Correlation between primary dysmenorrhea characteristics, age at menarche, anthropometric variables, gynecological history, management attitudes, and quality of life among undergraduates in Nigeria

  • Gabriel G. Akunna
  • Olaleye Olabiyi
  • Oreoluwa Adenike
  • Linus Anderson Enye
  • Segun Ajeleti
Keywords: Anthropometric variables; dysmenorrhea; hip circumference; menarche; self‑medication; undergraduates.


Context: Menstruation is a natural event that occurs throughout the reproductive years of every woman. Most women during their menstrual period experience pain and discomfort called dysmenorrhea which is the most common gynecological complaint in young women and may result in absences from school, work, and social engagement.
Aims: To study the relationship between BMI, hip circumference, menarcheal age, and management on the severity of dysmenorrhea among undergraduates.
Methods and Materials: A self‑administered structured questionnaire having four (4) sections including information on the sociodemographic data, data related to menstrual characteristics, information related to menstrual symptoms, and information on management attitudes of these students were used for data collection.
Statistical Analysis Used: A non‑probability convenient method was used to select 400 participants. A self‑administered structured questionnaire was used for data collection and data were analyzed with SPSS software version 23.0.
Results: The prevalence of dysmenorrhea was 87.1%, with most commonly felt symptoms being tiredness (72.5%) and mood swings (67.8%). Symptoms lead to decreased social activities (55.8%), low confidence (55.5%), and increased absenteeism (49.5%) from lectures. Although dysmenorrhea has no significant relationship with BMI, it was significantly (P < 0.05) higher (197) in participants with smaller hip circumference (0.80–1.00 m) and late (13–14 years) menarche (47.8%). There was a low rate (4.2%) of consultation with the majority (63%) opting for self‑medication as previouslyadvised by a relative (23.4%), self (21.1%), and friends (18.9%).
Conclusions: Smaller hip circumference, late age at menarche, and increased BMI can increase the severity of dysmenorrhea which can further affect the quality of life.

Key words: Anthropometric variables; dysmenorrhea; hip circumference; menarche; self‑medication; undergraduates.


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eISSN: 0189-5117