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Menstrual Pain (cont.)

What natural or home remedies relieves or gets rid of menstrual cramps?

Patient Comments

If anti-inflammatory medication is not an option, or if additional relief is needed, the following natural therapies strategies may help relieve menstrual cramping and pain:

  • Lay a heating pad laid over the pelvic area
  • Massage to the back and lower abdomen
  • Exercise, especially prior to the start of a menstrual period may be helpful to some women

If taking hormonal birth control is not an option because of health problems, or the woman is among the 10% of women who do not respond to this treatment, some researchers have proposed other alternative treatments including:

  • Acupuncture
  • Nitroglycerin patch
  • Wearing a TENS (transcutaneous electrical neural stimulation) unit, a small electrical device that interferes with pain signals as they travel to the brain. Some researchers have reported that thiamine, vitamin E, or omega-3 fatty acid supplementation can be effective remedies for menstrual cramps. However, definitive studies of all of these alternative treatments are lacking.

What OTC pain relievers ease or gets rid of menstrual cramps?

The best way to initiate relief of painful menstrual cramps is to take an anti-inflammatory medication. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) inhibit the formation of prostaglandins, thereby reducing pain and inflammation. Ibuprofen (Advil is a familiar brand name), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), and ketoprofen (Orudis) are available over-the-counter without a prescription. They are all effective in blocking the effects of prostaglandins.

  • These medications work better if they are begun prior to onset of menstruation. They can be continued for as long as the cramps persist. If one type of OTC medication is not effective, another should be tried because they are not equally effective in every female.
  • Anti-inflammatory medicine such as these can be harsh on the stomach. If a woman has a history of kidney disease or stomach problems (such as ulcers or reflux), consultation with the appropriate health-care professional may be appropriate prior to initiation of therapy. Taking the medication with meals may help prevent "upset stomach."

If a woman with menstrual cramps is not already taking an anti-inflammatory medicine, the health-care professional may advise her to take one of the OTC (over-the-counter pain) relievers or prescribe an anti-inflammatory drug.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/4/2016

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Menstrual Cramps:

Menstrual Cramps - Experience

Please share your experience with managing the pain and associated symptoms of menstrual cramps.

Menstrual Cramps - Stopping

Have you found a safe way to stop menstrual cramps? If so, please share.

Menstrual Cramps - Home Remedies

What kind of home remedies have you found helpful in reducing the discomfort of menstrual cramps?

Menstrual Pain - Treatment

What treatment do you use for your menstrual pain?


Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Dysmenorrhea »

Dysmenorrhea is defined as difficult menstrual flow or painful menstruation.

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