Non-pharmacologic strategies used by adolescents for the management of menstrual discomfort

Clin J Pain. 1999 Dec;15(4):313-20. doi: 10.1097/00002508-199912000-00008.


Background: This study was a retrospective examination of adolescents' use of non-pharmacologic methods to manage menstrual discomfort.

Methods: A convenience sample of 289 female adolescents (mean age = 16.28 years, SD = 1.00) recruited from a public high school completed a questionnaire designed for this study.

Results: Ninety-eight percent of these adolescents reported using at least one non-pharmacologic method (e.g., heat, distraction) to manage menstrual discomfort. The mean perceived effectiveness of most of these methods was reported by adolescents to be below 40% (range = 3-74%).

Conclusion: It is possible that some methods are used because they have a physiologic impact on pain (e.g. heat), whereas others (e.g., distraction) provide a sense of comfort and control. Further research is necessary to examine the determinants of why and when certain management strategies are used by adolescents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Attention
  • Dysmenorrhea / epidemiology
  • Dysmenorrhea / physiopathology
  • Dysmenorrhea / psychology
  • Dysmenorrhea / therapy*
  • Female
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Palliative Care / methods*
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires