Likely mistake: Waiting to take a pill until you're practically doubled over. By this time, says Curtis, you have to play catch-up to get enough medication in your system to feel a difference. Next month, try taking NSAIDs 1-2 days before your period is due. If you suffer from serious cramps, Curtis suggests bumping up the dose to what she calls a therapeutic level of 800 mg every eight hours.
Keep in mind: Those at risk of GI or heart issues may want to lay off the ibuprofen (maybe you've already been taking it for a sport injury); some studies have shown that 200-500 mg of Vitamin E can help lower menstrual pain when taken two days before your period starts.
Next: Dr. Oz's 30-second pain fixes