Here’s Why Aleve Has An Advantage Over Tylenol For Muscle Pain
Jordan Reeder, an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, explained what different types of over-the-counter pain relievers do in an interview with UnityPoint Health. “Acetaminophen is a pain reliever and fever reducer,” Reeder said. “Tylenol is the brand usually associated with over-the-counter acetaminophen.” Then she explained that Aleve is an anti-inflammatory drug that helps reduce swelling and inflammation, giving it an edge for muscle aches and pain. However, Reeder also noted that long-term use of pain relievers could cause kidney and liver problems.
Aleve is also an even better choice of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug than others like Advil for people who have a risk of heart disease . According to WebMD, take Aleve with an antacid, or food or milk, to help prevent stomach irritation. You shouldn’t lie down for at least 10 minutes after you take it. For any pain reliever, if you’re taking it as needed, it’s best to take it at the first sign of pain. Of note, children under 6 months old shouldn’t take Aleve. If you have any questions about which OTC pain reliever is right for you, talk with your doctor.
Relief For Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms
Curcumin, a natural chemical in turmeric, may help with symptoms of premenstrual syndrome . One 2015 study looked at 70 women who took two capsules of curcumin for seven days before their period and three days after. Participants reported significant reduction in PMS.
What Helps With Cramps
Here are a some things that can help ease cramps:
Over-the-counter pain medicine like ibuprofen , naproxen , or acetaminophen . Always follow the instructions on the bottle. Talk with your doctor before taking pain medication if you have an allergy to aspirin or severe asthma.
Hormonal birth control .
Acupuncture and acupressure.
Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation therapy that uses mild electric currents to stimulate your nerves to relieve pain.
Certain vitamins and herbs like vitamin B1, fish oil, fenugreek, ginger, valerian, zataria, and zinc sulfate.
Cramps are a pretty normal part of getting your period, but sometimes people have period cramps that are so painful its hard to do everyday things . If your period pain is really bad, and over-the-counter medicine doesnt help, talk with your doctor. They can help with other ways to manage the pain, or they may want to check to see if theres something more serious going on.
Cramps that are really bad may be a sign of:
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease an infection in your reproductive organs.
Endometriosis a condition where the lining of your uterus grows outside of your uterus.
Adenomyosis when the tissue that lines your uterus grows into the muscle wall of your uterus.
Uterine fibroids non-cancerous tumors that grow inside your uterus, in the walls of your uterus, or on the outside of your uterus.
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Pop A Safe Painkiller To Cut The Inflammation
Not everyone wants to turn to medicine to soothe period cramps, but moderate use of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication , such as Advil or Aleve , can help, Palmieri says. Menstrual cramps occur because of local release of substances called prostaglandins, he explains, and NSAIDs lower prostaglandin production and decrease overall inflammation and pain.
Check first with your doctor to be sure NSAIDs are a good choice for you, especially if you have a history of bleeding or kidney issues. And read the label for dosing instructions to be sure you dont accidentally take too many.
How To Stop Period Cramps
Dealing with cramps every month can be as frustrating as it is painful. Luckily, there are a many remedies that might help you relieve period cramps. Its important to remember that these techniques wont always work, especially for chronic conditions, but they can offer relief for mild to moderate period pain.
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Acupuncture May Help By Relaxing The Nervous System
Acupuncture can help relieve cramps, says Jeannie Bianchi, a licensed acupuncturist in San Francisco. Were relaxing the nervous system, she says, which causes more robust blood flow to the internal organs. Acupuncture is also thought to have an anti-inflammatory effect.
In a January 2011 Cochrane review, experts looked at six studies that observed the effects of acupuncture on period cramps. They compared acupuncture with no treatment or conventional treatment on 673 women. In another four studies, they compared the effects of acupuncture versus no treatment or conventional treatment in 271 women.
Overall, they found that both acupuncture and acupressure could reduce pain, but concluded that more evaluation was needed.
How Do I Know If My Menstrual Cramps Are Normal
Menstrual cramps feel a little different to every woman. They can feel like a constant dull ache, occasional shooting pains or anything in between. Typically, women feel cramps in the lower stomach but they can also affect the groin, thighs and lower back.
Each woman experiences unique menstruation symptoms and theres no true normal. Some women might have cramps during every period. Some might notice that their cramps lessen with age. Others might never experience period cramps. But up to 20 percent of women experience painful cramps, or whats known medically as dysmenorrhea, making it difficult to enjoy their daily activities. Still, many women are afraid to speak to their doctor about their cramps.
Theres no reason to stay quiet about your cramps. Our OB-GYNs are here to listen to your concerns without judgement and help find a way to make your periods as painless as possible.
If youre not sure whether medical treatment is needed to help with your cramps, just ask us! During your next appointment, talk to your doctor about:
- The level of pain cramps cause you
- How long your cramps last
- The average length of your cycle
- How much you bleed during your period
- Other things you may have noticed, like spotting or pain outside your period
Ways To Relieve Period Cramps
While menstrual cramps can be painful, you can take many routes to relief and get rid of the pain.
More than half of women who menstruate report some pain from period cramps for a day or two each month, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. While menstrual cramps, also called dysmenorrhea, are usually not a sign of a serious health condition, they can put a crimp in your lifestyle.
To help with the pain, here are 10 safe and effective tactics. If your period cramps seem severe or you dont get relief despite trying some of these options, check with your doctor to rule out more serious health issues.
A heating pad can be just as effective as medication to treat menstrual cramps.
When Should You Contact Your Healthcare Provider About Menstrual Cramps
Bad cramps keep some women from working and going to school. You dont have to suffer and you dont have to put your life on hold. Contact your healthcare provider if you have painful periods.
It may be helpful to keep track of your periods and the days on which pain is the worst so you can make a complete report. If you notice other symptoms, like headaches or heavy flows, you should keep track of those, too.
Your provider will probably ask you when you started getting your period, how long they last, if you are sexually active, if other women in your family have problems with their periods and what kinds of treatments you might have tried already.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Menstruation is normal. You might get cramps, but you dont have to suffer silently with them. There are ways to make painful periods less painful. Make sure you talk to your healthcare provider about painful periods.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/20/2020.
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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.
Nsaids May Beat Acetaminophen For Menstrual Cramps
By Amy Norton, Reuters Health
3 Min Read
NEW YORK – The class of painkillers that includes ibuprofen and naproxen seems to work well against menstrual cramps, and may be more effective than acetaminophen, a new research review suggests.
The medications, collectively known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , are widely used for various aches and pains, but it has been unclear how they stack up against acetaminophen — the active ingredient in Tylenol and certain other brand-name pain relievers and fever reducers.
Acetaminophen, which is known as paracetamol in several countries, is also a component of a number of products marketed specifically for menstrual symptoms.
In the new review, researchers analyzed 73 clinical trials from 18 countries that tested various NSAIDs and acetaminophen for menstrual cramps. Across the studies, women given NSAIDs were 4.5 times more likely to report at least moderate pain relief than those given a placebo, or inactive pills.
They were also nearly twice as likely as acetaminophen users to report such improvements — though that finding was based on only three studies, the researchers report in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
The journal is published by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research.
Exactly why they might be even more effective than acetaminophen is unclear, she told Reuters Health in an email.
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What Causes Period Pain
If you experience chronic painful periods, its only natural to wonder why. Maybe youre the only woman in your family who gets severe cramps. Maybe your painful periods didnt start until your twenties. Whatever your situation, a doctor can help you understand why you get painful cramps every month. Some of the most common causes of painful periods are:
The Sunshine Of Vitamin D
Cramps associated with dysmenorrhea can be disabling. Painful cramps associated with dysmenorrhea occur due to increasing levels of prostaglandins, which cause the uterus to contract. These contractions cause the shedding of the uterine lining. Vitamin D reduces the production of prostaglandins. In one study of young women who had primary dysmenorrhea and low vitamin D levels, high weekly doses of supplemental vitamin D decreased pain intensity significantly both 8 weeks into treatment and 1 month after the end of treatment. The women taking vitamin D also took less pain medication to treat period pain. You can ask your doctor to measure your vitamin D levels with a simple blood test.
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What Do Period Cramps Compare To
Menstrual cramps, or Dysmenorrhea as its technically called, has finally been ruled as painful as having a heart attack. Professor of reproductive health at University College London, John Guillebaud, told Quartz that patients have described the cramping pain as almost as bad as having a heart attack.
Can Bad Period Cramps Be A Sign Of Something Else
Period cramps usually dont signify that something is wrong with your health. But in some cases they can be a symptom of a medical condition:
- Endometriosis This disorder occurs when tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus grows outside your uterus, often adhering to your bladder, ovaries, or even your bowels.
- Uterine Fibroids These are noncancerous growths that emerge inside the uterine walls. They can range in size from one tiny speck to several bulky masses.
- Adenomyosis Tissue that normally lines the uterus begins to grow inside the organs muscle wall.
Pain from these conditions may seem like period pain, but it typically lasts longer and can be more severe than your usual menstrual cramps.
If you experience this type of pain, its important to see your doctor, Thielen says.
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Can You Heal Menstrual Cramps With Home Remedies
Most of the time, menstrual cramps can be treated by women at home.
But if your pain is severe and impacts your lifestyle, dont be afraid to talk to your doctor. You might need medicines that are only available by prescription or some other treatment to help.
To help reduce period pain, here are 10 safe and effective home remedies for menstrual cramp relief.
Common Conditions People Have *:
* Approximation only. Some reports may have incomplete information.
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Do You Need To See A Doctor
If your menstrual cramps are unusual or severe, or if they last more than a few days, you may want to see your doctor. Painful period cramping is treatable, so anytime you’re worried about your symptoms, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor.
Your doctor may perform a pelvic exam to make sure everything is normal. They may also ask you questions about your menstrual period history, suggest lifestyle modifications, or even recommend and prescribe medicines that may help relieve your painful periods.
Are There Any Risks To Consider
Ibuprofen may provide some relief in the short term, and it may offer a level of convenience in being available over the counter, but its generally not recommended as a long-term treatment for heavy periods.
Long term use of NSAIDs such as ibuprofen has been linked with kidney disease, blood pressure issues and stomach ulcers. Other common side effects include indigestion, headaches and drowsiness, especially when its taken in higher doses.
Using ibuprofen may not be suitable for people with existing conditions such as liver or kidney disease or stomach ulcers.
Ibuprofen or other NSAIDs should only be used as a first-line treatment, before discussing longer-term solutions with a medical practitioner.
If heavy and/or painful periods are a consistent issue, there might be an underlying cause. In this case, the evidence suggests ibuprofen does not significantly reduce menstrual flow. So if this is something you struggle with every month, talk to your doctor to find a safe, long-term solution.
There are many evidence-based options available for managing heavy menstrual bleeding in the longer term, such as the oral contraceptive pill or the hormonal IUD. Your doctor can assess your individual circumstances and potential risk factors to see what will be right for you.
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