Midol vs Ibuprofen vs Naproxen: Which is Better for Menstrual Cramps?

When it comes to choosing between Midol, Ibuprofen and Naproxen to treat menstrual cramps there are several criteria to choose from.
Midol vs Ibuprofen vs Naproxen: Which is Better for Menstrual Cramps?

Menstrual cramps can be an unpleasant experience for many women, affecting their daily routines and overall well-being. Over-the-counter pain relievers like Midol, Ibuprofen, and Naproxen are commonly used to alleviate menstrual cramps. However, it’s important to understand which medication might work best for you. This article aims to compare Midol, Ibuprofen, and Naproxen to determine which one may provide better relief for menstrual cramps.

Midol (Acetaminophen)

Midol is a brand specially formulated to target period-related symptoms, including menstrual cramps. It contains different active ingredients, including acetaminophen, caffeine, and pyrilamine maleate. Acetaminophen is recognized for its ability to alleviate pain, whereas caffeine can reduce tiredness and enhance wakefulness. Pyrilamine maleate serves as an antihistamine that may relieve symptoms such as bloating or breast tenderness. 


  • Designed specifically for menstrual symptoms
  • Contains multiple active ingredients to tackle various symptoms
  • May provide relief for mild to moderate menstrual cramps
  • Can help reduce fatigue and bloating


  • Effectiveness may vary from person to person
  • May not be suitable for individuals with specific health conditions or sensitivities


Ibuprofen, sold under different brand names, is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine. Its mechanism involves diminishing the synthesis of prostaglandins, which are hormones that induce uterine contractions causing menstrual cramps.

Information verified by the iythealth.com team.


  • NSAIDs like Ibuprofen are commonly used for pain relief, making it readily available
  • Helps reduce inflammation and relieve menstrual cramps
  • Can be useful for moderate to severe cramps
  • Works relatively quickly, usually within 30 minutes to an hour


  • Can cause possible side effects like stomach irritation and ulcers
  • Not recommended for individuals with a history of bleeding disorders or stomach issues
  • May not be suitable for those with certain medical conditions or medications


Like Ibuprofen, Naproxen is an NSAID and is available over the counter. It provides similar pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects but has a longer duration of action compared to Ibuprofen.


  • Longer-lasting relief compared to Ibuprofen
  • May provide effective relief for moderate to severe menstrual cramps
  • Works by reducing inflammation and uterine contractions
  • Available in different forms including tablets and liquid gel capsules


  • Potential side effects, especially if taken in high doses or for prolonged periods
  • Not recommended for individuals with kidney or liver problems
  • Can interact with certain medications, so it’s important to consult a healthcare professional


When it comes to choosing between Midol, Ibuprofen, and Naproxen for menstrual cramps, personal preference and individual health considerations play a significant role. Midol may be beneficial for those experiencing multiple symptoms along with cramps. Ibuprofen and Naproxen, being NSAIDs, can provide effective relief for moderate to severe cramps. 

Feedback from women about these medications

Review by Jane:

“I’ve tried both Midol and ibuprofen for my menstrual cramps, and I personally find ibuprofen to be more effective. Initially, Midol seemed to be a go-to because it’s branded specifically for menstrual discomfort, but it didn’t provide the relief I expected. On the other hand, whenever I’ve taken ibuprofen, it not only eases the pain significantly but also reduces inflammation, making it easier for me to go about my day. I haven’t used naproxen, so I can’t compare it to the others. However, considering the efficacy, ibuprofen is my top choice.”

Review by Emily:

“Dealing with heavy and painful periods has always been a challenge for me, and I have experimented with various over-the-counter options. Naproxen is the one that stands out for me. It lasts longer than ibuprofen, which means I don’t have to take pills as frequently. I tried Midol, and while it worked, I didn’t find it any better than the others. For long-term relief on my worst days, naproxen is my savior. It’s effective enough to make my symptoms manageable without needing to take additional doses too soon.”

Review by Sarah:

“As someone who regularly suffers from primary dysmenorrhea, finding the right pain medication was crucial. Midol was my initial choice and it did help, but I discovered that ibuprofen seemed to take the edge off the pain much quicker. I was surprised to learn that studies show ibuprofen is recommended as the optimal over-the-counter analgesic for menstrual cramps. I have since switched to using ibuprofen instead of Midol. I did try naproxen once, but I didn’t notice a significant difference between it and ibuprofen in terms of efficacy, so I stuck with what works best for me.”

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