The menstrual characteristics of undergraduate students in a Ghanaian public university
Introduction: Menstrual disorders are common among females of reproductive age and are a major cause of gynaecological referrals. They result from various individual, family, socioeconomic and environmental factors. It is important to understand these variations in the menstrual cycle to help premenopausal women cope better with them and proffer treatment where necessary. However, in Ghana, there exist a paucity of literature on disturbance in the menstrual cycle, especially among University students.
Objectives: This study is an attempt to add to the body of knowledge on menstrual issues females experience.
Methodology: The study was a descriptive cross-sectional study involving two hundred female undergraduate students of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Ghana. Data was analysed using standardized and acceptable statistical tools.
Results: Our results show that most of the females were in their early twenties (92.6%), with the average age of menarche being 12.7 + 0.12 years. Most respondents (49.2%) attained menarche at ages 12 and 13. Furthermore, some females had irregular cycles (17.7%) and the most common symptoms experienced by these cohorts were menstrual pain, mood changes and tiredness, accounting for 74%, 52.5% and 33% respectively.
Conclusion: Our study has shown that Ghanaian undergraduate students are not left out of the disturbances in the menstrual cycle and can indeed be a source of worry and concern to them and their families. Primary healthcare physicians and Specialists should be aware of this so as to give appropriate therapy and care in order to improve their quality of life.
Keywords: Ghana, Menstrual cycle, Menstrual Disturbances, Menarche