Research Shows Vitamin E Reduces Pain of Primary Dysmenorrhea

   A study by Jamaican researchers has demonstrated that vitamin E is useful in decreasing the pain of primary dysmenorrhea. They presented their research  at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ 59th Annual Clinical Meeting in Washington, D.C.

   Gregory  K. Lewis, MD, and colleagues at the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Saint Andrew, Jamaica, conducted a prospective, randomized, controlled study of 99 patients aged  18-25 who suffered from primary dysmenorrhea and had regular menstrual cycles. The women were randomly assigned to three groups: a control group (no vitamin E [30]), vitamin E at 400 IU (31), and vitamin E at 800 IU (38). Participants were instructed to start taking the medication at least two days prior to the start of their period and continue through to the first three days of bleeding for one cycle. Data relating to pain and blood loss were collected for two period cycles. Pain severity was established by means of a visual analogue pain scale where a score of 0 equaled no pain and 10 equaled unbearable pain. Blood loss assessment was via a standardized pictorial blood loss assessment chart (PBLAC).

   After data analysis, Dr. Lewis and colleagues found a statistically significant difference in the pain scores for participants who took 800 IU of vitamin E compared with those who took 400 IU and those who did not take vitamin E at all (P=0.009). There was no significant reduction in PBLAC score for menstrual blood loss in the vitamin E groups compared with the control group (P>0.05).

   According to the researchers, “This study clearly demonstrated an overall benefit of vitamin E at 800 IU in decreasing the pain of primary dysmenorrhea, however no reduction in blood loss was evident.”