OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson weighs in on whether exercise can help or hinder menstrual cramps.
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Exercising Through a Menstrual Cramp Dr. Travis Stork: It's time for a special edition “Ask Our Docs” Anne, Jillian, and our first question comes from Jennifer. Jennifer: Hey doctors, I'm wondering if you can help me out. I've really loved to work out, but when it's that time of the month, I get these debilitating cramps and I'm wondering should I work through it or should I take some time off to rest, what do you think? Dr. Lisa Masterson: That’s a great question, as we talked about women as hormonal beings, and if you have cramps once a month, it can really interfere with your activities. It's kind of both, the exercise can increase the endorphins in your body, which are natural pain killers, and also the blood flow to that muscle. But sometimes getting the blood flow, sometimes make it hurt a little bit more. So, just listen to your body, if working out even more causes you pain, then you need to talk to your doctor about other potential things, but usually in general, exercise is helpful for cramps. But there's over-the- counter things, like Ibuprofen, or Acetaminophen, you can use heat as a lot of women know, use a hot water bag, there's a lot of heating versions that are out there over-the-counter. You can also – and it's just comfy – Jillian Michaels: There's something really interesting though, because I use ice sometimes, like a bad cramps, you said not to. Dr. Lisa Masterson: Yes, that’s going to go against the whole blood flow idea. And remember, the uterus is just one giant muscle, so you want that blood flow going to kind of stop that sort of cramping up and get the oxygen, it's the oxygen you want in your uterus. Dr. Travis Stork: Is there's a reason this looks like the female anatomy? Dr. Lisa Masterson: I don’t what uterus have you see, but I have never seen a uterus that look like this.