Role of Vitamin D in alleviating primary dysmenorrhea
Menstrual cramps are one of the most common gynecological problems in reproductive aged women. Dysmenorrhea refers to the pain associated with menstruation and it is a common cause of absenteeism and reduced quality of life in women. Primary dysmenorrhea is painful menstrual cramps and symptoms may include nausea, back pain, hip pain, vomiting and diarrhea.
Painful cramps starts after the uterus produces high amounts of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins is responsible for the uterine muscles to contract and aid the uterus shed the lining. Excessive amounts of prostaglandins can cause the uterine to contract too strongly or too frequentl which leading to pain. Therefore, most primary dysmenorrhea medications aim to suppress prostaglandin synthesis. These medications include contraceptives and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Recently, researchers conducted a randomized double-blind placebo controlled study to evaluate the effects of vitamin D supplementation on primary dysmenorrhea in women with vitamin D deficiency. Researchers enrolled 60 women with primary dysmenorrhea and low vitamin D status. The participants were randomly divided into two groups of treatment and placebo. The treatment group received a 50000 IU oral vitamin D supplement and the control group received identical placebo for total 8 weeks.
After 2 months treatment, vitamin D group had significant increases in serum levels of vitamin D with none in the placebo group. Pain intensity significantly decreased in the treatment group after 8 weeks of treatment with a significant difference in pain intensity between the two groups after the 8 weeks of treatment and one month after the end of treatment.
Based on these study findings, it seems that vitamin D supplementation with a weekly dose of 50000 IU for eight weeks in women with primary dysmenorrhea could improve pain intensity and decrease the need of NSAIDs and aid to reduce vitamin D deficiency.