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Aerobic exercise eases dysmenorrhoea-related pain

12 Jul 2019
Are women just over-exaggerating about dysmenorrhoea being labelled "almost as bad as having heart-attack", or is there some truth to it?

Aerobic exercise appears to ease dysmenorrhoea-related pain and improve quality of life (QoL) and daily functioning, a recent study has found.

Researchers randomly assigned 70 women with primary dysmenorrhoea to receive either a 4-week supervised aerobic training regimen or usual care. The primary outcome was pain, while secondary outcomes were quality of life, sleep and daily functioning.

Compared with the control scenario, the exercise regimen yielded significant improvements in pain intensity (visual analogue scale: mean difference, –4.7, 95 percent CI, –9.3 to –0.09) and pain quality (pain rating index: mean difference, –1.9, –3.8 to –0.04). These effects persisted until 4 and 7 months.

Moreover, improvements in present pain achieved statistical significance by 4 months (mean difference, –0.44, –0.72 to –0.16), which persisted until 7 months.

In terms of secondary outcomes, only the change in pain interference achieved statistical significance after 1 month (mean difference, –1.7, –3.4 to –0.02) and likewise persisted until 4 and 7 months.

In comparison, improvements in the physical (mean difference, 4.0, 1.6–6.4) and mental (mean difference, 2.8, 1.0–4.7) component summaries became significant starting month 4. The same was true for pain severity (mean difference, –2.3, –3.9 to –0.78) and percent pain relief (mean difference, 5.1, 2.0–8.3).

On the other hand, the exercise intervention elicited no significant improvements in sleep relative to usual care across all time points.

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