Is Ibuprofen Good For Period Cramps

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Why I stopped taking ibuprofen for my period cramps

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Is Tylenol Good For Period Cramps

Tylenol is not as effective as some of the NSAIDs for period cramps. Studies done on women who experience period cramps tends to benefit more with NSAIDs than acetaminophen such as Tylenol. The exact reason for this is unknown, but studies done on women with period cramps shows that pain relief with NSAIDs are slightly more effective than Tylenol for period cramps.

The reason might be that acetaminophen has a weak inhibition of PGs in the peripheral tissue and also it does not reduce the inflammation in the uterus. It mainly has an analgesic effect on the uterus which might not be enough to relieve severe pain.

Women with mild to moderate period cramps usually benefit with acetaminophen, but with severe cramps are not relieved with acetaminophen.1

How Does Tylenol Reduce Pain

Tylenol also known as paracetamol, the generic name is acetaminophen. Paracetamol is a simple analgesic and an antipyretic. Its more than 100 years after finding acetaminophen, but still the exact mechanism of action of acetaminophen is unknown.2 There are several theories on how acetaminophen relieves period cramps it has shown that acetaminophen has effects on prostaglandin production, nitric oxide, opioid, serotonergic, and cannabinoid pathways. It is believed that interaction of all those pathways bring about the action of acetaminophen.3 We will be only talking about the prostaglandin inhibition theory in this article.

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How Does This Work

Menstrual symptoms, including heavy periods, affect quality of life for many women. Heavy menstrual bleeding is one of the most common reasons women visit a gynaecologist, accounting for up to 30% of visits.

One study found menstrual symptoms including pain, heavy bleeding and low mood may be linked to nearly nine days of lost productivity per woman every year.

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Women who have heavy bleeding, and who experience painful periods, have elevated levels of hormones called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins act to dilate blood vessels, slow the clotting process and also help the body shed the uterine lining by inducing muscle contractions. So having higher levels of these hormones can lead to heavier bleeding and more severe cramping.

Ibuprofen has been shown to reduce prostaglandin levels in the lining of the uterus, which may be one way it reduces menstrual flow, though the exact mechanism remains uncertain.

This process may also be part of the reason ibuprofen can be an effective first-line treatment option for painful periods.

Painkillers Block Prostaglandin Production

Advil Menstrual Pain Film

Anti-inflammatory painkillers are often used to relieve period pain, especially the drugs diclofenac, ibuprofen and naproxen. These medications are all non-steroidal . They inhibit the production of prostaglandins and can relieve period pain in that way. Many NSAIDs are available from pharmacies without a prescription.

Researchers at the an international network of researchers looked for clinical studies of these drugs to find out whether they help and how well they are tolerated. The researchers found 80 good-quality studies involving more than 5,800 girls and women between the ages of 12 and 47. These studies compared the effectiveness of the painkiller with that of a placebo or other medications. The studies included women with and without endometriosis.

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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.

The Research Shows: Nsaids Can Relieve Period Pain

The studies show that NSAIDs were more effective than placebos at relieving period pain:

  • 82 out of 100 girls and women who didn’t take NSAIDs still had severe pain after a few hours.
  • 51 out of 100 girls and women who took NSAIDs still had severe pain after a few hours.

So the painkillers relieved pain in 31 out of 100 girls and women.

Some studies compared NSAIDs with acetaminophen . They suggest that NSAIDs are a little more effective than acetaminophen at relieving period pain. There’s not enough good research to be able to say whether some NSAIDs are more effective than others.

The studies also show that NSAIDs can sometimes have side effects: 2 to 3 out of 100 girls and women experienced stomach problems, nausea, headaches or drowsiness.

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Find Out Which Is Best

Period pain can have a significant effect on your life. Weve all been there wanting to do nothing but curl up on the sofa with a hot water bottle. Sadly, life still happens, and we have to drag yourself to work/school and get on with the day. The severity of cramps is often underestimated, even amongst women as not everyone experiences them in the same way. Painkillers can be a staple every month, easing the pain and allowing you to forget the pain and carry on with our daily schedule.

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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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.

Related Faq For Can Ibuprofen Stop Menstrual Bleeding

Is it bad to take ibuprofen during your period?

Your doctor may suggest that you take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug , like ibuprofen or naproxen . Taking an NSAID can reduce bleeding and pain during your period.

How long does it take for ibuprofen to kick in?

Ibuprofen takes 20 to 30 minutes to work if you take it by mouth. It takes 1 to 2 days to work if you put it on your skin. Ibuprofen works by reducing hormones that cause pain and swelling in the body.

Can I take 2 600 mg ibuprofen at once?

Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Use the lowest dose that is effective in treating your condition. An ibuprofen overdose can damage your stomach or intestines. The maximum amount of ibuprofen for adults is 800 milligrams per dose or 3200 mg per day .

Is 600 mg of ibuprofen a lot?

Take 600 mg of ibuprofen every 6-8 hours for the first 2-3 days. These dosages apply to healthy average-sized adults. If you have pain that is not alleviated by ibuprofen, consider 600 mg of ibuprofen every 6 hours AND Tylenol 650 mg every 4 to 6 hours.

How much ibuprofen should I take for heavy bleeding?

Typical doses are 250 to 500 mg two to four times a day for mefenamic acid and naproxen and 600 to 1,200 mg/day for ibuprofen.

How do you stop bleeding with ibuprofen?

How bad is ibuprofen for you?

How long does ibuprofen take to work for period cramps?

Generally it takes about 30 minutes for you to begin feeling the effects of ibuprofen.

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Some Herbal Tea Varieties Can Calm Cramping

Certain teas may help relieve menstrual cramps, says Sonya Angelone, a registered dietitian nutritionist in the San Francisco Bay area.

Research on herbal teas for menstrual pain relief is scarce, say experts, but teas have been used traditionally and can help. Because some of the herbs may act as estrogens, ask your doctor first before using one, especially if you have a history of a hormone-related cancer or take blood-thinning drugs.

One example of an herbal tea that people use for menstrual discomfort is cramp bark, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. Boil 2 teaspoons of the bark in a cup of water, simmer for about 15 minutes, and drink it three times a day. Be sure to clear this remedy with your doctor first, especially if youre on diuretics for blood pressure or on lithium.

Tea with peppermint oil may also help, Angelone says. She advises her patients with cramps to start sipping the whichever tea gives them relief a week or so before they expect their period. Ask your doctor if that might work for you.

Why Are Period Cramps Painful

Advil Menstrual Pain

Dysmenorrhea is thought to be caused by compounds in the body known as prostaglandins. Before menstruation starts each month, the level of prostaglandins in the lining of the uterus increases.

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Your prostaglandin level is its highest on the first day of your menstrual period, which is why menstrual pain is usually worse then. As your period progresses and the lining of the uterus is shed, your prostaglandin level decreases and pain gets better, ACOG states.

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Can Period Pain Be A Sign Of An Underlying Condition

There is a possibility that your period pain could be linked to an undiagnosed health condition. For example:

  • Endometriosis is a long term condition which causes endometrial tissue to unnaturally grow in other areas of your body. During your monthly cycle, the endometrial tissues build-up however, when the lining sheds, it cannot leave the body, resulting in pain and inflammation. Endometriosis can cause significant and chronic pain.
  • Fibroids are non-cancerous growths which can appear around the womb. In most cases, they are asymptomatic and eventually disappear on their own.
  • Adenomyosis is a condition where there is an excess of tissue within the womb, where it has started growing within the muscular wall itself in addition to lining the womb.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection which causes the womb, ovaries and fallopian tubes to become inflamed. If untreated treated, PID can spread further into other areas of the body and can be fatal.

Most of the time, period pain is normal. However, if you are experiencing pain that’s having an impact on your day to day life or you’re having other symptoms then report this to your GP. It can be difficult to diagnose conditions like endometriosis, so don’t feel discouraged if you need to get a second opinion or make return visits to report ongoing symptoms.

Ibuprofen And Ulcer Risk

Understanding how NSAIDs work can help reduce your worry about ibuprofen and ulcer risks. Peptic ulcers are the most commonly associated issue when taking ibuprofen for menstrual cramps over a long period of time. If youre taking high doses of ibuprofen to manage period pain or chronic conditions like arthritis or other inflammatory diseases, your ibuprofen and ulcer risk may increase.

The reason taking ibuprofen for menstrual cramps or other chronic pain issues can cause ulcers is NSAIDs interfere with the stomachs ability to protect itself from gastric acids. These protective layers in your stomach, esophagus, and intestines are extremely important for digestion, but can be eaten away over time from extended ibuprofen use.

So, does this mean you should avoid NSAIDs just because of an ibuprofen and ulcer risk? Not exactly. Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to protect your stomach and intestines lining, such as:

  • Ask your doctor about medications that can protect the lining.
  • Eat a large meal before taking ibuprofen.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • Reduce the amount you take or switch to an NSAID like naproxen you can take less.

Its important to always consult your doctor before taking ibuprofen for period cramps so you can learn more about additional preventative measures.

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Does Ibuprofen Help Menstrual Cramps

How does ibuprofen help menstrual cramps? Menstrual cramps or dysmenorrhea is a devastating problem for some women some women get only a mild pain or no pain at all. Occurrence of menstrual cramps varies with individual woman. Usually it starts one or two days before the initiation of menstruation, peaks within 24 hours after onset of menstruation and goes away after two to three days. The pain is in the lower abdomen can be mild, moderate or severe. Sometimes it radiates to the back or the thighs and can be associated with nausea, vomiting, dizziness and headache.

Some women only get a mild menstrual cramp and it does not affect their day to day activities. Some women get a severe pain which affect their day to day activities therefore its a big problem for them. Ibuprofen relieves menstrual cramps very effectively.

During menstruation the inner lining of the uterine wall gets detach when fertilization doesnt occur. Then those tissues and blood pass down through the vagina as menses. This is a cell injury, so prostaglandins are produced which cause inflammation and pain in the uterus. Prostaglandin induces uterine muscle contractions to expel the cells and blood. Increased levels of prostaglandins cause severe pain.

Ibuprofen blocks the prostaglandin production by inhibiting the COX-1 and COX-2 pathways in the uterus, thereby reduce the pain and hypercontractivity of the uterus.

What Else Can I Do To Ease Period Pain

Things I wish I knew about Ibuprofen | Period Pain Management

If you experience issues with your period, including PMS and irregularity, the combined pill is a good option for managing this. It makes your period lighter, less painful and easier to track. Other methods include:

  • Gentle exercise
  • Holding a hot water bottle against your tummy
  • Taking a hot bath
  • Nerve stimulating devices such as Livia

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