Vitamin E in menstruation.




British Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology.

Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Vitamin E
Professional Data: Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Vitamin E


In 1994, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th Ed.) (DSM-IVR) included "premenstrual dysphoric disorder" among its catalog of disorders. PMS is a cluster of physical and emotional symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle. Most women experience some degree of PMS at some point in their menstrual history, although symptoms vary significantly from woman to woman. Reproductive hormones and neurotransmitters are thought to play a central role in PMS. Five to ten days prior to menses, estrogen levels rise and progesterone levels decline. These changes are accompanied by an increase in something known as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) six to nine days prior to menstruation. Then, around two to eight days before menstruation aldosterone levels peak. Prolactin levels are elevated in most PMS patients. So you can see that a lot of changes are occurring in a short period of time.

There are many theories around what causes these major changes to occur and why they are more dramatic in some women and less dramatic in others. One theory is that the way that the body uses vitamins and minerals may be a factor. Another hypothesis is that there is some deviation in the viscosity or thickness of the blood along with a change in the amount of water within the red blood cells during the menstrual cycle.

A recent study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology investigated the role of vitamin E supplementation in painful menstruation. This study involved 278 Iranian girls aged 15-17 years, all whom suffered from dysmenorrhoea (painful menstruation). Participants received either 200 IU of vitamin E or placebo over the course for four menstrual cycles. Treatment began 2 days prior to the expected menstruation and continued into the third day of bleeding. The results showed that those taking the vitamin E had lower pain severity and pain duration at the second and fourth month when compared to placebo. In addition, blood loss was also decreased. The authors concluded that, “Vitamin E relieves the pain of primary dysmenorrhoea and reduces blood loss.”1


1. Ziaei S, et al. A randomised controlled trial of vitamin E in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhoea. British Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. Apr 2005;112(4):466.