The Effects of Dry Cupping on Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Document Type : Original Article



Background: Primary dysmenorrhea (PD) is one of the most common gynecologic problems. Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine the effects of dry cupping on PD severity and dysmenorrhea‑associated systemic symptoms. Methods: In this randomized clinical trial, 150 young single students with PD were randomly allocated to either an intervention (n = 75) or a control (n = 75) group. Data collection tools were a demographic and menstrual characteristics checklist, Andersch and Milsom’s Verbal Multidimensional Dysmenorrhea Severity Scoring System, and a Dysmenorrhea‑associated Systemic Symptom Scale. In the intervention group, students were provided with daily sliding dry cupping therapy from 3 days before to 3 days after the onset of menstruation for three successive menstrual cycles. In each cupping therapy session, two cups were placed on the lower back on each side of the spine and another on the suprapubic area for 10–15 min. Students in the control group did not receive cupping therapy. Data were analyzed through the Chi‑square and the independent‑samples Student’s t‑tests, the repeated measures analysis of variance, and generalized estimating equation. Results: The mean scores of dysmenorrhea severity and systemic symptoms in the intervention group significantly decreased over time, while they did not significantly change in the control group. Thus, there were significant between‑group differences respecting the variations of dysmenorrhea severity and systemic symptoms over time (P = 0.03). The odds of severe dysmenorrhea and the odds of severe dysmenorrhea‑associated systemic symptoms in the intervention group were, respectively, 52% (odds ratio [OR]: 0.48; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.27–0.85) and 78% (OR: 0.22; 95% CI: 0.05–0.98) less than the control group. Conclusion: Dry cupping can significantly reduce the severity and the systemic symptoms of PD. Therefore, it can be used as an effective, inexpensive, and safe therapy for PD management.