Most women have painful cramps from their
period from time to time. The good news is that you can usually relieve cramps
over-the-counter medicine and home treatment.
Pain medicine and home treatment can help ease
Stay ahead of the pain. Take over-the-counter pain
medicine, such as ibuprofen (Advil, for example) as soon as you feel cramps or
on the day before you get your period.
How can I manage pain from menstrual cramps?
Over-the-counter pain medicine and home treatment are often all you need
to ease your cramps.
Try anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce pain. Ibuprofen
(such as Advil) and naproxen (such as Aleve) may work better than
Stay ahead of the pain. Pain medicine works better if you
take it before the pain gets bad.
Start taking the recommended dose of the pain medicine
as soon as you start to feel cramping, or on the day before your period
Keep taking the medicine for as long as you have
Try acetaminophen (Tylenol) if
anti-inflammatory medicine does not help.
Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
Do not take aspirin if you are younger than 20. It
has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness.
Put a heating pad (set on low) or a hot water bottle on
your belly, or take a warm bath. Heat improves blood flow and may ease the
Lie down and put a pillow under your knees, or lie on your
side and bring your knees up to your chest. This may help relieve back
Use pads instead of tampons. This may help if you also
have vaginal pain.
Get regular exercise. This helps blood flow and
may reduce cramping.
Talk to your doctor if you have tried to manage your
cramps with medicine and home treatment but you do not feel better. If your
cramps are caused by a health problem not related to your period, such as
endometriosis, you may need other treatment.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.