminated processed sugar a couple months ago and started to use alcohol free liquid stevia drops. I stopped eating meat (except fish and seafood) and rarely ate bread (mostly coconut flour). At that time I lived in the Caribbean so vitamin D wasn’t an issue and neither was whole foods which I ate a lot of . My cramps were still so terrible! I once used a heating pad so hot that it burnt my back and left me with scars! I got diarrhea every month, nausea and sometimes I coudn’t even move. Sometimes I just ended up taking sleeping pills so I didn’t have to be awake for the pain. I tried ginger tea (raw ginger root boiled), took vitamins and tried yoga. But nothing worked. I even considered just getting rid of my uterus altogether! I figured, how could my diet and lifestyle change but my period still be the same. Weirdly enough, some random months my period wouldn’t hurt that much at all! Usually the weeks where I didn’t care what I ate! And being severely lactose intolerant and having a really sensitive stomach, my diet just became even more limited. Anywho, if I don’t want to feel like death every month I pop those pills. Still use the heating pad and diet is still the same.


      1. Post author
        Robin Konie

        That’s sounds rough! I’m so sorry. You know, if pills are the only thing that give you relief so you can live your life, then go for it. I really think modern medicine does have a place in our lives, just better after we’ve tried the things without side effects first. If it’s an optional available to you, I’d consider finding a homeopathic practitioner or holistic doctor who might be able to help you get to the root problem. There could be something going on… after all, our bodies aren’t designed to be miserable during menstruation. Good luck and hugs.

  62. Bianca

    Agree!!! I’ve been eating more and more real foods & haven’t had a painful period for months now! My period comes, it stays and disappears with no painful cramps whatsoever. I absolutely believe that diet (I am largely gluten free and prefer grain free cooking) has helped with this.

  63. It's me

    And if someone is really stuck while transitioning from painful to non painful, I’ve tried a natural painkiller from a Chinese herbalist and it works a treat. It’s a mixture of herbs, you have to take more and it takes longer before working, but much better on your health than mainstream painkillers.

  64. Amelia

    I’m having my cramps right now . I don’t eat any medicine as my parents don’t let me . I only out those hot water bottles on my stomach to relieve the pain .. It’s very very pain !:(

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  66. Allison Bruner

    This is a quote from Dr. Hyman (Who is awesome!) “Constipation and imbalances in the gut bacteria can worsen the situation, because they lead to the reabsorption of estrogen from the gut back into your blood, even after your liver has tried to get rid of it.” So, just by simply drinking more water and adding more vegetables to the diet will help in eliminating hormones so that they aren’t reabsorbed into the body. You can see his article here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/pms-relief-how-to-elimina_b_617365.html It’s super helpful, too. Along with article too, of course! ;)

  67. Ashleigh

    I’m 13 and I started my period last summer. I have severe cramps almost every time. I’m sitting in bed in the fetal position right now, so this is very helpful. Thanks!

  68. jay-jay

    hi ..i am 18 yrs and i have very severe period pain. it started when i first got my periods at thirteen. I vomit almost all the time…my legs shake when i try to walk…i have cramps mostly in my right thigh and right side of my belly….what can really stop alll these tings and the pain????? i feel like taking out my uterus!!! it sucks real bad….sometimes i feel like i could just die because i cant handle it!!! and i hate taking pills….i really want to know how to stop the vomiting…since i cant eat or smell food when i am on my period…if i do i will vomit or if i eat also…or drink anything….and because of this i get very skinny around the time of my periods…help please!!


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      I’m so sorry! Have you talked to a health care professional? Your symptoms seem quit severe and I would suggest working with someone who can really take time with your personal needs. There are so many factors that it’s hard to say what’s going on… although the body wasn’t designed to go through so much drama during your period. It could be diet, stress, or environmental related… or it could be something bigger internally that needs to be addressed. I wish I had THE answer. So sorry. Sending lots of positive vibes your way.

  69. Cat

    Hello, when the first signs of PMS show up, like chills and soreness, I start drinking red raspberry leaf tea every morning. I place about 3 teaspoons in a pint sized glass jar, add boiling water, cover tight and leave over night. I use one jar three times, just strain about one third the tea into a cup and add hot water to make it warm. This helps a lot, and I drink up to when my symptoms get better. When I get more severe cramps I make turmeric tea, about a teaspoon in a cup of hot water, and that helps a lot.

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  71. Karen

    I drastically cut my dairy intake, no milk, no yoghurt, only occasionally a bit of cheese or dessert with dairy in it, for an entirely different reason: I thought this might help with migraine, but instead found it drastically reduced my period pain. I do not use ibuprofen or any other painkillers for period pain anymore at all. I’ve also found my period is lighter and shorter. This change has now gone on for over a year, and it’s entirely clear to me that my period pain is in direct relation to the amount of dairy I consume.

  72. Liliana

    Great article. I eat whole foods unprocessed and still get cramps, therefore I have digestion issues which Im working on fixing. My cramps and bleeding are both heavy and giving myself or asking someone else to give me a deep stomach massage can sometimes take it away completely. I didnt believe itd work but it does.

  73. Pingback: Natural Remedies for Menstrual Cramps | All Natural Home and Beauty

  74. https://archive.org

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