By Leah Campano, Feb 22, 2022

“The uterus is a big muscle. Uterine contractions during [menstruation] occur to expel the shedding uterine lining,” explains Dr. Kecia Gaither, a double board-certified physician in OB/GYN and maternal fetal medicine, and Director of Perinatal Services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln in New York City. “The contractions are sparked by chemicals called prostaglandins, which are produced within the endometrium or uterine lining. Heat allows the uterine muscle to relax, which helps with pain. Heat, often in conjunction with Motrin or Advil — which blocks the effects of prostaglandins — is a great combination [for treating period cramps].”

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