In general, women who are post-puberty and pre-menopause will get their period on a monthly basis. For some, this means inevitable period pain filled with aches and discomfort. An estimated 84 percent of women experience painful menstrual cramps—dysmenorrhea—with their period, according to a 2015 study of women aged 18 to 25 in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care. A family history of painful periods, bleeding duration, and the presence of clots are considered risk factors for having dysmenorrhea.
For relief, many women turn to heating pads or over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, but sometimes these aren’t enough to alleviate the pain.
Read on to learn the eight unexpected things that may help you better cope with period pain.
The ingredient in the little blue pill that helps some men with erectile dysfunction may also help some women with period pain. In a small 2013 study, published in Human Reproduction, researchers found the 100 milligrams of vaginal sildenafil citrate—main ingredient in Viagra—alleviated menstrual cramps in a small group of women, aged 18 to 35 years, compared with the placebo group. In women, vaginal sildenafil citrate is intended by dilating blood vessels near the uterus to ease cramps. The researchers note due to their small sample size, larger studies of longer duration are needed to confirm the findings.