Background: Dysmenorrhea is a common gynecologic disorder affecting as many as 60% of menstruating women. In the United States, work absenteeism due to dysmenorrhea is estimated to be 600 million work hours per year, and the economic consequences are estimated at $2 billion per year; therefore, it is a public problem nowadays.
Aim: The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of combination of fennel extract/vitamin E with ibuprofen on the intensity of pain in primary dysmenorrhea among the students of Tabriz city in 2007-2009.
Materials and methods: This study was done by using double-blinded quasi-experimental research method. After taking the required licenses from ethics committee, 68 students from Medical and Tabriz universities, who were living in the dormitory, suffering from primary dysmenorrhea, and were eligible for the study, were randomly divided into two groups of 34 students each (the two groups used combination of fennel extract/vitamin E and ibuprofen cross-over form in the 2 months). We used Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) tool for ranking the intensity of the pain. Data analysis was done by using SPSS Ver. 14.
Results: The mean of peak pain intensity in the first, second, third, sixth, and forty-eighth hours in the group that had used combination of fennel extract/vitamin E was lower than the group that had used ibuprofen, and statistical differences were observed between the two groups in the first and second hours; combination of fennel extract/vitamin E was more effective than ibuprofen in the first hour (P < 0.03) and second hour (P < 0.04).
Conclusion: Combination of fennel extract/vitamin E is effective on decreasing the intensity of pain of primary dysmenorrhea, and it is advised to those who cannot use chemical drugs.
Keywords: Fennel; ibuprofen; primary dysmenorrhea; vitamin E.