Conventional and Alternative Menstrual Cramp Remedies

Are you looking for treatments for your menstrual cramps? Whether you have mild or severe cramping, there are many options that can ease your pain. These include both conventional medicine and alternative treatments.

Have you tried any of these treatments?



A number of medications can relieve the pain of menstrual cramps. These include both over-the-counter options and prescription medications.

  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): These are pain medications that you have probably used to treat pain ranging from headaches to back pain. They also treat inflammation, or swelling, that can contribute to pain. These include ibuprofen, with brand names like Advil and Motrin or naproxen sodium like the brand name Aleve.
  • Menstruation Medications: You can also find over-the-counter medicines specifically made for cramping and other symptoms of menstruation. The main brand name is Midol. Depending on the variety, these can contain pain relievers, diuretics to help with bloating and caffeine as a stimulant to give you energy.
  • Contraceptives: Your gynecologist or other doctor might put you on contraceptives to help your cramping. These control your hormones, reduce the flow of your period and stop your body from ovulating, so they can decrease menstrual symptoms like cramping. They come in pill, injection and other forms.


Treatment for Health Conditions that Cause Cramping

Sometimes, menstrual cramps are caused by health conditions like ovarian cysts or fibroids (uterine growths). In this case, you might need treatment for the underlying cause, instead of simply trying to stop the pain of the cramps. Your doctor might suggest various types of surgery to take care of these conditions.

Alternative and Complementary Options

Would you prefer to try natural treatment methods for regular menstrual cramps? If so, there are many alternative options available to you. Many of them can also be used to complement the conventional treatments.

  • Heat: Applying heat to the lower abdomen with a regular or herbal heat pad can reduce the pain of cramps. Taking a hot bath can also help.
  • Herbs and Supplements: A number of vitamins and minerals are recommended for menstrual cramping, including calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin B-6. You can also obtain these nutrients through food. Some herbal supplements that might help include black cohosh, dong quai and chasteberry.
  • Acupuncture: Many women find menstrual pain relief through acupuncture, which is an Eastern medicine technique that involves placing needles in the skin around your body. Acupuncture can help your brain release chemicals to help you feel better and feel less pain.
  • Relaxation Techniques: Treatments that help you relax your mind and body, and reduce stress, can prevent or minimize cramps. They can also help you learn to deal with the pain better. These can include yoga, guided relaxation, meditation, sound therapy, deep breathing, massage, aromatherapy, taking hot baths and more.
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation (TENS): This is an alternative treatment that consists of wearing an apparatus that blocks pain signals from being sent through your body.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Being healthier overall can help prevent or treat menstrual cramps. This includes eating a healthy balanced diet and exercising. Also, limiting alcohol and caffeine, and not smoking, can help.

If you experience menstrual cramping that gets in the way of your life, remember that there are many treatments available to you. Try a variety of conventional and alternative methods to see what works for you.

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