The effect of the herbal medicine on severity of cyclic mastalgia: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Publication Name

Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine


Cyclic mastalgia is one of the most prevalent problems in women of reproductive age and sometimes it is so severe that it influences their activities and requires treatment. The available drug treatments for mastalgia are not satisfactory and most patients have inclined towards complementary and alternative medicine including herbal medicines. Therefore, in order to evaluate the effectiveness and side effects of herbal medicines conducting systematic review studies and meta-analysis seems essential, thus this systematic review was conducted with the aim of determining the effect of herbal medicines on cyclic mastalgia and its probable side effects. The databases of Pubmed, Medline, Embase, ProQuest, Scopus, Web of science, Complementary Medicine Database, SID (Scientific information database), Magiran and Iranmedex were searched from 1997 to 2020 and limited only for English and Persian languages. The studies were appraised according to the Cochrane Collaboration's tool. Meta-analysis was conducted using RevMan software. Standardized mean difference (SMD) was calculated to assess an overall estimate of effectiveness for the continuous data. Odds ratio (OR) was calculated for dichotomous data. Thirty papers were included in the study. Meta-analysis of data demonstrated that herbal medicine was an effective method in reducing the severity of mastalgia compared to the placebo (SMD: -3.26, 95% CI: -5.05 to -1.46, p=0.00004). Subanalysis of data showed no difference between the effectiveness of herbal medicine on the severity of mastalgia compared to the pharmacologic treatment. This research demonstrated efficacy of herbal medicines in alleviating cyclic mastalgia. Therefore, these herbal medicines can be regarded as an alternative treatment for women suffering from cyclic mastalgia. However, due to the limited number of studies in relation to each specific herbal treatment, conducting further studies in this area is recommended.

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