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Severe Menstrual Pain causes treatments

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Updated December 11, 2003

What is severe menstrual pain?

Some women have extreme cramping just before and during their period. The technical term for this is dysmenorrhea. If you have this kind of pain, you should seek treatment. Severe menstrual pain may be a symptom of endometriosis.

What can be done about severe menstrual pain?

Several types of medicine are used to treat painful cramps. These include:
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen (for example, Aleve), or acetaminophen may be helpful.

  • If over-the-counter medicines don't work, your doctor can give you a prescription for a stronger pain reliever, such as codeine.

  • Birth control pills or other medicines may be used to reduce cramping.

  • Surgery usually is not necessary if severe menstrual pain is the only problem.

Return to Common Uterine Conditions & Treatment Options

Reprinted from the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR)

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