Viagra For Women and Painful Menstruation

Viagra for painful menstruation
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Gentlemen, it appears it may soon be time to share your Viagra (sildenafil citrate) with the woman in your life if she suffers from painful menstrual cramps. Although this erectile dysfunction drug was originally prescribed for men only, the days of equal opportunity are nearly upon us.

The study of Viagra in women was conducted by a team of investigators from Penn State College of Medicine along with colleagues at Nova Gradiska General Hospital in Croatia. Twenty-five women who experienced moderate to severe primary dysmenorrhea were enrolled in the study.

New Drug Approach May Relieve Menstrual Pain

Primary dysmenorrhea typically involves two general symptoms:

  • Pain in the lower abdomen, back, and thighs that begins either one to two days before menstruation begins or when it starts. The pain can be accompanied by diarrhea, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting
  • Menstrual cramps that usually start one to two days after bleeding begins

The women were randomly assigned to receive either sildenafil citrate vaginally (100 mg) or a placebo. Participants then reported on their level of pain relief over the next four hours.

Although oral Viagra has been studied in previous research for painful menstruation and to improve libido, this was the first time the drug was given vaginally for this purpose. Oral sildenafil citrate in women is associated with a high incidence of headaches.

The good news from this study, however, is that Viagra relieved acute menstrual pain without causing side effects. Currently the most common treatments for painful menstruation are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., ibuprofen, diclofenac), which can cause gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney damage when used long-term; and oral contraceptives, which may be helpful for women who do not wish to become pregnant.

Painful menstruation affects at least 50 percent of women at some point in their lives, with some research indicating the number is as high as 90 percent. In either case, the problem is significant.

The results of this new study suggest vaginal use of Viagra may be beneficial for women who suffer with painful menstruation. According to one of the study’s authors, Richard Legro, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and public health sciences, “sildenafil may become a treatment option for patients with PD [primary dysmenorrhea]” if future research supports these findings.

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Other treatment options
If you prefer to try a more natural approach to menstrual cramp and pain relief, then you might consider one of the following remedies. One is vitamin D.

An Italian study found that 75 percent of women who took a high dose of vitamin D five days before their period started experienced significantly less pain from cramps. The women in the study took a single dose of 300,000 International Units of vitamin D3 and were followed for two months.

Another option is krill oil. A double-blind study compared the benefits of krill oil versus fish oil in women who had premenstrual syndrome and painful menstruation.

After three months of treatment, the women who had taken krill oil reported taking significantly fewer pain relievers than women who had taken fish oil. Emotional symptoms in the women who took krill oil also were significantly better.

Yet another option may be acupuncture. So far, however, the results have been mixed.

For example, a trial involving 92 women found that those who received acupuncture treatments over a three-month period showed a significant reduction in how long they experienced menstrual pain when compared with the control group at the six-month follow-up. However, this benefit was not seen at the 12-month follow-up.

Other options for relief from menstrual pain include acupressure (for menstrual and lower back pain), the herb black cohosh, heat (heating bottle or heating bad), yoga, and meditation.

Women who suffer with primary dysmenorrhea have several treatment options, but more effective and safe alternatives are needed. The use of vaginally administered Viagra may soon be added to the list of treatment choices for painful menstruation.

References
Dmitrovic R et al. Sildenafil citrate in the treatment of pain in primary dysmenorrhea: a randomized controlled trial. Human Reproduction 2013; 28(11): 2958
Jamieson DJ, Steege JF. The prevalence of dysmenorrhea, dyspareunia, pelvic pain, and irritable bowel syndrome in primary care practices. Obstetrics and Gynecology Jan 1996; 87(1):55-58.
Smith CA et al. Acupuncture to treat primary dysmenorrheal in women: a randomized controlled trial. Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2011; 612464

Image: Kevin Ryder/Flickr

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