Comparing the Effects of Aerobic and Stretching Exercises on Intensity of Primary Dysmenorrhea Among Nursing Students

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Fatma Talal Fathy, Amina Saad Gonied, Mohammed Mahmoud El-Dosoky, Sabah Lotfy Mohamed, Nabila Salim Mohamed


Background: Primary dysmenorrhea, defined as spasmodic and painful cramps in the lower abdomen during menses, in the absence of any pelvic pathology. It is one of the most common gynecological disorders among adolescent girls. Globally, the burden of dysmenorrhea range from 50% to 95%.It results in negative physical, social and psychological consequences. More regular physical activity is effective in reducing dysmenorrhea complications. The aim of this study was to; compare the effects of aerobic and stretching exercises on intensity of primary dysmenorrhea among nursing students. Research design: A Quasi experimental design was selected in carrying out this study. Subjects: A purposive sample of 150 female students, who complained of mild to moderate dysmenorrhea and selected from faculty of nursing. They were divided into control group and two intervention groups (aerobic and stretching exercises) performed exercises 3 times a week for 12 weeks (3 subsequent menstrual cycles). The tools used for data collection were: a structured Interview Questionnaire, visual Analogue Scale (VAS), WaLIDD Scale and Moo’s Menstrual Distress Questionnaire (MDQ).  The results of the present study revealed that female student's age ranged between 18-22 years. Intensity of pain was decreased in stretching & aerobic groups compared to control group with statistical significant difference (p < 0.001). Furthermore, WaLIDD total score was reduced with statistically significant differences (p < 0.001) in stretching and aerobic groups vs. control group. Menstrual distress symptoms were improved in exercises groups (stretching and aerobic) vs. control group. Conclusion: Both aerobic and stretching exercises were effective in reducing intensity of dysmenorrhea and improving menstrual distress symptoms. Recommendations: female student can select aerobic or stretching exercises according to lifestyle and interest. Further training program combined aerobic and stretching exercises is suggested. Enhance student's awareness and knowledge about effect of physical exercises (stretching and aerobic) by adding this topic into curriculums.

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