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Cross-Sectional Studies, Female, Humans, Prevalence, Risk Factors, Dysmenorrhea drug therapy, Dysmenorrhea epidemiology, and Quality of Life
Background: Primary dysmenorrhea (PD) is one of the most common gynecological conditions among young females, which has a significant negative impact on health-related quality of life and productivity. Despite its high prevalence, the evidence is limited regarding the management-seeking practices and its perceived effectiveness among females with PD.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional study conducted among 550 female students in six universities across Lebanon. The prevalence of PD, associated risk factors, and management-seeking practices were assessed using a self-administered questionnaire.
Results: The prevalence of PD was 80.9%. Most of the females with PD described their menstrual pain as moderate (56%) to severe (34.6%), which significantly affected their daily activities and studying ability (P < 0.001). The major risk factors associated with PD included heavy menstrual flow (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 10.28), family history of PD (AOR = 2.52), history of weight loss attempt (AOR = 2.05), and medical specialization (AOR = 1.663). Only 36.9% of females with PD sought formal medical advice. Most dysmenorrheic females (76.4%) received medications for the management of PD, and remarkably none of them took hormonal contraceptives. Drugs commonly used for PD were mefenamic acid (26.2%), ibuprofen (25%), and paracetamol (11.5%), which were administered when the pain started (58.2%). All medications were significantly effective in reducing the pain score (P = 0.001), and most NSAIDs were more potent than paracetamol in managing PD (P = 0.001). However, no significant difference in adverse effects among medications was revealed. Moreover, no superiority of any individual NSAID for pain relief was established. Nevertheless, mefenamic acid was associated with the lowest risk of abdominal pain (OR: 0.03, P = 0.005) and the highest risk of flank pain (OR = 12, P = 0.02).
Conclusions: Suboptimal management of PD is practiced among university students in Lebanon. Therefore, health care providers should educate dysmenorrheic females to optimize the self-management support of PD. Furthermore, future research is required to investigate females' misconceptions about hormonal contraceptives in the management of PD, aiming to raise awareness and correct misconceptions.
(© 2021. The Author(s).)
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