Objectives: To compare the effects of ginger, mefenamic acid, and ibuprofen on pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea.
Methods: This was a double-blind comparative clinical trial conducted from September 2006 to February 2007. Participants were 150 students (18 years old and over) with primary dysmenorrhea from the dormitories of two medical universities who were alternately divided into three equal groups. Students in the ginger group took 250 mg capsules of ginger rhizome powder four times a day for three days from the start of their menstrual period. Members of the other groups received 250 mg mefenamic acid or 400 mg ibuprofen capsules, respectively, on the same protocol. A verbal multidimensional scoring system was used for assessing the severity of primary dysmenorrhea. Severity of disease, pain relief, and satisfaction with the treatment were compared between the groups after one menstruation.
Results: There were not significant differences between groups in baseline characteristics, p > 0.05. At the end of treatment, severity of dysmenorrhea decreased in all groups and no differences were found between the groups in severity of dysmenorrhea, pain relief, or satisfaction with the treatment, p > 0.05. No severe side effects occurred.
Conclusion: Ginger was as effective as mefenamic acid and ibuprofen in relieving pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea. Further studies regarding the effects of ginger on other symptoms associated with dysmenorrhea and efficacy and safety of various doses and treatment durations of ginger are warranted.