Effect of Small Doses of Aspirin and Acetaminophen on Total Menstrual Loss and Pain of Cramps and Headache

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90 women participated in a 4-month study. During the first 2 periods, they took no pain relievers whatsoever; during their last 2 periods they took 2 × 325 mg aspirin, acetaminophen or an identically packaged placebo every 4 h to total 8 tablets during the first 24 h of their periods beginning with spotting. For statistical analysis, periods 1 and 2 were combined and averaged, then compared with periods 3 and 4 combined and averaged. Total menstrual loss in grams, number of days of flow, and pain of cramps and headaches were analyzed by MANOVA for each of the three treatment groups. An ANOVA for each of these variables as well as for daily menstrual loss for the first 3 menstrual days was also performed. The MANOVA for all variables by the three treatment groups failed to show any significant differences. Similarly, ANOVAs for the individual variables failed to indicate significant differences except for the variable pain of cramps (p = 0.0072). The Duncan’s Multiple Range Test for pain of cramps showed that the average pain for the placebo group was higher than for either the aspirin or the acetaminophen group, although the means for these two groups were not significantly different. These results indicate that neither aspirin nor acetaminophen in the doses given alter either total menstrual loss or the pattern of loss during the first 3 menstrual days. However, both preparations were found to be more effective than placebo in reducing pain of cramps.



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