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Women's Health

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Skin Patch Can Ease Menstrual Cramps


"There is no reason to suffer from menstrual cramps in the year 2000," Donnica Moore, MD, president of the Sapphire Women's Health Group in Neshanic Station, N.J., tells WebMD. Moore was not involved in the study.

"The first step for women with dysmenorrhea is usually to try over-the-counter NSAIDS such as Advil, Motrin, and Nuprin," she says. "Patients who have tried over-the-counter NSAIDs and haven't gotten relief may need a larger dose or a prescription NSAID.

"Another treatment option is birth control pills, because generally they will decrease blood flow and cramping," she says.

If a woman does not get relief from NSAIDs, Moore says, she should go to her doctor, who will take a thorough medical history and perform an examination to determine the cause of the cramps.

For example, a condition known as endometriosis, in which uterine tissue adheres to the reproductive organs and the pelvis, causes severe cramps right before menstruation in women in their 20s and 30s, Moore says.

Women older than 30 may have fibroid (made of muscle) cysts in their uterus that are causing the cramps, she says.

Vital Information:

  • A new, medicated patch worn on the abdomen has been developed as a treatment for menstrual cramps.
  • The patch delivers medication over a 24-hour period, stopping contractions of the uterus, which are often the cause of cramps.
  • Other treatments for menstrual cramps include taking over-the-counter painkillers, such as Advil, Motrin, and Nuprin, or taking birth control pills. Women who don't get relief from painkillers should be examined by a doctor for medical conditions that may be causing the cramps.
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