Research has shown that ginger is as effective for reducing the severity of menstrual cramps as the most commonly used drug, mefenamic acid (Ponstel, Ponstan). Mefenamic acid is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It works by blocking certain substances in your body that promote inflammation and pain. It is highly effective for most cases of menstrual pain but can have harmful side effects, therefore should not be taken long term.

Mefenamic acid can cause an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. The risk is higher if you already have heart problems or if you take it for a long time. Mefenamic acid may also cause an increased risk of stomach ulcers and bleeding. Menstrual pain is common, and for some women can be extreme. Fortunately, there are safer and more effective ways to reduce the suffering.

A study published in the journal Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine compared ginger to placebo and also to mefenamic acid for dysmenorrhoea (menstrual pain), and ginger was found to be as effective, yet much safer. The studies used dry ginger powder, but fresh ginger and freshly made ginger tea can be just as effective. Ginger tea, made from grated fresh ginger works well because the warmth of the beverage provides additional pain relief.

Apart from ginger, magnesium works well to relieve pain as it is a muscle relaxant. Magnesium also helps to reduce PMS symptoms such as anxiety, tension and poor sleep. Progesterone cream also helps, because high estrogen levels can worsen menstrual cramps.

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