My HormonologyWant an easy way to make menstrual cramps less severe or eliminate them altogether?

Simply take one to three ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) spaced apart on the three days leading up to your period (for instance, Day 26, Day 27 and Day 28 in a 28-day cycle).

Studies show taking ibuprofen on the days before your period blocks the buildup of prostaglandins, which are hormone-like chemicals behind menstrual cramp discomfort. No prostaglandins=less period pain or no period pain.

All doctors actually know this, but with the short time we all have in their offices, very few ever get around to mentioning this little cramp-quashing tip.

Not sure when the three days leading up to your period are? Try to make your best guess, but don’t exceed the recommended dosage listed on the label.

Tip: Experiment with how many ibuprofen you need to eliminate your cramps. You may only need one or two a day for this tip to work, however, some may need three. But, again, never exceed the recommended dosage on the label. And, if you’re not sure you can take ibuprofen, talk with your doctor first.

Natural alternatives:

Prefer to avoid medications or can’t take ibuprofen? Try popping one gram (1000 mg.) of omega-3 supplements containing EPA and DHA per day during your premenstrual week. Like ibuprofen, this healthy fatty acid blocks the production of prostaglandins that trigger menstrual cramp pain. Since omega-3s have a blood thinning effect, avoid if you’re on a blood thinner or your doctor says you should avoid blood thinners.

Or take 200 IU of vitamin E twice per day on the two days leading up to menstruation and continue through the first three days of their period. A study in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology found that women who did just this experienced less pain and bleeding than those who didn’t take the supplement. As the researchers explain, vitamin E works like the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen to block the production of prostaglandins.

Note: Before taking any new medication or supplement, talk to your doctor or pharmacist to find out if it’s right for you. And, check out interactions at WebMD and Drugs.com.

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