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Dysmenorrhea is painful menstrual cramps at or around the time of your monthly period.

Female Reproductive System



You may need any of the following:

  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Birth control medicine may help decrease your pain. This medicine may be birth control pills or an IUD that does not contain copper.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Eat low-fat foods:

Increase the amount of vegetables and raw seeds you eat. Ask your healthcare provider if you should take vitamin B or magnesium supplements. These will help decrease your pain. Do not eat dairy products or eggs.

Apply heat:

Apply heat on your lower abdomen for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 hours for as many days as directed. Heat helps decrease pain and muscle spasms.

Manage your stress:

Stress can make your symptoms worse. Try relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing.

Exercise regularly:

Ask your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you. Exercise can help decrease pain.

Diverse Family Walking for Exercise

Keep a record of your pain:

Write down when your pain and periods start and stop. Bring the record with you to your follow-up visits.

Do not smoke:

Avoid others who smoke. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking can increase your risk for dysmenorrhea. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you need help quitting.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or OB-GYN as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Contact your healthcare provider or OB-GYN if:

  • You have anxiety or feel depressed.
  • Your periods are early, late, or more painful than usual.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have severe pain.
  • You have heavy vaginal bleeding and you feel faint.
  • You have sudden chest pain and trouble breathing.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Dysmenorrhea (Aftercare Instructions)

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.