Dysmenorrhea, absenteeism from school, and symptoms suspicious for endometriosis in adolescents

J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2014 Oct;27(5):258-65. doi: 10.1016/j.jpag.2013.11.008. Epub 2014 Apr 18.


Study objective: To quantify in adolescents the prevalence of dysmenorrhea and other symptoms found to be suggestive of future diagnosis of endometriosis, in particular their impact on monthly absenteeism from school/work, activity impairment, and sexual life and to quantify the awareness of endometriosis in adolescents.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Academic institution.

Patients: Adolescents (n = 250) aged 14-20 years referring to 3 family Counseling services.

Interventions: Participants completed an anonymous questionnaire.

Main outcome measures: Prevalence of dysmenorrhea and absenteeism from school/work during menses. Other outcomes were impairment of daily activities, dyspareunia, and awareness of endometriosis as a pathologic condition.

Results: 68% (170/250) of the participants complain of dysmenorrhea, 12% (30/250) lose days of school/work monthly because of dysmenorrhea, 13% (33/250) complain of intermenstrual pain which limits daily activities, 27% (56/208) of the adolescents who are sexually active complain of dyspareunia, 82% (203/250) have never heard about endometriosis and 80% (200/250) would like to know more about it. A significant association was found between severe dysmenorrhea, absenteeism from school/work, and basic level of education. Absence from school/work during menses showed an adjusted odds ratio for severe dysmenorrhea about 28 times greater than those who did not declare absenteeism (95%CI 7.898-98.920, P<.000).

Conclusions: The rates of dysmenorrhea and school absenteeism caused by dysmenorrhea are high. According to recent studies these patients are at higher risk of further development of endometriosis, whereas the knowledge of the disease is low among the adolescents investigated, so those involved with adolescents both in the health profession and particularly in schools and Family Counseling Services should be educated about endometriosis and its symptoms to reduce the significant lag time between symptoms and diagnosis.

Keywords: Adolescents; Dysmenorrhea; Endometriosis; Endometriosis diagnosis; Pain adolescents.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism*
  • Adolescent
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dysmenorrhea / epidemiology*
  • Dyspareunia / epidemiology
  • Endometriosis / complications*
  • Endometriosis / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult