Dysmenorrhea | Treatment


How are painful periods treated?

You can try using heating pads or taking a warm bath. You can buy medicines without a prescription to help with the symptoms of PMS. These medicines usually combine aspirin or acetaminophen with caffeine, antihistamines or diuretics. Some brand names include Midol, Pamprin and Premsyn PMS.

Over-the-counter pain relievers can also help with the pain. These include ibuprofen (brand names: Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (brand name: Aleve). These medicines work well for mild or moderate pain. If these don't help, you can talk to your doctor about a stronger pain reliever.

Your doctor might want you to try using birth control pills or a birth control shot. These medicines can make your periods less painful.

What if these treatments don't work?

If none of these treatments work, your doctor might want to check for ovarian cysts or endometriosis. An ultrasound test lets your doctor see if you have ovarian cysts. A minor surgery called a laparoscopy (say: “lap-ah-ross-ca-pee”) is used to check for endometriosis. This is a way of looking inside your uterus by making a small cut in your skin and putting a thin tube inside.


Dysmenorrhea by L French, M.D. (American Family Physician January 15, 2005, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20050115/285.html)

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 04/14
Created: 03/05