Prevalence of dysmenorrhea among University students in Northern Ghana; its impact and management strategies.BMC Womens Health. 2018 02 13; 18(1):39.BW
The period of menstruation is an eventful one for a significant number of post-pubescent females as they experience lower abdominal pains referred to as dysmenorrhea. This study conducted among female students of the Tamale campus of the University for Development Studies assessed the prevalence of dysmenorrhea, its impact on the students and treatment methods applied.
A cross-sectional study using a self-administered questionnaire was used to obtain data from 293 randomly selected female students. Data was analyzed using Graph Pad 5.01. Association between different variables was tested.
The prevalence rate of dysmenorrhea was 83.6% with more than half describing their pain which lasts less than 3 days as moderate. This dysmenorrhea during menstruation affects the daily activities of up to 61.2% of respondents. Lower chronological age (χ2 = 8.28; df = 2; p = 0.016) and gynecological age (χ2 = 10.09; df = 2; p = 0.006) were the factors that were significantly associated with the presence of dysmenorrhea. Chronological and gynecological ages, age at menarche, menstrual duration or flow level do not influence the severity of dysmenorrhea but irregular menstrual flow is significantly associated with severe dysmenorrhea (χ2 = 10.54; df = 2; p = 0.005). Only 16.3% ever reported their dysmenorrhea to the hospital but increasing pain level is significantly associated with respondents visiting a hospital (χ2 = 65.61; df = 2; p < 0.0001) or use an allopathic medication (χ2 = 32.77; df = 2; p < 0.0001). Paracetamol preparation was the most common medication used notwithstanding the severity of the pain.
There is high prevalence of dysmenorrhea among the female students of the Tamale campus of the University for Development studies which negatively affects the daily activity of majority of them. Although, bed rest was the most common treatment method practised, paracetamol preparation was the most common allopathic drug used in self- management of their dysmenorrhea.