Exercise and heat therapy can reduce symptoms of primary dysmenorrhea

A systematic review and meta-analysis published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine revealed that both exercise and heat therapy help relieve period pain. This research evaluated existing evidence for self-care remedies for dysmenorrhea.

  • Primary dysmenorrhea is characterized by crampy, colicky spasms of pain below the belly button that occurs within eight to 72 hours of menstruation. This peaks within the first few days as menstrual flow increases.
  • Other menstrual-related symptoms women experience include back and thigh pain, headaches, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Researchers at Western Sydney University in Australia sought to determine the effectiveness of self-care techniques and lifestyle interventions on menstrual pain intensity, duration, and analgesic usage in women with primary dysmenorrhea.
  • The researchers gathered 23 trials with a total of 2,302 participants that examined acupressure, exercise, and heat therapy as interventions.
  • Exercise intervention included low-intensity exercises like yoga and stretching.
  • All interventions showed a reduction in menstrual pain symptoms, but exercise was the most effective, followed by heat therapy and acupressure.
  • Exercise and heat therapy were more effective than analgesics in reducing pain intensity.

In conclusion, these findings suggest that both exercise and heat therapy can be used as alternative treatments to analgesics for treating symptoms of dysmenorrhea.

Read the full text of the study at this link.

To read more studies on natural remedies for dysmenorrhea, visit WomensHealth.news.

Journal Reference:

Armour M, Smith CA, Steel KA, Macmillan F. THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-CARE AND LIFESTYLE INTERVENTIONS IN PRIMARY DYSMENORRHEA: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW AND META-ANALYSIS. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 17 January 2019; 19:22. DOI: 10.1186/s12906-019-2433-8

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