Yoga for women with primary dysmenorrhea

Researchers at Islamic Azad University, in Rasht, Iran, studied the effect of yoga on  dysmenorrhea — cramping pain in the lower abdomen occurring just before or during menstruation, in the absence of other diseases.

First, the details.

  • 92 adult female students were randomly assigned to a treatment group.
    • Yoga: Cobra, cat, and fish poses during the luteal phase, followed by recording menstrual symptoms
    • Control: No yoga followed by recording menstrual symptoms
  • Luteal phase is the time between ovulation and the onset of the next menses.
  • A visual analog scale for pain experienced over time was used to assess intensity of pain and the pain duration.

And, the results.

  • The yoga group reported a significant difference in pain intensity and pain duration compared to symptoms they recorded before yoga.
  • The yoga group also showed a significant difference in pain intensity and pain duration vs the control group.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Yoga reduced the severity and duration of primary dysmenorrhea. The findings suggest that yoga poses are safe and simple treatment for primary dysmenorrhea.”

More on menstrual cramps and yoga, including the poses used in this study is discussed here.

Based on the lack of results in a PubMed search, this appears to be the first clinical research to support what has been recommended based on anecdotal evidence.

4/26/11 20:27 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.