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Cramps

Doubled Over:
Period Cramps and What to Do About Them



Why do I have cramps?
What can I do to feel better during my period?
What if I have so much pain I can't do my regular activities?
Why do some girls take birth control pills for painful periods?


Why do I have cramps?
More than half of all girls have painful periods. During your period, your uterus may squeeze to push out blood and clots. It's the squeezing that causes cramps. back to top

What can I do to feel better during my period?
Let's face it. Cramps are more than a pain in the belly. A lot of girls have them and we all want to get rid of them. You can do that by taking some acetaminophen (TylenolŽ). If that's not enough, you might try an anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen (AdvilŽ or MotrinŽ). If one anti-inflammatory drug doesn't work for you, try another one, such as naproxen (NaprosynŽ). But always ask your health professional which type of medication is best for you. back to top

What if I have so much pain I can't do my regular activities?
If you still have a lot of pain each month even after taking a medicine like Advil, or if you're so doubled over you just can't carry out your normal activities, see your health professional or a gynecologist. After giving you a pelvic exam, your health professional may prescribe a stronger medicine for your pain. back to top

Why do some girls take birth control pills for painful periods?
Your doctor may prescribe birth control pills for your pain, even if you don't need them to prevent pregnancy. Birth control pills stop ovulation. When there's no ovulation, hormone levels are lower. So your periods will probably be lighter, with less blood. They are also likely to be shorter, sometimes as short as 2 to 3 days, and less painful.

Sometimes, painful periods are caused by a medical problem such as endometriosis. Birth control pills will also help endometriosis. back to top

 
 
 
Last Modified Date: 3/30/2001
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