Primary dysmenorrhea is described as pelvic pain around the time menstrual bleeding in the absence of an identifiable pathologic lesion. It is a common gynecologic problem among women in reproductive age groups. Our objective was to compare the effect of vitamin E and fennel extract on the intensity of primary dysmenorrhea. A randomized single blind placebo-controlled trial was used among 65 single female students who suffered from primary dysmenorrhea. These were divided into 3 groups: fennel extract, vitamin E and placebo. The groups used treatment four times a day from the onset of bleeding and continued through three days for two consecutive menstrual periods. In the fennel extract group, result indicated that pain severity was lower compare to before treatment (P<0/000) and vitamin E group either cycle (P<0/02). A comparison of the 3 groups showed that there was significant difference in pain severity in second cycle and reduction was greater in fennel extract group (P<0/019). The use of painkiller was lower compared to before treatment in Fennel extract and vitamin E groups, but reduction in both drugs was not significant compared to placebo. It was concluded that fennel extract, which has few side effects, can be taken for treatment of primary dysmenorrhea. More clinical trials are, however, needed to establish the efficacy of this herbal drug.
Key words: Primary dysmenorrhea, vitamin E, fennel extract.
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