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A plate of chocolate browniesInstagram/MooncycleBakery

Can brownies really cure your period pain?

Who needs a hot water bottle?

Ashitha Nagesh

As most women know, being on your period isn’t all about rollerskating and euphemistic blue liquid.

For many of us, it's more about being doubled over at your desk trying to get through the working day while feeling like your womb is punching you from the inside. 

However, there could be a tasty solution.

Yep, a bakery in the US claims to have created brownies that alleviate the symptoms of menstrual cramps. 

No, they're not just little cakes laced with painkillers. 

Instead, they've added ingredients like magnesium, matcha, iron and ginger, that the bakery claims combat hormone-induced headaches and other menstrual symptoms. They also contain a mineral called boron which has anti-inflammatory properties, to help ease those pesky cramps.

American entrepreneur Devon Loftus launched a Kickstarter campaign in November last year, raising more than $16,000 (£11,300), so she could start producing the brownies. They started shipping in the last few weeks.

Devon came up with the idea for Mooncycle Bakery last summer after her hen party. In a blog post she recalls how her husband, a baker, made a delicious chocolate cake for everyone. One friend, who was on her period, described it as so good "I almost cried". It inspired Devon to explore the healing, comforting power of food.  

The idea that brownies could be good for you is pretty exciting.

So, do they really work?

Angelique Panagos, a nutritionist who specialises in hormonal imbalance, says that magnesium can help relax muscles, which may relieve cramps, while ginger could help ease the nausea that period pain often causes.

She told BBC Three, "These brownies may help a little with alleviating symptoms, but I am not sure that they will work alone." They're unlikely to fully replace your stash of painkillers.

So, by all means cheer yourself up with some freshly baked brownies, but take their healing powers with a pinch of salt (or ice cream?).

And, if brownies aren't your thing, maybe one of these cures will hold more appeal?

Love drugs

Studies have shown viagra can help with period painGetty Images
Studies have shown viagra can help with period pain

Yes, really.

According to a US study, Sildenafil citrate, sold under the brand name Viagra to treat erectile dysfunction, may also relieve menstrual cramps.

Researchers recruited women age 18 to 35 and gave the drug vaginally (you didn't think it was taken orally, did you?). Needless to say, we very much recommend checking with your doctor before considering this one.

The scientists who carried out the study noted that they didn't know for sure how the pills helped with the pain, but their best guess was that it was down to the increased blood flow to the area.

Shocking yourself

This seems a bit extreme to us, but an electro-shock machine for period pains raised more than $1m on IndieGogo in 2016.

The small device uses TENS - transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation - which is used for mild pain relief.

Don't feel like electrocuting yourself with an expensive device? Then let's move on to...

Bedroom gymnastics

Wahey!

If your cramps are really bad, getting down and dirty might be the last thing on your mind.

But hear us out.

According to medical experts, orgasm causes blood to rush to your uterus, which helps ease cramping. It also causes your body to release oxytocin, dopamine and endorphins which have pain-relieving effects.

Rachel Newman, MD, a specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of California, Irvine, has told BBC Three in the past, “When you have intercourse, your body releases oxytocin, which is the 'bonding' hormone, and also the hormone that is released during labour to help your uterus contract down. It makes sense that this may bring some relief from cramps."

If you don’t have someone you can call on to help you out, masturbation works just as well.

Burning a toad

Okay, please do not actually do this.

But in the Middle Ages, women were sometimes advised to find a toad, burn it in a pot, and then put the ashes in a pouch.

According to the historian Amy Licence, you'd then have to wear the pouch near your vagina, and voila - the poor critter's remains would have relieved you of your pain by 'cleansing' your nether regions.

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