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      Experience of dysmenorrhea among a group of physical therapy students from Cairo University: an exploratory study

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          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.

          Aim of the study

          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.

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          Most cited references 40

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          Primary dysmenorrhea: advances in pathogenesis and management.

          Primary dysmenorrhea is painful menstrual cramps without any evident pathology to account for them, and it occurs in up to 50% of menstruating females and causes significant disruption in quality of life and absenteeism. Current understanding implicates an excessive or imbalanced amount of prostanoids and possibly eicosanoids released from the endometrium during menstruation. The uterus is induced to contract frequently and dysrhythmically, with increased basal tone and increased active pressure. Uterine hypercontractility, reduced uterine blood flow, and increased peripheral nerve hypersensitivity induce pain. Diagnosis rests on a good history with negative pelvic evaluation findings. Evidence-based data support the efficacy of cyclooxygenase inhibitors, such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and ketoprofen, and estrogen-progestin oral contraceptive pills (OCPs). Cyclooxygenase inhibitors reduce the amount of menstrual prostanoids released, with concomitant reduction in uterine hypercontractility, while OCPs inhibit endometrial development and decrease menstrual prostanoids. An algorithm is provided for a simple approach to the management of primary dysmenorrhea.
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            Prevalence and impact of dysmenorrhea on Hispanic female adolescents.

            Dysmenorrhea is the leading cause of short-term school absenteeism. It is associated with a negative impact on social, academic, and sports activities of many female adolescents. Dysmenorrhea has not previously been described among Hispanic adolescents, the fastest growing minority group in the United States. To determine the prevalence of dysmenorrhea among Hispanic female adolescents; its impact on academic performance, school attendance, and sports and social activities; and its management. A total of 706 Hispanic female adolescents, in grades 9 through 12, completed a 31-item questionnaire about the presence, duration, severity, treatment, and limitations of dysmenorrhea at a local urban high school. Among participants who had had a period in the previous 3 months, 85% reported dysmenorrhea. Of these, 38% reported missing school due to dysmenorrhea during the 3 months prior to the survey and 33% reported missing individual classes. Activities affected by dysmenorrhea included class concentration (59%), sports (51%), class participation (50%), socialization (46%), homework (35%), test-taking skills (36%), and grades (29%). Treatments taken for dysmenorrhea included rest (58%), medications (52%), heating pad (26%), tea (20%), exercise (15%), and herbs (7%). Fourteen percent consulted a physician and 49% saw a school nurse for help with their symptoms. Menstrual pain was significantly associated with school absenteeism and decreased academic performance, sports participation, and socialization with peers (P<.01). Dysmenorrhea is highly prevalent among Hispanic adolescents and is related to school absenteeism and limitations on social, academic, and sports activities. Given that most adolescents do not seek medical advice for dysmenorrhea, health care providers should screen routinely for dysmenorrhea and offer treatment. As dysmenorrhea reportedly affects school performance and attendance, school administrators may have a vested interest in providing health education on this topic to their students. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2000;154:1226-1229.
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              Primary dysmenorrhea in young Western Australian women: prevalence, impact, and knowledge of treatment.

              To explore the prevalence of dysmenorrhea among senior high school girls in Perth, Western Australia, its impact on school, sporting, and social activities, students' management strategies, and their knowledge of available treatment. A total of 388 female students in Grades 11 and 12 at three metropolitan secondary schools completed an anonymous questionnaire administered during class time. The following definition of dysmenorrhoea was used: any type of pain or discomfort associated with menstrual periods including cramps, nausea, and headaches. The reported prevalence of dysmenorrhea among these girls was 80%; 53% of those girls with dysmenorrhea reported that it limited their activities. In particular, 37% said that dysmenorrhea affected their school activities. The most common medication used by those reporting dysmenorrhea was simple analgesics (53%), followed by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), used by 42%. More than a quarter of respondents (27%) were unaware that NSAIDs were a possible treatment option for dysmenorrhea. The prevalence and impact of dysmenorrhea on Grade 11 and 12 girls is high, and they lack knowledge of and experience with effective treatment. Health education measures are needed in this area to prevent unnecessary suffering and interruption to school routine.

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                Journal of Pain Research
                Dove Medical Press
                09 May 2017
                : 10
                : 1079-1085
                [1 ]Department of Physical Therapy for Obstetrics & Gynecology, Faculty of Physical Therapy, Cairo University, Giza, Egypt
                [2 ]Physiotherapy Department, College of Medical and Health Sciences, Ahlia University, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain
                [3 ]Department of Physiotherapy, Centre of Radiation, Oncology and Nuclear Medicine, Cairo University, Giza, Egypt
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Dalia M Kamel, Department of Physical Therapy for Obstetrics & Gynecology, Faculty of Physical Therapy, Cairo University, P.O. Box 12612, Giza, Egypt, Tel +202 3748 2979, Fax +202 3761 7692, Email dr_daliakamel@ 123456yahoo.com
                © 2017 Kamel et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                Anesthesiology & Pain management

                menstrual cycle, physical impact, treatment, prevalence, dysmenorrhea


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