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Invited Commentary
Feb 27, 2012

Vitamin D for Menstrual and Pain-Related Disorders in Women: Comment on “Improvement of Primary Dysmenorrhea Caused by a Single Oral Dose of Vitamin D”

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Dr Bertone-Johnson); and Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of Epidemiology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (Dr Manson).

Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(4):367-369. doi:10.1001/archinte.172.4.367

Primary dysmenorrhea is among the most common menstrual disorders, occurring in at least 50% of reproductive-age women.1 Dysmenorrhea is characterized by pelvic pain beginning shortly before the onset of menses or at the beginning of menstrual flow and then lasting several days. The disorder results in substantial impairment in normal functioning and is among the most common causes of school and work absenteeism in young women. The main source of pelvic pain is believed to be prostaglandins synthesized from omega-6 fatty acids prior to menses, which control vasoconstriction and uterine contraction. Though nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and oral contraceptives are effective at managing pain in many patients, these medications are not without risks. Given the high prevalence of dysmenorrhea and the long duration over which affected women may suffer, treatment options with fewer adverse effects are needed.

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