How to use magnesium to relieve period cramps naturally
Period pain, also known as dysmenorrhea, usually begins one to two days before bleeding begins and lasts for up to three days.
Dysmenorrhea is the most common gynaecological condition affecting women and it’s estimated that between 45% to 95% of women suffer from painful period cramps.
Numerous studies have shown that magnesium supplements are effective for reducing period pain and in this article I’ll tell you how magnesium works to relieve menstrual pain as well as the best ways to get magnesium through your diet and supplements.  
Important note: If you’re suffering from extreme period pain that lasts for more than three days, please see your doctor to rule out endometriosis or other gynaecological conditions.
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Magnesium is an important mineral that is needed for hundreds of biochemical processes in the body.
It’s essential for the nervous system, energy production, muscle relaxation, digestion, sleep, maintaining blood pressure and more.
Magnesium is also very effective for relieving PMS symptoms and reducing menstrual cramps naturally.
When you experience period cramps, the pain comes from the muscles of the uterus contracting. Magnesium helps to relax the uterine muscles and brings relief from the cramps.
Magnesium also reduces prostaglandins – hormone-like compounds that contribute to period pain.
Magnesium can also improve the detoxification and removal of excess estrogen from the body.
High estrogen levels, known as estrogen dominance, can cause heavy menstrual bleeding and fibroids.
Are you getting enough magnesium in your diet?
Many women are deficient in magnesium and don’t realize.
How can you find out if you’re deficient?
Blood tests aren’t very accurate for detecting magnesium deficiencies so the most common way is by evaluating your symptoms.
Some of the most common magnesium deficiency symptoms include headaches, moodiness, anxiety, irregular heartbeat, muscle cramps, fatigue, insomnia, PMS symptoms, aches and pains.
Magnesium levels drop during the luteal phase, the second half of a female’s menstrual cycle, so this is when you need to increase your intake of magnesium rich foods and consider supplementation.
Foods rich in Magnesium
Do you find yourself craving chocolate in the week before your period?
This is a sign that your body is crying out for more magnesium.
Dark chocolate and raw cacao are rich sources of magnesium. Some other foods high in magnesium include dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, arugula (rocket) and broccoli.
Nuts and seeds including almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and legumes like black beans, kidney beans and chickpeas are also good sources of magnesium.
Try making a smoothie with cacao powder, almond milk, banana and baby spinach for breakfast or have a big green salad topped with pumpkin seeds and chopped nuts for lunch.
Supplementing with magnesium for period pain
There are many different types of magnesium supplements available, but the one I recommend is magnesium glycinate.
This form of magnesium is easily absorbed and won’t cause diarrhea or an upset stomach like some other types of magnesium supplements.
Magnesium bath salts for menstrual cramps
Taking a bath with magnesium flakes (magnesium chloride) is helpful for relieving cramps, while also increasing your magnesium level.
Magnesium can be absorbed through the skin, so having a nice relaxing magnesium bath is a great way to reduce aches, pains and cramps.
Add 1 to 3 cups of magnesium flakes to a warm bath and soak for 30 minutes or longer to get the full benefits.
Magnesium oil for period cramps
Another easy way to top up your magnesium level is by applying magnesium oil to your skin.
Magnesium oil is made from magnesium chloride flakes mixed with water, so it’s not really an oil, but it has an oily feel when you apply it to your skin.
Spray 1 to 3 times onto your hand or directly onto your belly, legs or arms and rub it into the skin thoroughly.
It’s normal to feel an itchy, tingling sensation when you first start using magnesium oil, but it doesn’t last for long.
Common questions about magnesium for cramps
What is the recommended daily dosage of Magnesium?
320 mg daily is the recommended dosage of magnesium for women aged 31 and over. 
I personally take 200mg of magnesium daily for overall health.
Everyone’s needs are different so it’s a good idea to see a Naturopath or Nutritionist who can advise you on the correct dosage for your individual needs.
How long do I need to supplement with Magnesium if I’m deficient?
I recommend supplementing with magnesium for at least three months to bring your level back into the normal range.
Again, everyone’s needs are different so please work with a practitioner who can advise you on your specific requirements.
Can Epsom salts be used in the bath instead of magnesium flakes?
Epsom salts contain magnesium sulfate and they’re another good way to absorb magnesium through the skin.
They’re less expensive than magnesium flakes but the type of magnesium they contain isn’t absorbed as well as the flakes.
So there are some easy ways to use magnesium to relieve period pain naturally.
If you dread getting your period each month because of the pain it brings, increasing your magnesium intake can be an effective natural approach for menstrual pain.