BACKGROUND: Dysmenorrhea is one of the most common gynecologic complaints in young women. It is a health burden for most women and key public health problem in the world. Dysmenorrhea affects the quality of life and daily activities of females in school. Despite the presence of different studies that assess its prevalence and associated factors among women in Ethiopia, there is sparse information in relation to medical students which is addressed in this study. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of dysmenorrhea and its associated factors among medical students of St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
METHOD: An institutional-based analytical cross-sectional study was conducted among female medical students of St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College. A sample of 156 female medical students was included in the survey using simple random sampling technique and female students who were available during the data collection period were eligible to the study. Five trained data collectors collected the data using the English version structured questionnaire that was pretested before the actual data collection. The data collected was entered using Epi info 7.0 and analyzed by SPSS version 23 statistical software. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to assess the association between selected explanatory variables and the dichotomous outcome variable. Adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were reported and a P<0.05 was taken as statistically significant.
RESULTS: Among the study participants 124(79.5%) had dysmenorrhea. About one third (33.3%) of the participants reported that they have a family history of dysmenorrhea and 39.7% study participants experienced moderate type of pain. Back pain (64.1%), weakness (41%) and loss of appetite (32.7%) are amongst the commonest symptoms with dysmenorrhea. More than half of the participants reported to be irritable (54.6%) and have decreased academic performance (50.6%). Students also reported lack of concentration (42.9%) and poor appetite (41.7%). More than half of the respondents (58.3%) used home remedies as a primary management option. Heat (41%) and tea (41.7%) were the most used home remedies. More than half of the respondents (55.8%) reported to use over the counter drugs such as Ibuprofen and diclofenac. Longer duration of menstruation (AOR 95 % (CI) = 0.308 (0.100, 0.943), p=0.039) and longer menstrual cycle (AOR 95% (CI) =0.247 (0.051, 1.197), p=0.042) had statistically significant association with the occurrence of dysmenorrhea.
CONCLUSION: A high proportion of female medical students experience dysmenorrhea. Decrease academic performance was the most common burden reported. The majority of respondents used home remedies and over the counter medications for treatment.
KEY WORDS: Dysmenorrhea, Medical Students, SPCMMC, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia