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Ibuprofen Or Acetaminophen For Menstrual Cramps

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Home Remedies For Period Cramps

Ibuprofen vs. Aleve vs. Turmeric vs. Tylenol (Updated with Aspirin) Pharmacist Chris Explains

When youre not feeling great, there are some home remedies for menstrual cramps you can turn to for relief.


When you have an aching muscle, you might turn to heat to loosen up any knots and ease your soreness. The same idea holds true for period cramps. A heating pad or stick-on heating wrap can provide pain relief.


When you have your period, the last thing you might want to do is hit the gym. However, exercising can help with pain from cramps. Heat and exercise are actually our two first-line options for nonmedical treatment, says Dr. Levine. Weve found that people who exercise during their periods do tend to have less pain. Doctors arent quite sure why, although its suspected the relief comes from the release of chemicals called endorphins, which make you feel good.

Warm beverages

When youre not feeling great, warm beverages such as caffeine-free tea or hot water with honey can be soothing. Dr. Levine says these might not have any science-based benefit, but if they make you feel better, these are perfectly acceptable to drink. Applying essential oils as well cant hurt, although these too dont have any science-based benefit.

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4 Yoga Poses to Relieve Cramps

Yoga is a gentle exercise that releases endorphins and can help prevent or reduce menstrual symptoms.

One study compared the effects of aerobic exercise and yoga on PMS symptoms. The researchers found that both yoga and aerobic exercise significantly reduced PMS symptoms and pain intensity. However, yoga was more effective than aerobic exercise at reducing symptoms. Helpful yoga poses for PMS may include:

  • Cat-Cow pose

Benefits And Risks Of Taking Ibuprofen For Menstrual Cramps

Using ibuprofen for menstrual cramps from time to time can help manage painful period symptoms, especially if you have uterine fibroids or adenomyosis. Just make sure you consult a physician before taking more than the recommended dose and if you are planning to take ibuprofen for an extended amount of time.

If you are planning to use ibuprofen for heavy periods caused by fibroids or adenomyosis, its important to find an effective solution. This is so you can avoid the long-term effects of ibuprofen as well as get relief from painful symptoms. The dangers of ibuprofen increase over time and amount taken, so finding treatment for fibroids or adenomyosis is a healthier option.

Thankfully, women who struggle with painful fibroid or adenomyosis symptoms and rely on using ibuprofen for menstrual cramps have numerous treatment choices, including non-surgical alternatives like Uterine Fibroid Embolization .

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Symptoms Of Menstrual Pain

Besides cramps in the lower abdomen, you may also have some of these symptoms with menstrual cramps:

  • Current medications
  • What things seem to improve or worsen the pain

The doctor will perform a pelvic exam to check for any problems. If there are concerns about a possible infection, cervical cultures and a blood test will confirm the diagnosis. You might get these tests, too:

  • The doctor may order a pregnancy test if your periods are irregular or you are not using birth controlregularly.
  • An ultrasound exam is necessary if the doctor discovers any abnormal masses during the pelvic exam or there is a new onset of menstrual pain.
  • A doctor may recommend a laparoscopy, which is a minor surgical procedure allowing the doctor to look directly into the pelvic cavity with a fiber-optic scope. This is an outpatient procedure using very small incisions.
  • A hysteroscopy is another possible procedure. By inserting a hysteroscope through the vagina, the doctor can see inside the cervix and the inside of the uterus without incisions. This can be done in a doctors office or a hospital.

Home Care Treatment: Ibuprofen Or Acetaminophen

Medique Cramp Tabs Compare to Tylenol Menstrual Relief

While M.D. Express is here to treat you seven days a week, sometimes you still need a little relief. Its essential to have the right tools for treating everyday injuries at home. When in doubt, you should always make sure to talk to your doctor about whats right for you.

The use of over-the-counter pain medicine is common and quite helpful for those needing home treatment, though many people arent sure which kind is best. Here, the focus will be on ibuprofen and acetaminophen the differences between the two, what theyre used for, and when its best to use each.

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What Is The Best Medication For Severe Cramps

Pain medicines, specifically nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , can effectively treat painful menstrual cramps in the lower belly. These pain medications target prostaglandins and lessen their effects. So, if you suffer from period cramps, you can try taking an over-the-counter medicine such as ibuprofen or naproxen .

NSAIDs work best to reduce pain if taken at the first sign of menstrual cramps. Most women need to take NSAIDs for 1-2 days only.

Note that NSAIDs are not appropriate for women with a bleeding disorder, kidney disease, stomach ulcers, and severe asthma. You may react to an NSAID if you have a true aspirin allergy. You should consult your doctor if any of these conditions apply to you.

Relief For Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms

Curcumin, a natural chemical in turmeric, may help with symptoms of premenstrual syndrome . A 2015 study looked at 70 women who took two capsules of curcumin for 7 days before their period and 3 days after. Participants reported significant reduction in PMS symptoms.

If you want to give curcumin a try, check out this recipe for turmeric tea by In Jennies Kitchen. Curcumin supplements are also available online.

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Ibuprofen Is No Longer Helping

Dr. Levine says if ibuprofen is no longer helping your period cramps feel better, thats another sign to talk to your doctor. We may need to evaluate you to see if there are secondary causes of the cramps. Or we might need to talk about other methods to help control your period cramps.

Hormonal birth control containing both estrogen and progesterone is a common remedy for severe period cramps. This takes the form of birth control pills, a patch or a ring. The way that estrogen works, it tends to prevent the endometrial thickening and shedding that can lead to the pain associated with periods, Dr. Levine explains.If youre dealing with serious period cramps, doctors might not diagnose you with something right away. Instead, theyll do a full examination to see whats going on and see what other symptoms youre having. For example, one major symptom of endometriosis is severe pain.

However, period cramps themselves are not necessarily a sign of endometriosis, says Dr. Levine. Thats why its important for us to do a full workup before we actually diagnose you with anything specifically.

She also adds that doctors might not start you on birth control right away. We might wait a few months to see, Was it just this month that things were really bad? Or is this a constant?

Complementary And Alternative Medicine

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Some studies have shown that complementary therapies, including massage, acupuncture, and yoga can help alleviate menstrual cramps, but more research is needed.

Other studies show promising results for some women who have taken certain supplements and herbs to treat their cream , but again none seem conclusive enough to endorse as a standalone treatment.

Remember that taking supplements or herbal remedies can cause side effects just like pharmaceutical drugs do. If you seek medical attention for your symptoms, be sure to disclose any and all supplements you take to your healthcare provider.

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Birth Control For Period Cramps

When you have period cramps you just can’t seem to relieve with the methods mentioned above, your doctor may prescribe birth control, which provides your body with hormones that may reduce your menstrual cramping. Talk to your doctor about your birth control options. They include birth control pills, injections, a patch, or an intrauterine device. Such a wide array of birth control options are available that there should be something that will work for your lifestyle and individual needs. Just make sure to let your doctor know youre hoping to find a birth control option that will provide relief from your menstrual cramping.

How To Relieve Period Cramps: 17 Ways

The discomfort is merely annoying for some women. For others, cramps can be severe enough to interfere with daily activities for a few days each month. If you belong to the first group, you need to know how to reduce period cramps. Maybe you will be surprised, but home remedies are the best in these cases. You can relieve cramps naturally, without pills. Does a heating pad help with cramps? How can your diet help? Can vitamins help? Lets discuss the details.

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Tips To Prevent Period Cramps

You cant control whether youll have cramps in a given month. But you can do things to make sure the pain isnt too much to handle. Sticking to your exercise regimen and applying heat as a precaution are both good options.

Dr. Levine says you can also be prevention-minded and preemptively take ibuprofen to reduce the impact of cramps. If you find that your cramps start two days before your period and are really bad for three to four days, taking ibuprofen in that time period can help prevent cramps from getting severe, she says.

What Is Aspirin What Symptoms Does Aspirin Treat

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Aspirin is the most different from the products above. It is considered an analgesic , a NSAID , and an antiplatelet agent. Antiplatelet agents work by preventing blood cells from sticking together, so it can help reduce blood clots. Aspirin is recommended for ages 12 and up. There is a low dose tablet , and a high dose tablet . Although aspirin is used similarly to the above products, it is used more-so for heart conditions such as:

  • Acute coronary syndrome
  • Management of stable ischemic heart disease
  • Stroke

Warning: Not appropriate for children under 12 years because of their risk of Reyes syndrome. Do not take the higher dosage on a daily basis because it can increase risk of stomach bleeding.

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Taking Ibuprofen For Menstrual Cramps

Its that time of the month again, your period cramps have been acting up when youre at an important meeting at work, exercising at the gym, and going out to dinner with friends. Thankfully, as soon as you pop an Ibuprofenor twoor three, you feel better and are able to do the things you love. The minute you forget to take one, youre weighed down by the fatigue and pain that comes with your monthly cycle.

Although, have you ever stopped and thought about how the short and long-term effects of ibuprofen could be affecting your health? Even though ibuprofen is considered a relatively safe medication you can use to manage painful periods, every drug has a few side effects you should be aware of.

Acetaminophen Vs Ibuprofen Vs Naproxen Vs Aspirin For Fever

How can you best treat a fever? First and foremost, confirm a fever by taking temperature with a thermometer. Generally, a temperature higher than 98.6 degrees fahrenheit indicates a fever. Try a few non-medical treatments before taking medications.

  • Apply a damp towel with tepid water on the forehead to help lower the fever.
  • Rest and remain hydrated to cool down the body
  • Although fever is associated with chills, its important to avoid layering clothes because it can make a persons body temperature remain high.

For treatment, the best over-the-counter meds are acetaminophen or ibuprofen . Naproxen and aspirin are not recommended to lower fevers.

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What Are Some Home Remedies For Menstrual Cramping

  • Aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming, and biking, can help with period pain by producing pain-blocking chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins.
  • Heat can help soothe period cramps. You can apply heat with a heating pad or hot water bottle or take a warm bath.
  • Getting enough rest and sleep before and during your period is important to prepare your body for the discomfort of severe menstrual cramps.
  • Relaxation through meditation or yoga is also effective in helping you cope with period pain.


What Is Codeine Prescribed For

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Codeine is typically used to treat pain and sometimes a severe cough. Since it has the potential for addiction, most physicians would prescribe other, less-addictive medications before resorting to codeine.

Codeine is classified as a Schedule II medication by the Food and Drug Administration, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and addiction, but with recognized medical uses. Most codeine comes mixed in with other medications, like acetaminophen, to make cough syrups and other liquid mixtures. Liquid mixtures of codeine have a different schedule, usually Schedule V, because they have a lower potential for abuse than pure codeine.

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Why Does Menstrual Pain Happen

The painful cramps that typically occur before and during a period are called primary dysmenorrhea. These period cramps happen because of natural body chemicals called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are responsible for the pain and inflammation that causes uterine contraction. When the uterus contracts, its lining sheds, which is how the menstrual bleeding occurs.

Levels of prostaglandins are high during the first 1-2 days of a period, which is why many women experience more severe stomach cramps during this time. As the uterine lining is shed with menstrual bleeding, the prostaglandins levels decrease, causing period cramps to lessen.

Dysmenorrhea can also occur due to problems with the reproductive organs. This is called secondary dysmenorrhea. Possible causes include endometriosis, uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, and others. Period cramps associated with secondary dysmenorrhea tend to last longer. Also, period pain may worsen as the period progresses instead of improving.

Types Of Menstrual Cramps

There are two types of menstrual cramps:

  • Primary dysmenorrhea occurs most often in young women who have just begun their menstrual cycles. It often becomes less severe when a woman reaches her mid-20s or after giving birth. These cramps are strong contractions of the uterus triggered by substances in the body called prostaglandins.
  • Secondary dysmenorrhea is diagnosed when menstrual cramps are the result of a health condition other than your period, including endometriosis, fibroid tumors, and ovarian cysts.

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How Does Tylenol Work

Research is ongoing to know how Tylenol actually works. We know how it reacts with the human body, however. It is considered a Non-opioid analgesic. A Non-opioid analgesic works by impeding an enzyme known as cyclooxygenase . COX works as a catalyst for converting fatty acids stored in cell walls-arachidonic acid- to substances called Prostaglandins.

Prostaglandins serve various protective functions in the body that can also cause pain, inflammation, and fever. After a cell injury, the prostaglandin causes pain by several mechanisms. The impairment occurs in the peripheral nervous system, where the nerves are outside the brain, spinal cord, and central nervous system. They increase ones body temperature by affecting the brains heat-regulating region, also called the hypothalamus.

During any injury, prostaglandin causes us pain. Still, the Tylenol blocks the COX, which stops the subsequent production of prostaglandins in the central and peripheral nervous system

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Codeine is not usually appropriate for the treatment of dysmenorrhea, or pain associated with menstrual cramps. Dysmenorrhea can be severe and sometimes debilitating, but its negative impacts generally do not justify prescribing an opioid-like codeine.

Since menstrual cramps are a cyclical and long-term condition, medications with an addictive potential should be a last resort for physicians and other prescribers. Codeine, even used in short bursts, can become addictive with long-term use.

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What Can Help Reduce The Pain Of Menstrual Cramps

Adjust Your Diet

  • Maintain a healthy diet low in processed sugars and fatty foods.
  • Drink plenty of water to prevent your body from holding onto water and therefore feeling bloated.3

Exercise & Stretching

  • There is a perception that exercise is inappropriate when experiencing menstrual pain, however exercise actually increases blood flow and promotes the release of mood-boosting hormones called endorphins.4 Exercise and stretching have shown to be effective in reducing the severity of menstrual cramp pain as well.5
  • If you are prone to painful menstrual cramps, exercising 3-4 times a week promotes overall body health and may help with menstrual pains.6


  • Dont feel guilty about treating yourself! Massage with aromatic oils has been shown to provide relief and shorten the duration of menstrual pain.7 Go ahead and give it a try with lavender, clary sage, or marjoram oil.

Heat Therapy

  • Heat therapy works by moving past skin layers and directly acting on muscles thereby relaxing them and easing the pain.8 Continuous, low-level topical heat has been shown to provide relief of menstrual pain and cramping in women.9 Many forms of heat therapy are available in stores or at your pharmacy including heat patches, heat pads, and hot water bottles.6

For more information about periods and menstrual pain, visit the menstrual painsection of our website.

  • Harada T. Dysmenorrhea and Endometriosis in Young Women. Yonago Acta Medica. 2013 56:81-84.
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