Treatments and drugs

By 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.
May. 03, 2011