Dysmenorrhea is a condition describing the painful cramps that women feel before or during the menstrual period. While dysmenorrhea is the most common gynecologic complaint affecting adolescent and young women and there has been significant progress in understanding its pathophysiology and managing the symptoms, many young women do not seek medical consultation and remain untreated.
The aim of the study was to explore the prevalence of dysmenorrhea, its physical impact, and associated coping behaviors among university students.
A total of 269 female college students volunteered to participate in the study. Data regarding the students’ experience with dysmenorrhea were collected via self-reported questionnaire developed based on relevant literature. Pain was scored on visual analog scale (VAS).
Most respondents (84.01%) reported feeling pain in the abdomen and back (VAS score, 5.00). Mood swings (84.8%) and dizziness (48.2%) were, respectively, the most common affective and somatic symptoms related to menstruation. There was a significant difference in the amount of menstrual flow ( p=0.004) and incidence of dysmenorrhea ( p=0.03) according to menstrual regularity. Most students (91.2%) did not seek medical consultation for dysmenorrhea, and 62.4% used analgesics. However, no significant correlation ( p=0.25) was found between analgesic intake and pain relief. While most students (90.7%) did not miss exams, 48.7% reported poor satisfaction with their academic performance because of dysmenorrhea.
Dysmenorrhea is highly prevalent among college students, with many physical impacts and associated activity limitations. Collaborative efforts from health care providers, program coordinators, and parents should focus on increasing awareness and improving management strategies to treat dysmenorrhea.