The prevalence of menstrual pain and associated risk factors among Iranian women

J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2011 May;37(5):442-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1447-0756.2010.01362.x. Epub 2011 Jan 5.


Aim: To estimate the prevalence of dysmenorrhea in Iranian women and investigate associated risk factors.

Material & methods: In a cross-sectional study in Tehran, Iran in 2007, 381 women (81% response rate, age 16-56 years) were selected through a stratified random sample of 22 different districts and completed a questionnaire about dysmenorrhea. Descriptive statistics, spearman rank correlation statistic, and ordinal logistic regression models were used. Confounding and effect-modification were explored for each association.

Results: The prevalence of no, mild, moderate, and severe menstrual pain was 10%, 41%, 28%, and 22%, respectively. Older age and high intake of fruits and vegetables were protective factors for menstrual pain while women with family history of dysmenorrhea, higher stress and depression tended to have more severe pain. Body mass index, parity, smoking, and physical activity were not significantly associated with dysmenorrhea after controlling for potential confounding factors and effect modifiers.

Conclusion: Menstrual pain is a common complaint in Iranian women. The inverse association between fruit and vegetable intake and dysmenorrhea, and reduction of stress and depression need to be further explored and considered in terms of recommendation to reduce dysmenorrhea.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dysmenorrhea / epidemiology*
  • Dysmenorrhea / ethnology
  • Dysmenorrhea / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iran / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires