This brief article may appear to be directed toward all the good women folk reading it. While its topic most certainly is something women deal with, I would dare to argue, oh so carefully, that the men reading it should also pay close attention. I will leave it at that.

Dysmenorrhea is the condition of painful menstrual cramps. In women under the age of 30, it is the leading cause of absenteeism. More than half of women experience pain during their menstruating years, and more than 10 percent are temporarily disabled by the symptoms.

While the condition, when severe, certainly needs to be evaluated by a qualified health care professional, there are several self-prescribed interventions that can be of benefit.

Heating pads, massage, and over the counter meds are of benefit, but exercise, especially prior to the start of the cycle, has great data behind it.

A recent literature review, called a meta-analysis, of yoga and dysmenorrhea, was done on four randomized controlled studies comparing the levels of pain in women who did yoga as compared to those who did not.

The review showed that practicing yoga daily or for as little as 30 minutes twice a week over 12 weeks had a significant impact on the painful menstrual cycle. No drugs, no surgeries, and nothing but positive side effects.

This is yet another example of the power of movement and activity on your health and well-being, for both men and women, no matter what the symptoms or concerns are.

Dr. Warren Willey is a Pocatello physician. Visit his website at