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Nonprescription Medicines for the Treatment of Pelvic Pain


Nonprescription Medicines for the Treatment of Pelvic Pain

Nonprescription medicines may effectively control chronic pelvic pain. They also reduce menstrual cramping caused by endometriosis and adenomyosis.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen, reduce menstrual cramps and relieve pain by reducing swelling (inflammation) and lowering the level of the hormone prostaglandin within the uterus.

  • Start taking the recommended dose of pain medicine as soon as your discomfort begins or one day before your menstrual period is scheduled to start.
  • Take the medicine in regularly scheduled doses to keep the pain under control. Pain medicine is more effective if you take it at regularly scheduled intervals around the clock. You may wish to take your pain medicine in the morning, at lunch, before dinner, and when you go to bed. Taking the medicine only when your pain is "really bad" is not an effective method for pain control.
  • Try acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, if NSAIDs do not relieve your pain.

Before you take any nonprescription medicines for the first time, be sure to carefully read the information on the package. It is important to understand how much of the medicine you should take and when you should take it, as well as reasons not to take the medicine. As with all medicines:

  • Do not exceed the maximum recommended dose.
  • If you have been told to avoid these medicines (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), call your doctor before taking them.
  • If you are or could be pregnant, call your doctor before using any medicine.
  • Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 because of the risk of Reye syndrome.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Ibuprofen, such as Advil or Motrin
Initial dose: 400 mg
Following doses: 200 mg every 4 hours or 400 mg every 8 hours
Naproxen, such as Aleve
Initial dose: 220 mg
Following doses: 220 mg every 8 to 12 hours
Do not take more than 3 capsules in 24 hours unless directed by a doctor.

Side effects with NSAIDs are usually mild. Stomach upset or discomfort is the most common side effect. Taking the medicine with food may help.

Reasons not to use NSAIDs (contraindications)

Do not take NSAIDs if you are taking any of the following medicines:

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last RevisedJanuary 11, 2011

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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