Selection and efficacy of self-management strategies for dysmenorrhea in young Taiwanese women

J Clin Nurs. 2011 Apr;20(7-8):1018-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2010.03363.x. Epub 2011 Feb 9.


Aims: This study investigates the selection and efficacy of various strategies employed by young Taiwanese women in the self-management of dysmenorrhea.

Background: Dysmenorrhea is the common gynaecological problem in reproductive-aged women. In the past, non-specific treatments such as heat and exercise were found to be less effective. Current therapies for dysmenorrhea include prostaglandin synthetase inhibitors and herbal remedies.

Design: Descriptive survey.

Method: The researcher-designed questionnaire listed common strategies used in Taiwan to self-manage dysmenorrhea. Content validity was applied for the determination of content items in measures. The total reliability of menstrual distress questionnaire was 0·95, menstrual symptoms questionnaire was 0·92 and coping strategies questionnaire was 0·94. The participants were asked to indicate if they used any of the methods over the past 12 months and, if so, if they were effective. Chi-square test comparisons were used to analyse the data collected.

Results: Of the 616 individuals who completed the questionnaire, 570 reported experiencing dysmenorrhea at least once in the past year. Of these, 180 reported dysmenorrhea at every period and were categorised as Group I. The remaining 390 women were classified as Group II. Women in Group I used all of the listed strategies more frequently; however, they benefited less from all therapies except paracetamol. The most effective strategies in both groups were found to be paracetamol and Dang-Qui-Shao-Ya-San.

Conclusions: Paracetamol and Dang-Qui-Shao-Ya-San are the most effective strategies in relieving dysmenorrhea in young Taiwanese women, while other less effective strategies are used more frequently.

Relevance to clinical practice: Identification of the most effective therapies for dysmenorrhea among commonly used strategies will help women choose the right therapy for them. As some young, inexperienced women might take two or more medications simultaneously because of ineffectiveness, thus increasing the risk of adverse effects, this study is of critical importance in promoting the safe use of medication for self-management of dysmenorrhea.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dysmenorrhea / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Self Care*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taiwan