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Dietary supplements for dysmenorrhoea

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, March 2016
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (94th percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (74th percentile)

Mentioned by

2 news outlets
1 blog
13 tweeters
7 Facebook pages
4 Wikipedia pages
2 Google+ users
1 video uploader


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396 Mendeley
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Dietary supplements for dysmenorrhoea
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, March 2016
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd002124.pub2
Pubmed ID

Porjai Pattanittum, Naowarat Kunyanone, Julie Brown, Ussanee S Sangkomkamhang, Joanne Barnes, Vahid Seyfoddin, Jane Marjoribanks


Dysmenorrhoea refers to painful menstrual cramps and is a common gynaecological complaint. Conventional treatments include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and oral contraceptive pills (OCPs), which both reduce myometrial activity (contractions of the uterus). A suggested alternative approach is dietary supplements. We used the term 'dietary supplement' to include herbs or other botanical, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids. We excluded traditional Chinese medicines. To determine the efficacy and safety of dietary supplements for treating dysmenorrhoea. We searched sources including the Cochrane Gynaecology and Fertility Group Specialised Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, EMBASE, AMED, PsycINFO (all from inception to 23 March 2015), trial registries, and the reference lists of relevant articles. We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of dietary supplements for moderate or severe primary or secondary dysmenorrhoea. We excluded studies of women with an intrauterine device. Eligible comparators were other dietary supplements, placebo, no treatment, or conventional analgesia. Two review authors independently performed study selection, performed data extraction and assessed the risk of bias in the included trials. The primary outcomes were pain intensity and adverse effects. We used a fixed-effect model to calculate odds ratios (ORs) for dichotomous data, and mean differences (MDs) or standardised mean differences (SMDs) for continuous data, with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). We presented data that were unsuitable for analysis either descriptively or in additional tables. We assessed the quality of the evidence using Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) methods. We included 27 RCTs (3101 women). Most included studies were conducted amongst cohorts of students with primary dysmenorrhoea in their late teens or early twenties. Twenty-two studies were conducted in Iran and the rest were performed in other middle-income countries. Only one study addressed secondary dysmenorrhoea. Interventions included 12 different herbal medicines (German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla, M recutita, Chamomilla recutita), cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum, C. verum), Damask rose (Rosa damascena), dill (Anethum graveolens), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), ginger (Zingiber officinale), guava (Psidium guajava), rhubarb (Rheum emodi), uzara (Xysmalobium undulatum), valerian (Valeriana officinalis), and zataria (Zataria multiflora)) and five non-herbal supplements (fish oil, melatonin, vitamins B1 and E, and zinc sulphate) in a variety of formulations and doses. Comparators included other supplements, placebo, no treatment, and NSAIDs.We judged all the evidence to be of low or very low quality. The main limitations were imprecision due to very small sample sizes, failure to report study methods, and inconsistency. For most comparisons there was only one included study, and very few studies reported adverse effects. Effectiveness of supplements for primary dysmenorrhoea We have presented pain scores (all on a visual analogue scale (VAS) 0 to 10 point scale) or rates of pain relief, or both, at the first post-treatment follow-up. Supplements versus placebo or no treatmentThere was no evidence of effectiveness for vitamin E (MD 0.00 points, 95% CI -0.34 to 0.34; two RCTs, 135 women).There was no consistent evidence of effectiveness for dill (MD -1.15 points, 95% CI -2.22 to -0.08, one RCT, 46 women), guava (MD 0.59, 95% CI -0.13 to 1.31; one RCT, 151 women); one RCT, 73 women), or fennel (MD -0.34 points, 95% CI -0.74 to 0.06; one RCT, 43 women).There was very limited evidence of effectiveness for fenugreek (MD -1.71 points, 95% CI -2.35 to -1.07; one RCT, 101 women), fish oil (MD 1.11 points, 95% CI 0.45 to 1.77; one RCT, 120 women), fish oil plus vitamin B1 (MD -1.21 points, 95% CI -1.79 to -0.63; one RCT, 120 women), ginger (MD -1.55 points, 95% CI -2.43 to -0.68; three RCTs, 266 women; OR 5.44, 95% CI 1.80 to 16.46; one RCT, 69 women), valerian (MD -0.76 points, 95% CI -1.44 to -0.08; one RCT, 100 women), vitamin B1 alone (MD -2.70 points, 95% CI -3.32 to -2.08; one RCT, 120 women), zataria (OR 6.66, 95% CI 2.66 to 16.72; one RCT, 99 women), and zinc sulphate (MD -0.95 points, 95% CI -1.54 to -0.36; one RCT, 99 women).Data on chamomile and cinnamon versus placebo were unsuitable for analysis. Supplements versus NSAIDSThere was no evidence of any difference between NSAIDs and dill (MD 0.13 points, 95% CI -1.01 to 1.27; one RCT, 47 women), fennel (MD -0.70 points, 95% CI -1.81 to 0.41; one RCT, 59 women), guava (MD 1.19, 95% CI 0.42 to 1.96; one RCT, 155 women), rhubarb (MD -0.20 points, 95% CI -0.44 to 0.04; one RCT, 45 women), or valerian (MD points 0.62 , 95% CI 0.03 to 1.21; one RCT, 99 women),There was no consistent evidence of a difference between Damask rose and NSAIDs (MD -0.15 points, 95% CI -0.55 to 0.25; one RCT, 92 women).There was very limited evidence that chamomile was more effective than NSAIDs (MD -1.42 points, 95% CI -1.69 to -1.15; one RCT, 160 women). Supplements versus other supplementsThere was no evidence of a difference in effectiveness between ginger and zinc sulphate (MD 0.02 points, 95% CI -0.58 to 0.62; one RCT, 101 women). Vitamin B1 may be more effective than fish oil (MD -1.59 points, 95% CI -2.25 to -0.93; one RCT, 120 women). Effectiveness of supplements for secondary dysmenorrhoea There was no strong evidence of benefit for melatonin compared to placebo for dysmenorrhoea secondary to endometriosis (data were unsuitable for analysis). Safety of supplements Only four of the 27 included studies reported adverse effects in both treatment groups. There was no evidence of a difference between the groups but data were too scanty to reach any conclusions about safety. There is no high quality evidence to support the effectiveness of any dietary supplement for dysmenorrhoea, and evidence of safety is lacking. However for several supplements there was some low quality evidence of effectiveness and more research is justified.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 13 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 396 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 2 <1%
South Africa 1 <1%
Unknown 393 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 71 18%
Student > Bachelor 70 18%
Researcher 45 11%
Student > Ph. D. Student 28 7%
Lecturer 23 6%
Other 83 21%
Unknown 76 19%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 135 34%
Nursing and Health Professions 72 18%
Psychology 17 4%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 15 4%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 15 4%
Other 48 12%
Unknown 94 24%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 38. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 10 February 2020.
All research outputs
of 15,625,699 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 11,226 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 267,277 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 194 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 15,625,699 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 96th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,226 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 23.3. This one has done well, scoring higher than 86% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 267,277 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 94% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 194 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 74% of its contemporaries.