Surprised WomanThink you’ve heard of every way possible to quell painful menstrual cramps? Here’s a new, surprising one for you: In a just-published small study in the journal Human Reproduction, doctors discovered that inserting the drug sildenafil citrate–better known by its brand name Viagra–into the vaginal canal during menstruation significantly decreases cramp pain.

In the study, women who had 100 mg. of the drug inserted by researchers during moderate to severe menstrual cramping experienced “total pain relief” for four hours straight.

The researchers believe that Viagra works to ease menstrual discomfort by dilating blood vessels and relaxing uterine muscles, allowing for easier flow.

Previous research reveals that using this drug orally eliminates menstrual cramping, too. However, side effects–such as headaches–made it difficult to take regularly. In this new study, inserting it vaginally resulted in none of the negative side effects seen in the earlier study.

Since opening up Viagra to a whole new market would mean big business for pharmaceutical companies, my hunch is that more research to determine its long-term safety and effectiveness is likely to come quickly and your doctor may soon be offering this as new pain relief option. For women with difficult to treat menstrual cramps, this could mean welcome relief.