Menstrual discomfort and its influence on daily academic activities and psychosocial relationship among undergraduate female students in Nigeria
Menstrual disorder is a common health problem among females in their reproductive years. It has psychosocial effects on the sufferer and her interactions with others during such periods. In Nigeria, menstrual disorder has received little research attention especially in the public health agenda. This study combines quantitative and qualitative approaches in investigating the prevalence of dysmenorrhoea and menorrhagia and their psychosocial effects by focusing on the daily activities of female undergraduates at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. A multi-stage sampling technique was employed to select 415 female undergraduates at the University. A snowball sampling technique was used in selecting 37 informants for the in-depth interviews. Results showed a high prevalence of dysmenorrhoea (64%) among respondents within 3 months prior to this study. Dysmenorrhoea was significant among female students who reported dizziness, headache, depression and irritation; and those whose menstrual disorder ever called for medical attention (P<0.05). Similarly, menorrhagia was less frequent (21%) than dysmenorrhoea (64%), but occurred more significantly with dizziness, headache and depression, and those whose menstrual disorderliness ever called for medical attention or even surgical intervention (P<0.05). Menstrual disorder was experienced as an objective and subjective reality among those interviewed. Both dysmenorrhoea and menorrhagia were significant predictors of psychosocial relationship of the female students (P<0.05). Those with dysmenorrhoea reported one and a half times of depression than those without. However, menorrhagia appeared as the principal factor affecting their daily school activities and relationship with colleagues. Menstrual disorders prevalence is high among young undergraduates and appropriate enlightenment and treatment should be made available to young females.
Keywords: menstrual disorder, dysmenorrhoea, menorrhagia, undergraduates, Nigeria