You are here:

Pain Management/Caffeine Relief for Menstrual Cramps?

Advertisement


Question
I don't know if this is the right place to ask, but I had a question regarding caffeine and period cramps.

One of my friends swear that caffeine helps relieve cramps, and another says that you must not have caffeine while you are cramping, because it makes it worse.

In your opinion, does caffeine help or not with cramps? Has it ever been scientifically proven in either case?

Thanks for your time.

Answer
Jane,
I wondered about this all through nursing school and pharmacology classes. I had to ask a pharmacist before I got a clear answer. Caffeine is used in combination with drugs such as aspirin and acetaminophen because it "enhances" the painkilling effect of these meds. It is especially effective when dealing with headaches which are often a combination of fatigue as well as tension. Caffeine alone may not do much for pain unless the pain is caused by sheer fatigue. In fact, some women of childbearing age may find that caffeine causes their PMS symptoms to be worse when "that time" rolls around. It is probably one of the old practices that never got true scientific proof because it was felt to work. I will say this, that in the case of migraine headaches caffeine is effective because it helps to shrink the vessels in the head, which is one of the reasons we develop migraines in the first place - the cerebral vessels become dilated. But, that's just one of the causes of migraines. It does seem to be a paradox, but I hope I've answered your question, which is a very GOOD question!

Pain Management

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Patricia M

Expertise

I welcome questions from people who may want a "nurse's perspective" on the subject of chronic pain and pain management. I am a nurse, NOT a physician (MD).I can answer questions on medications, alternative approaches, and the various organs and body systems. There are many avenues to explore with chronic pain. I am against seeing patients suffer simply because healthcare professionals might suspect they are "drug seekers". There are methods of identifying true pain, and this makes patients feel as if they are taken seriously, which they should be.

Experience

Over 25 years working experience in Internal Medicine, Adult Cardiology, Post-Surgery care, Cancer, psychiatry and some experience as a lay-counselor in addictive medicine (dependence to alcohol and/or drugs, both legal and illegal drugs).

Organizations
I am an Expert with AllExperts in several areas: Pharmacy, Internal Medicine, Medical Errors. Feel free to check my Q&A history as well as my ratings, which are very high.

Education/Credentials
Diploma from hospital-based nursing school. Additional courses in pharmacology. I keep current in continuing education. Am currently working as lay-counselor which can lead to my certification as Substance Abuse Counselor.

Awards and Honors
Dean's List while in college.

Past/Present Clients
Internal medicine patients, cardiology patients recovering from heart disease and/or open-heart surgery, cancer, as well as recently working as a lay-counselor to individuals dealing with addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. NOTE: Just because I attempt to help patients with addictive diseases, I have over 25 years in Internal Medicine, have nursed patients with great deal of pain, and I am compassionate. I never label anyone as a "drug seeker". I have seen that done for years, and am against it. All patients should be evaluated for pain in a fair and comprehensive manner. Am an Expert with AllExperts in three other medical categories; feel free to check my ratings, which are high.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.