Efficacy and safety of traditional Chinese medicine on treating oligomenorrhea: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Ann Palliat Med. 2021 Dec;10(12):12955-12968. doi: 10.21037/apm-20-825. Epub 2021 Mar 24.


Background: Oligomenorrhea is one of the most frequent gynecologic complaints that interferes with women's life quality. Treatment using traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a preferred alternative therapy for oligomenorrhea. However, systematic reviews (SRs) evaluating the efficacy of TCM treatments for oligomenorrhea remain absent. The present SR and meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of TCM treatment for oligomenorrhea.

Methods: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in English and Chinese were retrieved by searching in the databases in October 2019, including PubMed, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, Sinomed, CNKI, VIP, and WanFang databases. Quantitative analyses and quality assessments were then conducted based on abstracted data. This study protocol is registered PROSPERO, number CRD42018095660.

Results: A total of 26 eligible RCTs involving 2,389 patients were included in our analysis. Overall, we observed an effect of increasing menstrual blood volumes owing to using TCM treatments plus bio-medicine (BM) (n=649; MD, 12.05; 95% CI: 5.23 to 18.87; P<0.00001; I2=96%). Besides, TCM combined with BM yielded a significant prolongation in menstrual periods (MD, 1.20; 95% CI: 0.78 to 1.62; P<0.00001; I2=76%), and had potential improvements on enhancing effectiveness rates, increasing endometrial thickness, and raising the levels of estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P). Concerning adverse events (AEs), no significant difference was found in either group. The quality of evidence was relatively low.

Conclusions: This study seems to support the potential effect of TCM on treating oligomenorrhea. However, the relatively low quality of prior studies calls for future RCTs to further assess the efficacy of TCM on treating oligomenorrhea using rigorous designs.

Keywords: Chinese medicine therapy; meta-analysis; oligomenorrhea; randomized controlled clinical trial; systematic evaluation.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional*
  • Oligomenorrhea*
  • Quality of Life