What can I do about bad menstrual cramps?

If you suffer from severe cramps there are a few things you can try to relieve them. Exercise and healthy diet choices can be effective; you can also try taking two of the 200-milligram doses or one of the two 400-milligram dose of Advil or Motrin every six hours, or four times a day) can keep your body from making so much prostaglandin. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) does not block the hormone that causes cramps, so if you feel better when taking Tylenol, the cramps are going away on their own anyway. Lucky you! If the ibuprofen does not work, ask your doctor for another NSAID called naproxen, which comes in 550-milligram tablets and needs to be taken in the morning and at night to work. The trick is not to miss any doses, as once your body makes the prostaglandins, you get the cramps. If these medicines in the right doses are not effective, the next step is another prescription medicine called mefenamic acid (brand name Ponstel). This drug comes in 250-milligram tablets; you take two initially and then one every six hours. Another option would be to start a birth control pill, which suppress ovulation and thins out your uterus lining; both the egg sac and the uterine lining are sources of those pain-inducing, cramp-causing prostaglandins.

YOU: The Owner's Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life

More About this Book

YOU: The Owner's Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life

A few years ago, we wrote YOU: The Owner’s Manual, which taught people about the inner workings of their bodies—and how to keep them running strong. But you know what? There’s a big difference...

Continue Learning about Menstruation

When will I have my last period?
It is very difficult to predict when you will experience your final menstrual period. Learn more fro...
More Answers
What causes stomach pain during my menstrual cycle?
Abdominal pain during the menstrual cycle can have more than one cause. Learn more from our experts ...
More Answers
How do breasts change during one's menstrual cycle?
You may find that your breasts feel fuller and are more sensitive when you're ovulating; and, in fac...
More Answers
5 Ways to Relieve Menstrual Cramps
5 Ways to Relieve Menstrual Cramps5 Ways to Relieve Menstrual Cramps5 Ways to Relieve Menstrual Cramps5 Ways to Relieve Menstrual Cramps
Painlessly surf the crimson wave. "That time of the month” can bring a lot of pesky symptoms, like breakouts, irritability, anxiety and stomach probl...
Start Slideshow

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.