Omega-3 and Primary Dysmenorrhea


Supplementation with Omega-3 fatty acids reduces the symptom intensity of primary dysmenorrhea (the medical term for painful menstrual period). In primary dysmenorrhea, pain occurs in healthy young women without related problems in the uterus or other pelvic organs, neither stress nor anxiety. Many women suffer this problem, which is the first cause of lost time from school and job in their teens and twenties.

In one of the several studies that have shown the efficacy of the Omega-3 in dysmenorrhea, two groups of women received 1 Omega-3 capsule daily or placebo (a substance that has no therapeutic effect) for 3 months, with the possibility of taking 400 mg of ibuprofen (a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug used to relieve pain) if severe menstrual pains were experienced. After the 3 months period of treatment, a marked reduction in pain intensity was observed in the group who received Omega-3. Besides, supplementation efficacy was sufficient to decrease the ibuprofen intake, a very important aspect, taking into account its side effects and the development of drug resistance in some patients.

Rahbar N, Asgharzadeh N, Ghorbani R. Effect of omega-3 fatty acids on intensity of primary dysmenorrhea.Int J Gynaecol Obstet 2012;117(1):45-47.
Tokuyama S, Nakamoto K. Unsaturated fatty acids and pain. Biol Pharm Bull 2011;34(8):1174-1178.