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Can Birth Control Help With Cramps?

Medically reviewed by: Lonna P. Gordon, MD

To help ease period cramps, doctors may prescribe hormonal birth control, which uses hormones to help prevent pregnancy.

Hormonal birth control lowers the amount of chemicals called prostaglandins in your body. They make the muscles of the uterus contract (tighten and loosen). With fewer of these chemicals, there aren’t as many contractions. That means there’s less pain. Your periods may also be lighter and shorter, and sometimes they even stop while using this type of birth control.

What Are the Kinds of Hormonal Birth Control?

Hormonal birth control methods include the:

What Else Should I Try to Ease Cramps?

Other things you can try either with hormonal birth control or instead of it to ease cramps include:

  • getting regular exercise
  • soaking in a warm bath or putting a warm compress on your stomach 
  • pain relief medicine like ibuprofen or naproxen (don't use aspirin because it’s been linked to a rare but serious illness called Reye syndrome)

What Else Should I Know?

If you have severe cramps that get worse or keep you home from school or normal activities, see your doctor. They can help you find a treatment that's best for you.

Medically reviewed by: Lonna P. Gordon, MD
Date reviewed: May 2024