Cramping during menstruation (menstrual cycle) is one of the most common symptoms experienced by women with irregular cycles. Many times it causes anxiety, fear and even depression among women. While some women are able to manage their cramps without any medical intervention, others need medication to stop them from getting worse. There are several types of medications available for treating cramps and menstrual pain. Some of these drugs include:
Birth Control Pill
The birth control pill is one of the most popular methods used to prevent pregnancy. However, it does not work well if you have severe cramping problems because it doesn’t block ovulation like other forms of contraception do. You may experience side effects such as nausea, headaches, mood swings and weight gain. If you’re using the birth control pill to treat your cramps, make sure that you take it exactly when prescribed.
Depo Provera Shot
Another type of birth control method that’s been used for decades is the Depo shot. It works by preventing ovulation which results in less hormonal changes in your body resulting in fewer symptoms during menstruation. The shot is a good option for women with bad cramps because it reduces the amount of uterine lining that’s shed every month.
An IUD is a small device that’s placed in the uterus to prevent pregnancy. There are two types of IUDs available namely copper and hormonal. The hormonal IUD is used to prevent pregnancy as well as lessen the monthly cramping and pain during menstruation. It also reduces the amount of bleeding.
The hormonal IUD is a good choice for women with irregular periods and cramping problems.
Oral contraceptives are drugs that are used to suppress fertility by preventing ovulation and changes in the uterine lining. They can be used to treat heavy menstrual bleeding and severe cramps. The most commonly used type is the combination birth control pill, which contains both estrogen and progesterone. It reduces the amount of menstrual bleeding and pain during cramps.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (i.e. Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen) are used to treat pain and reduce the inflammation in your body. They can be used to treat severe headaches as well as menstrual cramps.
These drugs work by reducing the level of prostaglandins in the body. Prostaglandins are chemicals that cause muscular contractions which lead to menstrual cramps.
There are several side effects of using anti-inflammatory drugs. You can experience nausea, vomiting, stomach bleeding and even kidney damage when taking high dosages of some NSAIDs.
Hormonal contraceptives are drugs containing artificial hormones similar to the ones naturally produced by the body. They are used to prevent or delay ovulation and thus pregnancy. There are many hormonal types of birth control available in the market and each one has a different mechanism of action and different side effects.
Combination birth control pills are the most popular type of hormonal contraceptives due to their high efficacy in preventing pregnancy as well as treating menstrual problems.
The pill is a combination of synthetic estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and progesterone (gestodene, levonorgestrel or norethisterone). These synthetic hormones work to prevent pregnancy in several ways. They stop ovulation, thicken the cervical mucus and prevent the uterine lining from building up.
Combination pills can treat severe menstrual pain by replacing your natural hormones.
Sources & references used in this article:
Adolescents’ Use of Combined Hormonal Contraceptives for Menstrual Cycle–Related Problem Treatment and Contraception: Evidence of Potential Lifelong Negative … by JC Prior – Women’s Reproductive Health, 2016 – Taylor & Francis
Primary dysmenorrhea: advances in pathogenesis and management by MY Dawood – Obstetrics & Gynecology, 2006 – cdn.journals.lww.com
Why young teens need real periods–not the Pill by L Wershler – menstruationresearch.org
Ovulatory Menstrual Cycles are Not a Problem-BC Endocrine Research Foundation by JC Prior – bcendocrineresearch.com