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Painful periods can be treated with physical activity: AJOG

Painful periods can be treated with physical activity: AJOG

Birmingham, United Kingdom: Painful menstruation, also called dysmenorrhoea is often a cause of worry among women. A new study has found an easy way out to ease the same.

The study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology has found that primary dysmenorrhoea can be effectively treated with physical activity.

Primary dysmenorrhea is cramping pain in the abdomen associated with menses. It is prevalent, affects the quality of life and can cause absenteeism. Although evidence-based medical treatment options are available, women might not tolerate these or may prefer nonmedical treatments.  Physical activity has been recommended by clinicians for primary dysmenorrhea since the 1930s, but there is still no high-quality evidence on which to recommend its use.

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Gemma Matthewman, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted the study to determine the effectiveness of physical activity for the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea.

For the purpose, the researchers s conducted a meta-analysis of 15 randomized control trials (n=1681) identified through the search on electronic databases. The physical activity interventions delivered for at least two menstrual cycles were compared with any comparator that did not involve physical activity. The physical activity interventions included were aerobic exercise, stretching exercises, yoga or Kegel’s exercises. GRADE assessment was used to assess the quality of evidence for pain intensity and duration. Pain intensity was assessed by a visual analogue scale (VAS).

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Key Findings:

  • Pooled results showed effect estimates for pain intensity in patients performing physical activity vs comparators (VAS, −1.89 cm; 95% CI, −2.96 to −1.09) and pain duration (−3.92 hours; 95% CI, −4.86 to −2.97).
  • Subgroup analysis by intervention demonstrated effect size of -1.29 cm for aerobic exercise; -1.67 cm for stretching exercise; -1.81 cm for yoga; -1.68 cm for Kegels exercise.
  • Primary studies were of low or moderate methodological quality, but results for pain intensity remained stable.
  • Moderate-quality evidence was found for pain intensity and low-quality evidence was found for pain duration.

“Moderate-quality evidence showed that physical activity may reduce pain intensity and low-quality evidence stated that it may reduce pain duration in primary dysmenorrhoea. Whilst physical activity is currently recommended in clinical guidelines for primary dysmenorrhoea, more high-quality studies are needed before this can be confirmed.” write the authors.

“Future trials should adhere to international reporting guidelines and seek to minimize sources of bias. Trials to evaluate the ideal type and timing of physical activity interventions for dysmenorrhea are also required,” they concluded.

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Source: With inputs from American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology

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