Primary Dysmenorrhea and Menstrual Symptoms in Indian Female Students: Prevalence, Impact and Management

  •  Shabnam Omidvar    
  •  Fatemeh Bakouei    
  •  Fatemeh Amiri    
  •  Khyrunnisa Begum    


BACKGROUND: Dysmenorrhea is the most common gynecological problem among females and it is defined as cramping pain in the lower abdomen occurring just before or during menstruation. Menstrual symptoms are a broad collection of affective and somatic concerns that occur around the time of menses. The effect and importance of dysmenorrhea is very wide, therefore managing the problem is important.

OBJECTIVE: To ascertain the prevalence, and impact of primary dysmenorrhea in student girls and their management behaviors.

METHODS & MATERIALS: A Cross-sectional study was conducted on 1000 healthy females aged 11-28 years. Standardized Self-reporting questionnaires were used to obtain relevant data. Pain intensity was assessed by using the Numerical Pain Scale (NPS). Data was analyzed by SPSS version 16.

RESULTS: Prevalence of dysmenorrhea was 70.2%. Majority of the subjects experienced pain for one or 1-2 days during menstruation. 23.2% of the dysmenorrheic girls experienced pain for 2-3 days. The most common symptom in both dysmenorrheic and non dysmenorrheic girls during the menstrual periods was tiredness and second most prevalent symptom was back pain.

Females experiencing mild pain on an average absented for one and half day a month while 2.1±1.2 and 2.5±1.3 days for those who experienced moderate and severe forms of dysmenorrhea respectively. A small proportion of girls sought pharmacological management (25.5%) and 83.2% depended on non-pharmacological methods. Only 14.2% had sought medical advice.

CONCLUSION: Sub optimal use of the medical advice and the barriers to seek medical attention by dysmenorrheic females need exploration. It is important that health education on puberty and menstruation is regarded as inadequate for many girls in India.

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