Background: Dysmenorrhoea refers to the occurrence of painful menstrual cramps of uterine origin and is a common gynaecological condition with considerable morbidity. The behavioural approach assumes that psychological and environmental factors interact with, and influence, physiological processes. Behavioural interventions for dysmenorrhoea may include both physical and cognitive procedures and focus on both physical and psychological coping strategies for dysmenorrhoeic symptoms rather than modification of any underlying organic pathology. Objectives: To determine the effectiveness of any behavioural interventions for the treatment of primary or secondary dysmenorrhoea when compared to each other, placebo, no treatment, or conventional medical treatments for example non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Search strategy: We searched the Cochrane Menstrual Disorders and Subfertility Group Trials Register (searched April 2005), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL on The Cochrane Library, Issue 2, 2005), MEDLINE (1966 to April 2005), EMBASE (1980 to April 2005), Social Sciences Index (1980 to April 2005), PsycINFO (1972 to April 2005) and CINAHL (1982 to April 2005) and reference lists of articles. Selection criteria: Randomised controlled trials comparing behavioural interventions with placebo or other interventions in women with dysmenorrhoea. Data collection and analysis: Two authors independently assessed trial quality and extracted data. Main results: Five trials involving 213 women were included. Behavioural intervention vs control: One trial of pain management training reported reduction in pain and symptoms compared to a control. Three trials of relaxation compared to control reported varied results, two trials showed no difference in symptom severity scores however one trial reported relaxation was effective for reducing symptoms in menstrual sufferers with spasmodic symptoms. Two trials reported less restriction in daily activities following treatment with either relaxation of pain management training compared to a control. One trial also reported less time absent from school following treatment wit pain management training compared to a control. Behavioural intervention vs other behavioural interventions: Three trials showed no difference between behavioural interventions for the outcome of improvement in symptoms. One trial showed that relaxation resulted in a decrease in the need for resting time compared to the relaxation and imagery. Authors' conclusions: There is some evidence from five RCTs that behavioural interventions may be effective for dysmenorrhoea however results should be viewed with caution as they varied greatly between trials due to inconsistency in the reporting of data, small trial size, poormethodological quality and age of the trials.
Bibliographical note© 2011 The Cochrane Collaboration. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
- Adaptation, psychological
- Behavior therapy [*methods]
- Biofeedback (Psychology)
- Dysmenorrhea [psychology; *therapy]
- Imagery (Psychotherapy)
- Randomized controlled trials as topic
- Relaxation techniques