Can Kissing Help With Menstrual Cramps?

Those no good, terrible, very bad menstrual cramps. Every month, there they are, pounding away mercilessly in your body. If only there were a quick, natural, enjoyable way to relieve the pain. Turns out, there is.

Watch out ladies, because it's about to get warm in here.

You've tried dietary supplements, using a heating pad on your belly, taking a hot bath, relaxing, or, conversely, exercising (per EverydayHealth). You might've even tried having an orgasm. Maybe some of these eased or eliminated the pain. If so, that's great! But if you're ever in a place that you can't break out the heating pad or the pills or the vibrator, you can try kissing. Yes, smooching with your significant other can help relieve the pain of period cramps.

As evil and disruptive as they are, do cramps even serve a purpose? Well, in a way they do, by indicating that the shedding process is taking place. Cramps result from the muscles of the uterus contracting and relaxing in an effort to discharge its lining. The trigger for the contractions is hormone-like lipids called prostaglandins (per Healthline). These compounds are found in the uterine lining and are released as the lining prepares to be shed. They're essential to the shedding process, but they cause pain if released in excess, by making contractions more forceful, and reducing blood flow and oxygen supply to the uterus (per HelloClue).

How kissing eases cramps

"Kissing increases your heart rate in a way that dilates your blood vessels," Andrea Demirjian, author of the book Kissing: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About One of Life's Sweetest Pleasures, told Healthline. Dilated blood vessels are a good thing, in that they allow blood flow to increase. (Remember that a high level of prostaglandins causes blood flow to decrease, leading to period pain.)

Smooching with someone you're attracted to also has an effect on the brain. It causes the brain to release hormones, such as oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin, all of which foster an emotional connection between two people. Also, when it comes to pain, oxytocin has a bonus effect — it has been found to decrease pain sensitivity, according to an article from NeuroScience News. Increases blood flow? Lessens pain? Who really cares about the physiology? Because kissing is so enjoyable, it's definitely something to try when cramps are in full force and your significant other is available for a passionate, extended liplock.

Keep in mind that some level of period pain, also called primary dysmenorrhea, is normal. But if kissing (and other strategies or supplements) aren't working to alleviate the discomfort, or your cramps are so intense that they interfere with daily living, talk to your doctor.