The effect of turmeric on primary dysmenorrhea: Prospective case-control study



Naproxen, Primary dysmenorrhea, Turmeric, Visual analog scale


Background/Aim: Turmeric is an ancient spice and is still a part of dietary traditions, especially in Asian populations. It has been linked to anti-inflammatory effects; thus, it may be effective in dysmenorrhea which occurs due to inflammatory events. The use of turmeric in the treatment of dysmenorrhea is unclear. We aimed to compare the effectiveness of turmeric when included in dysmenorrhea treatment. Methods: Nulliparous patients with primary dysmenorrhea (PD) who met the inclusion criteria were included in our prospective case-control study. After the diagnosis of PD was confirmed by the clinician, patients were asked to choose one of the covered papers that wrote group 1 (Control, n=75) and group 2 (Case, n=75), after which they received their related treatment from the doctor in another examination room. Naproxen (750 mg/day) was prescribed to all patients, and 1 g/day turmeric powder was added to the treatment protocol of Group 2 patients as a food supplement to be consumed peroral during menstrual bleeding. The turmeric supplements were given to the patients by the assisting nurse. The two groups were asked to score their pain with a visual analog scale (VAS) before and after the treatment, which were comparatively analyzed. All patients signed informed consent forms before the study began. Results: The two groups were similar in terms of age (22.7 years vs. 23.5 years, p=0.408). The overall median pain score of the study population before the treatment was 9.17 (range: 5-10), which decreased to 2.81 (range: 1-5) after the treatment, with a Z-score of -10.64. The decrease in VAS scores was significant in both groups (P=0.001 for both). The percentage of VAS score decrease (61.7% vs 76.8%) and the absolute score decrease (5.6 vs 7.0) were significantly higher in Group 2 compared to Group 1 (P=0.001, for both). Conclusion: Turmeric may have a role in PD treatment. Naproxen is an effective agent in PD treatment and concomitant use with turmeric improves pain scores. Further controlled randomized studies investigating turmeric use in PD treatment and its mechanism of action may contribute to the literature.


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Okuyan E, Günakan E, Atac H, Çakmak Y. The effect of turmeric on primary dysmenorrhea: Prospective case-control study. J Surg Med [Internet]. 2021 Jul. 1 [cited 2024 May 25];5(7):715-7. Available from: