Treatments and drugsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Menstrual cramps are a treatable condition. Your doctor may recommend:
- NSAIDs. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be helpful in relieving the pain of menstrual cramps. Your doctor may initially suggest taking over-the-counter NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) or naproxen (Aleve), at regular doses starting the day before you expect your period to begin. Prescription NSAIDs, such as mefenamic acid (Ponstel), are also available.
- Hormonal birth control. Oral birth control pills contain hormones that prevent ovulation and reduce the severity of menstrual cramps. These hormones can also be delivered in several other forms: an injection, a patch you wear on your skin, an implant placed under the skin of your arm or a flexible ring that you insert into your vagina.
- Surgery. If your menstrual cramps are caused by an underlying disorder, such as endometriosis or fibroids, the surgical removal of the abnormal tissue may help reduce your symptoms.
- Morrow C, et al. Dysmenorrhea. Primary Care Clinics in Office Practice. 2009;36:19.
- Danakas GT. Dysmenorrhea. In: Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2011: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..C2009-0-38600-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05610-6&about=true&uniqId=230100505-53. Accessed March 24, 2011.
- Smith RP, et al. Pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of primary dysmenorrhea in adult women. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed March 24, 2011.
- Dysmenorrhea. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp046.cfm. Accessed March 24, 2011.
- Smith RP, et al. Treatment of primary dysmenorrhea in adult women. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed March 24, 2011.
- Rainone F. Dysmenorrhea. In: Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-2/0/1494/0.html. Accessed March 24, 2011.
- Gallenberg MM (expert opinion). Rochester, Minn. March 26, 2011.