One mega-dose of vitamin D eases primary dysmenorrhea
Wendy Tao, B.Sc., Student Representative
Dysmenorrhea affects a lot of menstruating women. A uterine overproduction of prostaglandins, synthesized from omega-6 fatty acids before menses that control vasoconstriction and uterine contractions is the pathogenetic trigger of dysmenorrhea. The authors of a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine journal propose that Vitamin D which works as an anti-inflammatory helps regulate the prostaglandin pathway to decrease prostaglandin activity. Participants of the study were women aged 18 to 40 who had experienced at least 4 consecutive painful menstrual periods within the 6 months prior to the study, and also had a 25(OH)D serum level below the upper limit of the lowest quartile (< 45 ng/ml). In addition, they were not taking calcium, vitamin D, oral contraceptives, or other medications, and they had not used an intrauterine contraceptive device during the previous 6 months.
After 2 months, overall pain in the vitamin D group dropped by 41% and there was no difference in the pain among women taking placebo. In addition, during the study, none of the women in the vitamin D group needed NSAIDs to manage their pain and 40% of those taking placebo used an NSAID at least once. This study suggests that vitamin D could provide an alternative to painkillers and/or NSAIDS that are currently used.