Sensitivity to cold pressor pain in dysmenorrheic and non-dysmenorrheic women as a function of menstrual cycle phase
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Pain responses (threshold, tolerance, and visual analog ratings) to the cold pressor task were studied in 46 normally menstruating dysmenorrheic and non-dysmenorrheic women during 2 phases of the menstrual cycle. Twenty-six women provided measurements during the follicular (days 8-14) and 20 during the luteal (days 15-21) phases of the menstrual cycle. A significantly lower pain threshold was obtained during the luteal as compared to the follicular phase. Pain tolerance showed a similar but non-significant trend. Visual analog ratings were significantly lower in dysmenorrheic women during the follicular than the luteal phase. Also, these ratings were lower than those of non-dysmenorrheic women in the follicular phase. This finding may support an adaptation-levels model, in that dysmenorrheic women report less pain than do non-dysmenorrheic women because they compare cold pressor pain with internal menstrual pain.
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