Women can take a pain reliever, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, to stop menstrual cramps, preferably at the onset of a menstrual period or cramps, explains WebMD. Some women find relief with a heating pad, warm bath or abdomen massage. Cramps may also be stopped when women avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. Exercise is another effective method of dealing with cramps.
Vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium supplements help some women relieve menstrual cramps, according to Mayo Clinic. Some women may respond to alternative therapies such as acupuncture and acupressure.
Menstrual cramps, also called dysmenorrhea, fall into two categories: primary dysmenorrhea and secondary dysmenorrhea, according to MedlinePlus. A hormone called prostaglandin may be responsible for causing primary dysmenorrhea, which commonly occurs in young and healthy women. Secondary dysmenorrhea can be triggered by stress, fibroids, endometriosis, premenstrual syndrome and sexually transmitted infections.
Women who experience severe cramping and cramping that lasts longer than three days should contact their gynecologist, notes WebMD. The gynecologist may perform a pelvic exam and order lab tests before discussing possible treatments. According to Mayo Clinic, possible prescription treatments for dysmenorrhea include the pain reliever mefenamic acid and hormonal birth control such as oral birth control pills or an intrauterine device. In severe cases, the gynecologist may recommend surgery.