Administration Of Vitamin D Relieves Menstrual Pain
A new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that vitamin D may relieve menstrual cramps. It was found that women with dysmenorrhea experiment no pain after receiving a single dose of vitamin D3, that is cholecalciferol.
Menstrual cramps, or dysmenorrhea, affects at least half of women of childbearing age and are caused by prostaglandin, a hormone-like substance with a role in uterine contraction and relaxation of muscles and blood vessels. Dr. Jill Rabin, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park vitamin, explains that vitamin D prevent the production of prostaglandins and furthermore, vitamin D has an anti-inflammatory effect. Dr. Rabin added that the study is only the first step and that it needs to be confirmed by further research.
U.S. experts believe that it is too early to recommend high doses of vitamin D3 to women with menstrual pain, because the study did not show the potential long-term effects of vitamin D3. Dr. Robert Graham, internist and vitamin D expert at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, noted that the study results are quite amazing but the required dose that needs to be administered is high.
The study used a relatively small sample: 40 women, who were divided into two groups, one receiving a single dose of 300,000 IU of vitamin D3, and one who received placebo for 5 days before the start of menstruation. After two months in the group receiving vitamin D3 there has been a 41% reduction in menstrual pain, while in the placebo group no changes war noticed. Also, none of the women who took vitamin D3 had no need to use NSAIDs, while in the placebo group, 40% of women had used NSAIDs. At the beginning of the study, patients had vitamin D blood levels 25% higher of normal. At the end of the study vitamin D blood levels were not reported.
The dose of 300,000 IU of vitamin D used in the study exceeds the usual dose of 600 IU daily recommended for women of childbearing age. The study also does not bring information about potential long-term effects of vitamin D, due to the study short period of only two months. Currently, dysmenorrhea is treated with NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, and in persistent and severe pain cases with contraceptive pills. Both drugs have side effects such as stomach pain, bleeding disorders among others.
It is worth mentioning that other studies have also looked into the potential beneficial effects of vitamin D (the role of vitamin D in cancer, heart disease and autoimmune diseases).