Dysmenorrhea (pain during menstruation) is one of the most common medical conditions among women of reproductive age. Dysmenorrhea has been studied around the world but not yet in Greece. The aim of the present study was to investigate the prevalence, characteristics, and impact of dysmenorrhea on the wellbeing (exercising, and social and academic functioning) among nursing students in Greece. A cross-sectional study of 637 nursing students was conducted by administering a questionnaire at a university in Athens. The prevalence of dysmenorrhea was 89.2% and the rate of severe intensity was 52.5%. Factors that were associated with severe dysmenorrhea were family history (p = 0.02), early menarche (p = 0.05) and menstruation duration (p = 0.05). Women with moderate and severe pain reported using pain relievers (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), paracetamol etc., p < 0.0005). Finally, activities affected by severe pain were class attendance (p = 0.01), personal studying (p < 0.0005), exercising (p < 0.0005), and socializing (p < 0.0005). Exam attendance (p = 0.27) and clinical placement attendance (p = 0.48) were not affected by severe dysmenorrhea. Dysmenorrhea has a high prevalence among nursing students and seems to affect important aspects of wellbeing and academic performance when the pain intensity is severe. The present findings lay the foundation for further investigation of dysmenorrhea both in the Greek population and cross-culturally.
Keywords: Greece; associated factors; dysmenorrhea; menstruation; nursing students; pain intensity; prevalence; wellbeing.