Treatments for Common Menstrual Cycle Disorders

The term menstrual cycle disorder doesn't refer to just one period-related condition. Menstrual cycle disorders can include a number of different types of abnormal bleeding patterns, as well as other conditions like premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and dysmenorrhea or menstrual cramps.

Young woman holding pack of birth control pills

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Treating Menstrual Cycle Disorders

Treatments for menstrual cycle disorders range from things as simple as starting a new exercise program to taking over-the-counter medications or even options as life changing as having a hysterectomy. Here are some symptoms of and treatments for, some of the most prevalent kinds of period-related disorders that affect menstruating women.

Hormonal Treatments

Oral birth control pills provide near-total relief from amenorrhea, or absence of menstruation, and help to regulate hormonal fluctuations that occur in several types of abnormal uterine bleeding, as well as

The Mirena hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) is particularly effective for women experiencing heavy bleeding and may provide relief for as long as five years. Some studies have reported a reduction in the amount of blood loss during menstruation by as much as 97 percent after one year of treatment because the Mirena is a type of IUD that slowly releases a progestin called levonorgestrel into the uterus, which can reduce blood loss.

Abnormal Uterine Bleeding

If you’re experiencing abnormal uterine bleeding, several factors play a role in determining the appropriate treatment. These factors include the type of abnormal uterine bleeding you’re experiencing, the underlying cause, your age, and whether you wish to become pregnant in the future. Treatments can range from high levels of supplemental estrogen through hormonal birth control such as the pill or the vaginal ring, to surgery including a full hysterectomy (removal of the uterus).

Menstrual Cramps

Advil (ibuprofen) is well-known for being an effective over-the-counter treatment to reduce menstrual cramps and, as an added bonus, can also help to reduce blood loss by as much as 50 percent. Similar medications like Aleve (naproxen) may also provide effective relief from menstrual cramps.

Alternative self-help measures that may relieve menstrual cramps include heat (such as a heating pad or hot water bottle) placed on the pelvic region and regular exercise.


Oral contraceptives are the preferred treatment for PMS among most physicians. However, several other lifestyle-based therapies can provide effective relief from the symptoms of PMS and PMDD. These include eating a diet rich in complex carbohydrates, cutting out certain substances caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, salt, and refined sugar, and getting more exercise. Taking supplements and/or increasing dietary sources of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, B6, and vitamin E can have a positive effect as well.

In some cases, prescription medications may be necessary, including antidepressants such as Prozac (fluoxetine) or Zoloft (sertraline) or anti-anxiety medications. Short-term therapy that lasts no longer than six months with GnRH agonists such as Lupron in combination with estrogen or estrogen-progestin therapy also has shown to be effective.

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