Women’s Center for Mind-Body Health


Gynecology Research  (Dysmenorrhea)










The Center




M-B Health



















   M-B Methods








   Other spec.

























The focus of this research database is on how stress affects women's health,

and options for treatment using mind-body therapies. 

If you are not a health care professional, see new "Medical Glossary" below.  

To obtain full summaries of the articles, see "How to Get Abstracts" below. 




Birth Control

Vulva & Vagina

Dr. - Patient

(Menstrual cramps)


(Bladder problems)

Pelvic Exams

(Heavy bleeding)


Physical and
Sexual Abuse

Menstrual Cycle


Cancer Screening




Cervical Dysplasia
(Abnormal Paps)

Eating Disorders


Pelvic Pain





Lesbian Health


** Gyn Medical Glossary **

** How to Get Abstracts **



Dysmenorrhea (Menstrual Cramps)







2390501 JA

Factors influencing the prevalence and severity of dysmenorrhoea in young women

In a group of Swedish women followed longitudinally, dysmenorrhea at age 24 was significantly less than at age 19. At 24, 67% reported cramping, 10% significant enough to limit daily activity. Reduction in prevalence and severity of dysmenorrhea was associated with women who had had children and those on birth control pills.

1990 Br J Obstet Gynaecol 97;7:588-94

Sundell, G., Milsom, I., and Andersch, B.


7759347 JA

Symptoms and self-care strategies in women with and without dysmenorrhea

Amount of stress did not differ in women who experienced mild vs. mod-extreme dysmenorrhea.

1995 Health Care Women Int 16;2:167-78

Jarrett, M., Heitkemper, M. M., and Shaver, J. F.


8788460 JA

Dysmenorrhoea, menstrual attitude and GP consultation

Less than 1/3 of a group of 70 British nursing students consulted GPs about their dysmenorrhea, and 2/3 of those who did were dissatisfied with treatment offered.

1996 Br J Nurs 5;8:480-4

Hewison, A. and van den Akker, O. B.


2348011 JA

Affect, pain, and autobiographical memory

The presence of menstrual pain impeded the access to memories of pleasant personal experiences, and if unpleasant affect was involved with the pain, promoted the retrieval of unpleasant events.

1990 J Abnorm Psychol 99;2:174-8

Eich, E., Rachman, S., and Lopatka, C.


2919094 RCT

Dynamics and significance of placebo response in primary dysmenorrhea

In patients given a placebo instead of pain medication for dysmenorrhea, there was a positive response the first month of 84%, 29% in the second month, 16% in the third and 10% in the fourth.

1989 Pain 36;1:43-7

Fedele, L., Marchini, M., Acaia, B., Garagiola, U., and Tiengo, M.





11530120 JA

Pain perception in women with dysmenorrhea

All across the menstrual cycle, women who had a history of dysmenorrhea experienced lower pain thresholds and higher anxiety scores than women without dysmenorrhea.

2001 Obstet Gynecol 98;3:407-11

Granot, M., Yarnitsky, D., Itskovitz-Eldor, J., Granovsky, Y., Peer, E., and Zimmer, E. Z.


11102290 JA

Prospective study of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and dysmenorrhea

In this prospectively followed group of Chinese new brides, there was a significant dose-response relationship between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and increased incidence of dysmenorrhea.

2000 Environ Health Perspect 108;11:1019-22

Chen, C., Cho, S. I., Damokosh, A. I., Chen, D., Li, G., Wang, X., and Xu, X.


9211480 JA

Pain threshold variations in somatic wall tissues as a function of menstrual cycle, segmental site and tissue depth in non-dysmenorrheic women, dysmenorrheic women and men

Very involved physiological study showing that women with and without dysmenorrhea experienced different pain sensitivity of skin, subcutaneous tissue and muscle depending on time of the menstrual cycle.

1997 Pain 71;2:187-97

Giamberardino, M. A., Berkley, K. J., Iezzi, S., de Bigontina, P., and Vecchiet, L.


7942720 JA

Functional bowel disorders in women with dysmenorrhea

In this group of 383 women, 19.8% had dysmenorrhea. Of those women, 61% had functional bowel disorder vs. 20% of the controls. Women with dysmenorrhea had significantly increased prostaglandin levels.

1994 Am J Gastroenterol 89;11:1973-7

Crowell, M. D., Dubin, N. H., Robinson, J. C., Cheskin, L. J., Schuster, M. M., Heller, B. R., and Whitehead, W. E.


1987551 JA

GI symptoms, function, and psychophysiological arousal in dysmenorrheic women

Women with dysmenorrhea reported higher levels of GI symptoms at menses. Cycle related changes in serum cortisol, urine catecholamines, and report of anxiety were increased in the luteal phase, more so in women with dysmenorrhea.

1991 Nurs Res 40;1:20-6

Heitkemper, M., Jarrett, M., Bond, E. F., and Turner, P.





6102052 CT

Treatment of dysmenorrhea: a relaxation therapy program

Ten high school girls who were given relaxation therapy had significantly less cramping, nausea, concentration problems and irritability.

1980 Int J Gynaecol Obstet 17;4:340-2

Ben-Menachem, M.


6890074 CT

Self-control of dysmenorrheic symptoms through pain management training

Women who received four sessions of relaxation training had significant reductions in pain and time lost compared to their own baselines and a control group. Effects were still evident 18 months later.

1982 J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry 13;2:123-30

Quillen, M. A. and Denney, D. R.


7271696 MA

Behavioral treatments of primary dysmenorrhea: a review

1981 meta-analysis of hypnotherapy, "lamaze exercises", biofeedback , and desensitization (imagery and relaxation), showed that desensitization was the most consistently effective.

1981 Behav Res Ther 19;4:303-12

Denney, D. R. and Gerrard, M.


3070050 CT

The effectiveness of activity scheduling and relaxation training in the treatment of spasmodic dysmenorrhea

Activity scheduling as well as relaxation training were effective dysmenorrhea treatments.

1988 J Behav Med 11;5:483-95

Sigmon, S. T. and Nelson, R. O.


7326271 CT

A comparison of skin temperature and EMG training for primary dysmenorrhea

Biofeedback significantly decreased dysmenorrhea symptoms.

1981 Biofeedback Self Regul 6;3:367-73

Hart, A. D., Mathisen, K. S., and Prater, J. S.


365250 JA

Biofeedback-assisted relaxation training for primary dysmenorrhea: a case study

Single case of a woman with dysmenorrhea despite hormonal and analgesic treatment who significantly improved with biofeedback.

1978 Biofeedback Self Regul 3;3:301-5

Dietvorst, T. F. and Osborne, D.


10450473 JA

Exercise and primary dysmenorrhoea

Discusses the conflicting data with regards to dysmenorrhea and exercise, delineating the physiologic interactions, and outlining parameters for future research.

1999 Br J Sports Med 33;4:227

Locke, R. J. and Warren, M. P.


9624650 R,T

Primary dysmenorrhea and physical activity

Review of studies on exercise and dysmenorrhea suggest decreased prevalence and /or improved symptomatology.

1998 Med Sci Sports Exerc 30;6:906-9

Golomb, L. M., Solidum, A. A., and Warren, M. P.


2634110 JA

The relationship among exercise, stress, and primary dysmenorrhea

This article suggests that exercise aggravates physical dysmenorrhea symptoms, but since exercise also relieves stress and elevates mood, results are a trade-off.

1989 J Behav Med 12;6:569-86

Metheny, W. P. and Smith, R. P.


10674588 PMS

Diet and sex-hormone binding globulin, dysmenorrhea, and premenstrual symptoms

33 women who were placed on a low-fat vegetarian diet experienced significantly less dysmenorrhea duration and intensity, as well as significantly decreased duration of other PMS symptoms.

2000 Obstet Gynecol 95;2:245-50

Barnard, N. D., Scialli, A. R., Hurlock, D., and Bertron, P.




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