Dysmenorrhoea may begin soon after the menarche, after which it often improves with age, or it may originate later in life after the onset of an underlying causative condition. Dysmenorrhoea is common, and in up to 20% of women it may be severe enough to interfere with daily activities. METHODS AND OUTCOMES: We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical question: What are the effects of treatments for primary dysmenorrhoea? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to January 2010 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

We found 35 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.

In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: acupressure, acupuncture, aspirin, behavioural interventions, contraceptives (combined oral), fish oil, herbal remedies, magnets, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, paracetamol, progestogens (intrauterine), spinal manipulation, surgical interruption of pelvic nerve pathways, thiamine, toki-shakuyaku-san, topical heat, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), vitamin B12, and vitamin E.