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Dysmenorrhea and Prostaglandins

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Gynecologic Endocrinology

Abstract

In the folklore of many cultures, the menstrual fluid is believed to be endowed with magical properties. The concept of toxins in the menstrual fluid is evident in many historical writings. Schick1 remarked that his maidservant caused withering of cut flowers when she touched them during her menstrual period. Similar observations were noted by Macht and colleagues.2,3 Acetone extracts of menstrual fluid were found toxic to primulas and could potentiate the epinephrine-induced contractions of the rat vas deferens in vitro.4 Pickles5 ushered in the era of prostaglandins in menstrual fluid when he showed that menstrual fluid extracts induced smooth muscle contractions in vitro; the term “menstrual stimulant” was coined, and this was later shown to be prostaglandins F and E.6 Later, women with primary dysmenorrhea were collectively shown to have a higher amount of menstrual fluid prostaglandins than normal women.7 During the 1970s, a few groups, including our laboratory, showed that endometrial and menstrual fluid prostaglandins were increased in dysmenorrhea women and could be reduced to below normal levels with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs while concomitant relief of the dysmenorrhea occurred.8–11

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© 1987 Plenum Publishing Corporation

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Dawood, M.Y. (1987). Dysmenorrhea and Prostaglandins. In: Gold, J.J., Josimovich, J.B. (eds) Gynecologic Endocrinology. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4613-2157-6_19

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4613-2157-6_19

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Boston, MA

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-4612-9272-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-4613-2157-6

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