OBJECTIVE: To determine if systemic processing of pain differs in women with and without dysmenorrhea. METHODS: Twenty-two dysmenorrheic women and 31 nondysmenorrheic women were studied by pain threshold and supra-threshold magnitude estimation to heat stimuli, pain-evoked potentials by laser stimuli, and anxiety scores four times across their menstrual cycles. RESULTS: Significant differences were found between dysmenorrheic and nondysmenorrheic women. In all four examinations across the menstrual cycle, dysmenorrheic women had longer latencies of pain-evoked potentials (383.08 ± 6.8 msec versus 345.05 ± 7.0 msec, P < .001), higher magnitude estimations on visual analog scale of supra-threshold pain (83.29 ± 2.87 versus 63.50 ± 3.82, P < .001), and higher state anxiety scores (37.69 ± 1.7 versus 29.20 ± 1.9, P = .002). CONCLUSION: Women with dysmenorrhea show enhanced pain perception compared to nondysmenorrheic women. This augmentation of pain perception may be part of the development of dysmenorrhea.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology