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Experimental and procedural pain responses in primary dysmenorrhea: a systematic review

Authors Payne LA, Rapkin AJ, Seidman LC, Zeltzer LK, Tsao JCI

Received 8 June 2017

Accepted for publication 2 August 2017

Published 12 September 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 2233—2246

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S143512

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr E. Alfonso Romero-Sandoval

Laura A Payne,1 Andrea J Rapkin,2 Laura C Seidman,1 Lonnie K Zeltzer,1 Jennie CI Tsao1

1Pediatric Pain and Palliative Care Program, 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Abstract: Primary dysmenorrhea (PD) has been the focus of a number of experimental pain studies. Although a number of reviews exist, few have critically evaluated the existing body of research on PD and experimental and procedural pain. Data from 19 published research articles that include women with PD and responses to an experimental or procedural pain stimulus (or stimuli) suggest that women with PD may have elevated pain reactivity, as compared to women without PD. This pattern appears to be true across different phases of the menstrual cycle. However, there is an abundance of conflicting findings, which may be due to significant methodological issues such as inconsistent definitions of PD, wide variation in experimental pain methodologies, and inaccurate assessment of the menstrual cycle. Future research should focus on identifying specific symptoms (i.e., pain threshold ratings) to more clearly define what constitutes PD, establish reliable and valid laboratory testing protocols, and assess the menstrual cycle with greater precision.

Keywords: primary dysmenorrhea, menstrual pain, acute pain, menstrual cycle, central pain mechanisms
 

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