The Everything Guide To Cramps

Illustrated by Shawna Huang.
By Kendall McKenzie
Though they’re everyone’s favorite excuse to get out of gym class, people who frequently suffer from menstrual cramps know those stabby aches are no joke.
Cramps happen when your uterus contracts and spasms to shed its lining, which then flows out of your body during menstruation. Cramps are basically your body’s way of kicking Aunt Flo out like a mean bouncer, which is why you get ‘em before and during your period.
Most people who get periods deal with cramps at some point in their lives. For some women, they’re a mild annoyance, for others, a monthly nightmare. Luckily, they tend to become milder as we get older, but nobody should have to sit on life’s sidelines because of a misbehaving uterus. Here’s how to keep your period from cramping your style.