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Original Research

A comparative analysis of cardiovascular response to stress in menstrual and follicular phase in medical students

Surendra S Wadikar, Gaurang G Bhandarkar.


Background: Autonomic function tests based on cardiovascular responses to stressors are simple and non-invasive methods to help the clinician to make a proper assessment of the state of autonomic nervous system so as to determine an appropriate line of treatment for patients considering the impact of hormonal changes in females during menstrual cycle.

Aims and Objectives: To study cardiovascular response to stress in menstrual and follicular phases of menstrual cycle and to analyze the impact of menstrual phase on cardiovascular response to stress.

Materials and Methods: The study was conducted at Topiwala National Medical College, Mumbai on 30 normal healthy females between the age group of 18 and 26 years in menstrual and follicular phases with 24-32 days menstrual cycle. The tests performed were: Deep breathing test (expiration: inspiration [E:I] index), orthostatic tolerance test (postural index), Valsalva maneuver, isometric handgrip test (IHG), and cold pressor test (CPT).

Results: Paired t-test was used for analysis. Values were expressed as a mean ± standard deviation. E:I index, postural index and Valsalva ratio were greater in follicular phase than in menstrual phase (P < 0.05). Rise in systolic and diastolic blood pressure due to IHG and CPT was greater in menstrual phase than in follicular phase (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: Results indicated that there was increased cardiovascular response to stress during menstrual phase as compared to follicular phase.

Key words: Expiration:Inspiration Index; Postural Index; Isometric Hand Grip; Stress; Valsalva Ratio

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