Purpose: The aim of the study was to compare the effect of mefenamic acid and ginger on pain management in primary dysmenorrhea.
Methods: One hundred and twenty-two female students with moderate to severe primary dysmenorrhea were randomly allocated to the ginger and mefenamic groups in a randomized clinical trial. The mefenamic group received 250 mg capsules every 8 h, and the ginger group received 250 mg capsules (zintoma) every 6 h from the onset of menstruation until pain relief lasted 2 cycles. The intensity of pain was assessed by the visual analog scale. Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics, t test, Chi-square, Fisher exact test and repeated measurement.
Results: The pain intensity in the mefenamic and ginger group was 39.01 ± 17.77 and 43.49 ± 19.99, respectively, in the first month, and 33.75 ± 17.71 and 38.19 ± 20.47, respectively, in the second month (p > 0.05). The severity of dysmenorrhea, pain duration, cycle duration and bleeding volume was not significantly different between groups during the study. The menstrual days were more in the ginger group in the first (p = 0.01) and second cycle (p = 0.04). Repeated measurement showed a significant difference in pain intensity within the groups by time, but not between groups.
Conclusion: Ginger is as effective as mefenamic acid on pain relief in primary dysmenorrhea. Ginger does not have adverse effects and is an alternative treatment for primary dysmenorrhea.