Objective: To summarize and evaluate evidence for the effect of yoga on menstrual disorders.
Methods: PubMed, CINAHL/MEDLINE, Web of Science, AMED, and Scopus were searched for English-language literature relevant to the review question. All primary research studies were included.
Results: Fifteen studies described in 18 papers were included in the review. A range of yoga interventions were used. Some studies used a combination of Asana, Pranayama, and other yogic relaxation or meditation techniques. All included studies reported some change in their outcome measures, suggesting reduced symptoms of menstrual distress following a yoga intervention; however, the heterogeneity and intensity of the interventions and outcome measures meant that findings have limited generalizability and applicability in practice settings.
Conclusions: Further research on the relationship between yoga practice and menstrual disorders is warranted, but there must be both consistency in the methods, measures, and quality of studies and a shift toward research on yoga practices that are replicable outside of the clinical trial setting.
Keywords: menstruation; symptoms management; systematic review; women's health; yoga.