Assistant Professor
Pediatric Pain Program

Project title: Central Pain Mechanisms in Primary Dysmenorrhea

Lonnie Zeltzer, MD - UCLA
Andrea Rapkin, MD - UCLA
Bruce Naliboff, PhD - UCLA

Multidisciplinary Expertise:
Chronic pain, adolescent and women’s health, psychophysiology, neuroendocrinology, psychology

Project Description:
This primary goal of this research is to evaluate differences in central excitatory and inhibitory pain modulation in young women with and without primary dysmenorrhea (PD). The project involves comparing adolescent and young adult girls (ages 16-21) with and without PD during each of 3 phases of the menstrual cycle (menstruation, ovulatory, luteal) across a variety of standardized experimental pain testing paradigms designed to evaluate pain sensitivity and central excitatory and inhibitory mechanisms. In addition, differences in autonomic nervous system (ANS) and hypothalamic-pituitary axis (HPA) responses, as well as how psychological factors (depression, anxiety, and emotion regulation) influence pain, will be explored. This study is the first of its kind to explore pain responses in PD across the developmental spectrum, which has the potential to identify individuals at risk for the development of future chronic pain problems and inform new interventions and prevention strategies.