Last updated: Nov 07, 2008


“Menstrual cramps begone!”


Toss Up. Ibuprofen has long been a girls best friend—and it really is good short-term medicine for acute menstrual cramps. Even though overuse can cause gastrointestinal bleeding or peptic ulcers (in rare cases it can increase heart attack risks), when taken properly—and for just a week a month—ibuprofen isnt likely to lead to complications, says Healths gynecological expert Katharine OConnell, MD.

And some studies show that cramp-soothing alternatives work.

Some research supports the use of vitamins E, B1, and B6, magnesium, evening primrose oil, and omega-3 fatty acids; they relax uterine contractions or reduce inflammatory responses, Vanderbilt professor Tamara Callahan, MD, says. Exercising and applying heat to the lower abdomen have been shown to decrease cramps, studies show. And when used together, heat and ibuprofen provide faster relief.