Back to Journals » International Journal of Women's Health » Volume 8

Primary dysmenorrhea magnitude, associated risk factors, and its effect on academic performance: evidence from female university students in Ethiopia

Authors Hailemeskel S, Demissie A, Assefa N

Received 14 May 2016

Accepted for publication 7 August 2016

Published 19 September 2016 Volume 2016:8 Pages 489—496


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Elie Al-Chaer

Solomon Hailemeskel,1 Asrate Demissie,2 Nigussie Assefa3

1Department of Midwifery, College of Health Science, Institute of Medicine and Health Science, Debre Berhan University, Debre Berhan, Ethiopia; 2Department of Nursing and Midwifery, School of Allied Health Science, College of Health Sciences, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; 3Department of Reproductive Health and Health Service Management, School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Primary dysmenorrhea (PD) is the most common gynecologic compliant among adolescent females. There is a wide variation in the estimate of PD, which ranges from 50% to 90%, and the disorder is the most common cause of work and school absenteeism in adolescent females.
Objective: To assess the prevalence and associated risk factors of PD among female university students and understand its effects on students’ academic performance.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was employed in 440 research participants. A multistage stratified sampling technique was employed to select the study units. Structured and pretested self-administered questionnaires were used and weight and height measurements were conducted. The severity of dysmenorrheal pain was assessed by using a verbal multidimensional scoring system and visual analog scale. The data were double entered in Epi Info version 3.1 and analyzed using SPSS version 17. Descriptive statistics, chi-square test, and logistic regression analysis were performed.
Results: A total of 440 students participated in this study. The prevalence of PD was 368 (85.4%). Of these, 123 (28.5%) had mild, 164 (38.1%) moderate, and 81 (18.8%) severe primary dysmenorrheal pain. Among students with PD, 88.3% reported that PD had a negative effect on their academic performance. Of these, 80% reported school absence, 66.8% reported loss of class concentration, 56.3% reported class absence, 47.4% reported loss of class participation, 37.8% reported limited sport participation, 31.7% reported limitation in going out with friends, and 21% reported inability to do homework. Based on the multivariate logistic regression, PD was statistically significant with those who had lower monthly stipends, a history of attempt to lose weight, a history of depression or anxiety, disruption of social network of family, friends or people they love, who consumed more than four glasses of tea per day, who drunk one or more Coca-Cola or Pepsi per day, in nullipara, and students with a family history of dysmenorrhea.
Conclusion: PD is more prevalent among female students attending university. It has a significant negative impact on students’ academic performance. Thus, it needs medical attention. There are various identified associated risk factors and considering them in the management of the disorder is fundamental. It is also wise to recommend future studies to better identify risk factors for PD and lighten its effect on students’ academic performance at a larger scale in the country.

Keywords: academic performance, risk factors, dysmenorrhea, Ethiopia, adolescents, young, higher institution

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. 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. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]