Between 2006 and 2010, erectile dysfunction medication manufacturers spent $1.1 billion on TV ads. Imagine how many more ads you'll see if the pill gets approved for treating menstrual cramps.
A recent Penn State study found that 100 milligrams of sildenafil citrate (Viagra's generic name), when administered vaginally, eases moderate to severe cramps with no side effects; taking the pill orally gives many women a headache. So why does the blue pill work so well otherwise? Perhaps because it dilates blood vessels, increasing endometrial blood flow, but some unknown mechanism also may be at work. Researchers reported that the control group in the study, which didn't get the drug (or relief) also had increased blood flow.
The power of the placebo?
So, if you can't wait for Food and Drug Administration approval (the pill isn't approved for women for sexual dysfunction, either), you can find a little relief from menstrual blues with:
Daily aerobic exercise. Stimulating pain-relieving endorphins can help your body deal with fluctuating hormones, including estrogen, progesterone and hormonelike chemicals called prostaglandins. Also, apply heating pads and take hot soaks.
Acupuncture. It provides stress relief and muscle relaxation.
Stress-reduction techniques of various styles, such as progressive relaxation and mindful meditation, every day.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.