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Almost every woman has experienced the horror of PMS — you know, the time of the month when one minute you are happy and cheerful and the next you’re ready to bite the f person in front of you or burst into tears at the slightest thing. For a lot of women though, it is also a time of extreme pain and discomfort. Premenstrual cramps are not only annoying and cumbersome but sometimes can be so bad that one can barely function.

However, before you reach for the bottle of painkillers, why not try some of the following tips; all natural and harmless.

•Hot liquids: A cup of brewed chamomile tea can work wonders on your cramps. Chamomile has a soothing effect, so it helps relax your cramped pelvic muscles. The less stressed your body is, the less your muscles will contract painfully. So try to remain stress-free and have as many hot liquids as you can.

•Evening primrose oil: This supplement is known to calm pre-menstrual and pre-menopausal side effects. A tablet a day will help relieve those killer cramps.

•Omega 3 fatty acids: Eating fish at least twice a week or having omega 3 supplements originally obtained from fish or shell fish will decrease the frequency and intensity of cramps. Omega 3 is known to slow down prostaglandins that help aggravate menstrual pain.

•Ginger root and garlic: Ginger has many medicinal properties, one of which is that it is an anti-spasmodic agent. Having some ginger tea or crushed / pounded garlic in warm water is one of the best menstrual pain remedies.

•Endorphins: These are the feel good hormones released by your body after exercise. It’s only a myth that one can’t exercise during menstruation; stretching those cramped stomach muscles actually does help relieve those cramps plus, when the endorphins get released after a good bout of exercise it helps ease the mind and has a “pick-me-up” effect on the body. Apart from this you have an adrenaline rush which helps get rid of the pain. Doing some light exercise during your periods is a pretty good way to relieve those other PMS symptoms as well.

•Yoga: This ancient form of meditation, apart from relieving stress, also helps stretch those painful muscles.

•Hot packs/warm baths: Applying a hot pack to your stomach before or during your period helps relieve the aches; sitting in a warm bath with some sea salts can relax your body and ease the pain as well.

•Fibre: Increasing the bulk in your diet can help ease that upset stomach before or during your period as well as relax the stomach muscles to stop them from spasms. Eating more raw fruits and vegetables, especially fruits with their peels on, helps a lot. Avoid eating oily, salty food and try and cut down on meat and dairy items; these just increase the bloating and discomfort. Instead eat small meals throughout the day to avoid feeling too full and lethargic.

•Seeds: This may sound like an old wives tale, but it really works: take a teaspoon of sesame seeds and a teaspoon of coriander seeds, boil and then drink the water at least twice a day or more.