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For menstrual cramps, go with the ibuprofen over acetaminophen

January 20, 2010 | 12:32 pm

Most women likely have figured this out on their own, if the reaction to this study in a recent meeting was any indication, but we like data, so here you go...

Researchers at the Cochrane Library have analyzed studies (because that's what they do -- and they do it well) on pain relief for dysmenorrhoea, known by most people as menstrual cramps. They concluded that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs seem to be more effective at controlling such pain than paracetamol, known my most North Americans as acetaminophen.

Here's the abstract of the study (go to the bottom of the page for the "plain language summary").

As for which NSAID was more effective or safer, the researchers couldn't say. Other over-the-counter NSAIDs include  naproxen (Aleve) and aspirin.

Here's more on menstrual cramps and pain relief from MedicineNet. It explains why aspirin might not be the best choice either. The old standby has less effect on chemicals called prostaglandins.

-- Tami Dennis

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Comments (1)

Yes I have to agree I had the "duh" reaction that was alluded to at the beginning of this post. Having had this problem for years I've tried all of the above and found that not only are NSAIDS the only drugs that work but that the new COX2 NSAIDS are more tolerable on the GI tract than the OTC NSAIDS. Celebrex is still available by prescription, but unfortunately Vioxx (which was the best for me) was taken off market. I've also found that surgical intervention (hysterectomy) is a sure cure for this - a bit drastic but if you are taking NSAIDS all the time for pain it's nice not to have to be popping pills all the time just to get through the day. I would also caution women to be careful overusing NSAIDS for this problem - not because of side effects but because the drugs are too good and they can mask a serious problem that may require more than just medicinal pain relief.


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