Let’s start by recognizing what is most likely at the center of everyone’s mind right now: period pains are the worst possible thing that could happen to you. Because the bottom half of your body appears to be in quite a bit of discomfort right now, we do need to observe a moment of reverence for it. Before you take any old painkiller you can pull from the back of your bathroom cabinet or the bottom of a friend’s handbag (yes, we’ve all been that amount of desperate to make them disappear as soon as possible), continue reading this article.
Please note that not all ibuprofen and Advil products are created equally. What exactly do we mean when we say that? According to Kimberly Sackheim, a pain management expert at NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation, some over-the-counter medications could stall your relief, frustrate your tummy, and/or create greater health issues that you don’t want to put up with.
Therefore, you should take this as a warning that you need to do two things: (1) quit taking any painkillers that are within two meters from you whenever you have a painful period, and (2) genuinely recognize the distinction between acetaminophen and anything else.
When They Do Occur, What Causes Them Anyway?
Do you agree that cramps are a relatively pointless occurrence? The following are the reasons why they do occur: When you get your period, a wonderful class of hormone-like compounds known as prostaglandins causes the uterus to contract. This causes the uterine lining to be shed and, well, keeps the flow going. These painful contractions are to blame. According to Mona Fakih, a clinical independent faculty member at Oakland University School of Medicine, the production of prostaglandins depends on a handful of enzymes. If those enzymes are obstructed (this is where painkillers emerge), you will ideally have very few of the prostaglandins in your body, which will result in less pain. Painkillers work by blocking enzymes.
Now, Some More Information on the Medication You Need to Rid Yourself of Those Cramps
Acetaminophen, also known as Tylenol, and NSAIDs, also known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are the two choices for pain relief that are available over the counter. Acetaminophen is the only type of painkiller that is not included in this category. The following is a deeper look at the NSAID options available to you:
Aspirin, which is likely to trigger stomach irritation and won’t exactly do the trick whenever the fight is for real: According to Dr. Sackheim, “many of my patients have told me that ibuprofen or naproxen is more effective than aspirin for the treatment of menstrual cramps.” To put it another way, this is not even close to being the optimal choice for you.
Ibuprofen has the potential to put an end to your suffering provided that your kidneys are working normally and that you do not have an especially sensitive stomach. To avoid any potential side effects, just make sure to take it while you’re eating. A bonus is that they are typically quite small and simple to swallow.
It is widely agreed that naproxen, much like ibuprofen, is very efficient (you can find it in the classic medicine for cramps, Midol). According to Dr. Sackheim, naproxen is especially beneficial for cramps that typically last all day because it offers some welcome relief that lasts longer than other over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. Dr. Fakih explains that it is not unusual to discover that some patients react positively to naproxen while others do not. If you take naproxen in any shape and experience unusual side effects, such as nausea or lightheadedness, you should discuss the issue with your obstetrician so that you can discuss other treatment choices.
Celecoxib is a medication that is generally used for the relief of arthritis symptoms and is only accessible with a doctor’s prescription. It is highly unlikely that you are familiar with this medication. However, if your PMS is the cause of your cramps, this could be a quick fix for you. Even though taking an excessive amount of celecoxib (or several doses each day of the month) can eventually lead to stomach ulcers, the formulation is less likely than other NSAIDs to restrict enzymes that are responsible for safeguarding your stomach.
Because of this, celecoxib is generally easier on your internal organs, which is a benefit at the beginning of your menstruation, when your body typically requires some additional TLC. In addition, celecoxib has more negligible effects on platelet function and should be taken into account for those who have clotting disorders, as recommended by Dr. Cross.
If Your Period Cramps Just Aren’t Going Away, Do You Know of Any Other Treatments That Might Help?
When it comes to relieving period cramps, pain meds are, in all honesty, pretty much the holy grail. But in the event that you are reluctant to take them for some reason or if you require extra relief (completely get that), there are some other treatments for period cramps that you should be familiar with. You might be familiar with a form of electrical nerve stimulation known as transcutaneous, which translates to “through the skin.” Cute little devices like Livia are an example of this technique. According to Dr. Fakih, “this includes the delivering of low voltage current to manage pain, or restrict the perception of pain.” A study in 2020 affirmed that it can be beneficial in alleviating painful cramps when it is configured to high intensity, and Dr. Fakih believes that it will be available in the near future.
Do You Want to Treat Your Menstrual Cramps With More Natural Methods?
You do you, genuinely. According to Dr. Fakih, it is never a bad idea to combine the use of hot water bottles and other methods of applying heat with some type of movement (even if it’s just a light yoga practice) to speed up the healing process. A large number of women also seek acupuncture treatment for menstrual cramps. Dr. Fakih notes that there is some substantial proof that acupuncture will improve your cramps, but that doesn’t mean that it should necessarily be considered the main remedy.