Background: Many previous research studies have shown a higher prevalence of chronic pain conditions as well as more pain sensitivity or lesser pain thresholds (PTh) among women as compared to men. It might be related to the effect of female reproductive hormones, as these hormones produce its effect on various aspects of physiological systems.
Aims and Objectives: The aim of this study is to find the differences in the pain responses as well as cardiovascular reactivity during cold pressor test in different phases of menstrual cycle.
Materials and Methods: Following physical parameters were measured in 75 apparently healthy young Indian females during the three phases of menstrual cycle and utilized for data analysis: Response to cold-induced experimental pain in the form of PTh, pain tolerance (PTo), pain rating on visual analogous scale, pulse reactivity (PRe), systolic blood pressure reactivity (SBPRe), and diastolic BPRe (DBPRe).
Results: Mean PRe was significantly higher during luteal phase as compared to menstrual as well as follicular phase. Mean SBPRe and mean DBPRe were found to be significant higher during luteal phase as compared to the menstrual and follicular phase. Mean PTh and mean PTo were significantly higher during follicular phase as compared to menstrual as well as luteal phase.
Conclusion: This is concluded from above findings that the pain responses vary across the menstrual cycle as shown by higher PTh and tolerance during follicular phase of menstrual cycle. The cardiovascular reactivity to cold pressor pain also varies. The hormonal fluctuation and the differences in the physiological responses, mainly autonomic nervous system reactivity due to these fluctuations, would be the underlying mechanism for these findings.
Pain Threshold; Pain Tolerance; Pain Rating; Pulse Reactivity; Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressure Reactivity