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Menstrual Cramps Treatment Overview

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Treating menstrual cramps

The most common treatment for menstrual cramps are OTC pain relievers. But certain supplements, natural remedies, and lifestyle changes may also help reduce the intensity of your cramps.

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) are very effective at relieving menstrual cramps.
  • There are other medications that combine pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) with ingredients that treat bloating, like caffeine, antihistamines, and diuretics (Midol, Pamprin).
  • B vitamins and magnesium may ease cramps by relaxing the muscles.
  • Placing a hot water bottle or heating pad on your abdomen can also help.

How to treat menstrual cramps

If your cramps are moderate to severe or are interfering with your life, you may need prescription medications—especially if the pain is keeping you from going to school, work, or social activities.

Medical tests & labs

Sometimes severe cramps can be a sign of other conditions like fibroids or endometriosis. Your ob/gyn may want to do a pelvic exam and order imaging tests such as an ultrasound or MRI to rule them out.

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