Prevalence of dysmenorrhoea, associated risk factors and its relationship with academic performance among graduating female university students in Ethiopia: a cross-sectional study

BMJ Open. 2021 Mar 19;11(3):e043814. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-043814.


Objectives: The study aimed to provide an association between dysmenorrhoea and academic performance among university students in Ethiopia. Further, the study attempts to determine the prevalence and associated risk factors of dysmenorrhoea.

Design and method: Institution-based cross-sectional study was conducted from 1 April to 28 April 2019. A semistructured and pretested self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data. Binary logistic regression analysis and one-way analysis of variance were performed to model dysmenorrhoea and academic performance, respectively.

Setting and participants: Ethiopia (2019: n=647 female university students).

Outcomes: The primary outcome is dysmenorrhoea, which has been defined as painful menses that prevents normal activity and requires medication. The self-reported cumulative grade point average of students was used as a proxy measure of academic performance, which is the secondary outcome.

Results: The prevalence of dysmenorrhoea was 317 (51.5%). The educational status of father (adjusted OR (AOR) (95% CI) 2.64 (1.04 to 6.66)), chocolate consumption (AOR (95% CI) 3.39 (95% 1.28 to 8.93)), daily breakfast intake (<5 days/week) (AOR (95% CI) 0.63 (0.42 to 0.95)), irregular menstrual cycle AOR (95% CI) 2.34 (1.55 to 3.54)) and positive family history of dysmenorrhoea AOR (95% CI) 3.29 (2.25 to 4.81)) had statistically significant association with dysmenorrhoea. There was no statistically significant difference in academic performance among students with and without dysmenorrhoea (F (3611)=1.276, p=0.28)).

Conclusions: Dysmenorrhoea was a common health problem among graduating University students. However, it has no statistically significant impact on academic performance. Reproductive health officers should educate and undermine the negative academic consequences of dysmenorrhoea to reduce the physical and psychological stress that happens to females and their families.

Keywords: genitourinary medicine; medical education & training; reproductive medicine; sexual medicine.