Pharmacy Corner
Let's Talk About Your Period Who Should Not Use Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers?
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs should not be used if you have a history of stomach problems such as an ulcer, or high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease or if you are taking blood thinners or have a bleeding disorder10
  • ASA should not be taken if you are younger than 18 years old , if you are taking blood thinners or have a bleeding disorder10
  • Acetaminophen should not be used if you have severe liver problems1

Using Heat, Diet and Exercise can Help

Some people don’t like to take medications and other find that the medications don’t completely get rid of the pain. Heat, exercise and diet can all help to control your pain.6, 9, 10

  • Applying a hot water bottle or a heating pad to the areas that hurt is a very good way to reduce the pain. Some studies have found that this works as well as anti-inflammatory drugs and even better than acetaminophen. Avoid applying the heat directly onto the skin to prevent burns. Do not fall asleep with a heating pad and don’t fill the hot water bottle with boiling water, instead use bath water temperature. You can use heat for as long as you need it to control your pain.
  • Doing regular mild to moderate exercises (for example walking, biking) or yoga may help relieve period cramps. We don’t know the exact amount you need, but recommend the same as we do for every which is 30 minutes a day on most days of the week for a total of 150 minutes per week.
  • Changing your diet may not have a big impact on your period cramps but some small studies show that eating less fatty foods can help with your pain. Also, another study showed that eating fish high in omega-3, like salmon, can also help.
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Tip

Tip:

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. Did you know if you smoke, quitting can help reduce your period cramps? Smoking causes your uterus to contract more strongly and causes more pain. Ask your pharmacist for help quitting smoking and visit this link for more information:
https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/smoking-tobacco/quit-smoking/tips-help-someone-quit-smoking/you-can-quit-smoking-we-can-help.html

Natural Health Products

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Some women prefer trying natural health products for their period cramps. There are a few products that may help to relieve the pain but not as well as anti-inflammatory drugs or heat therapy. These products include vitamin B1, which has proven to be the best out of all natural health products for period cramps, omega-3+vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin E and magnesium.7, 9, 10

Tip

Tip:

All medication and natural health product have information on the label for how to take them. It is better to also talk to your pharmacist or doctor before starting any new medications, including natural health products. They can help you find the treatment that is best for you.