Prevalence of Dysmenorrhea and its Contribution to School Absenteeism Among Nigerian Undergraduate Students


  • IU Ezebialu
  • CC Ezenyeaku
  • JC Umeobika



Dysmenorrhea, Menstrual pain, Menstruation, School absenteeism, Undergraduates


Background: Dysmenorrhea remains one of the common gynaecological conditions among women of reproductive age. With varying severity, it can be associated with morbidities that affect the quality of life. Among students, dysmenorrhea leads to school absenteeism which may ultimately affect school performance.

Objectives: To determine the prevalence of dysmenorrhea among undergraduates as well as the incidence of school absenteeism in women with dysmenorrhea.

Methods: A questionnaire-based cross-sectional study of 583 female university students was done using the multistage sampling method.

Results: Four hundred and twenty-four respondents out of 516 had experienced dysmenorrhea giving a prevalence of 82.2%. On a visual analogue scale, 8.5% reported mild pain, 59.7% moderate and 31.8% severe. Two hundred and thirty-six (55.7%) could not carry out their routine chores because of the pain while 181 (42.7%) had been absent from school because of painful menses. School absenteeism was significantly associated with severe pain.

Conclusion: This study has identified that dysmenorrhea is common among undergraduates. It is also associated with school absenteeism, especially in those that reported severe pain. Therefore, it has the potential to affect the academic performance of the affected students. It is recommended that university managements should provide basic care for dysmenorrheic students to improve their school attendance and ultimate performance.


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Original Research