How To Cure Menstrual Cramps: Viagra, Says New Study

Researchers at Penn State have discovered a new cure for menstrual cramps, and it's a little unexpected: Viagra. Administered inside the vagina, if you wondered. "Since PD [primary dysmenorrhea, aka menstrual cramps] is a condition that most women suffer from and seek treatment for at some points in their lives, the quest for new medication is justified," said lead researcher Richard Legro, whose study was published in Human Reproduction. Preach.

Scientists have been looking for alternate treatments for our lady cramps for a while, because ibuprofen, the most common way to treat them, isn't so great if it's used "chronically." Long-term overuse can cause kidney damage and ulcers. And because we may or may not turn into desperate (hungry, bloated, rage-y) overdose-ing drug users at that time of the month, researchers are really trying to help womankind out.

Lest we think that a team of bored female researchers was just sitting around an office with a random assortment of pharma samples and an experimental outlook — because seriously, Viagra for cramps is a weird treatment to 'discover' — there was a scientific method behind the madness.

Researchers have known for a while that erectile-dysfunction medication can stop pelvic pain by constricting dilated blood vessels and boosting blood flow. That process is a common way to treat pain: Triptan meds, for instance, were thought to help treat migraines by constricting blood vessels in the brain (before science realized it had the cause of migraines wrong). But taking Viagra orally caused splitting headaches, which isn't really a great trade for cramps.

And so alternate means of administering the drug were proposed. Vaginal administration was one of the ways that hadn't been tried, but, hey, it worked. Pain gone. No headaches. No side effects.

It sort of makes you wonder though, about the actual process. Not to get too detailed, but I mean...what, um, happens down there? Does it dissolve? Does it fizz or something when it does? Do you have to Kegel until it's gone?

Moving on. A small detail to be addressed is how exactly we're meant to get our hands on erectile-dysfunction meds. While prescriptions for women to treat cramps could be a reality in the future, are we meant to ravage our male friends' medicine cabinets in the meantime? That scene looks pretty bleak: Although 13 percent of college-aged men report experiencing a little ED, and one in four new diagnoses are for guys under 40, it's still largely a middle-aged man's disease.

So, there you have it. Dark chocolate and a cozy afternoon with a hot water bottle, Viagra, and all the Ryan Gosling on Netflix? We'll take it.