Effect of eight-week high-intensity interval training and ginger supplementation on primary dysmenorrhea in nonathletic female students

Document Type : Original Article


1 Associate Professor, Department of Exercise Physiology, Mahabad Branch, Islamic Azad University, Mahabad, Iran.

2 Lecturer, Department of Exercise Physiology, Mahabad Branch, Islamic Azad University, Mahabad, Iran.


Introduction:Regular exercise with suitable intensity is associated with positive effects and several physiological adaptations. Prolonged and high-intensity exercise is reported to cause some menstrual dysfunction. On the other hand, the use of herbal medicine for the treatment of dysmenorrhea pain is on an increasing trend. Regarding this, the aim of the present study was to assess the effects of eight-week high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and ginger supplementation on primary dysmenorrhea in nonathletic girls.
Methods: This quasi-experimental study was conducted on 45 nonathletic freshman students of Mahabad Islamic Azad University, Mahabad, Iran, within the academic year of 2016-2017. The study population was randomly assigned into three groups of training+ginger, training+placebo, and control. The training+ginger group was daily administered with four capsules (250 mg) of ginger for 3 days initiated from the beginning of menstruation. The training+placebo group received placebo capsules with the same instruction. The training+ginger and training+placebo groups participated in HIIT with 85-95% of maximum heart rate intensity, held three sessions a week for eight weeks. The severity and duration of pain dysmenorrhea were estimated in three cycles, namely first, second, and third months of menstruation, using validated tools. Data analysis was performed in SPSS (version 20) using repeated measures ANCOVA, Bonferroni post hoc test, and Levene's test. P-value less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: The results of the present study revealed no significant difference between the groups in terms of the severity and duration of dysmenorrhea in different menstrual cycles (P<0.05). This is indicative of the ineffectivity of exercise training and ginger supplementation on these indicators. The training+placebo group (2.77) showed greater dysmenorrhea pain intensity after 8 weeks of intense training, compared to the training+ginger (2.17) and control (2.93) groups. However, these differences were not statistically significant (P>0.05).
Conclusion: As the results indicated, eight weeks of HIIT with ginger supplementation had no significant effect on primary dysmenorrhea in nonathletic girls. Therefore, further empirical studies are needed in order to determine the effect of this training method and herbal supplementation on dysmenorrhea.


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