Sun | Oct 2, 2022

Menstrual pain causing many to miss school, work – study

Published:Friday | August 13, 2021 | 12:11 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer

Ninety-two per cent of females have missed school or work for three days due to severe pain associated with menstruation, in the absence of a pelvic disease, a recent study has revealed.

Dysmenorrhea, as the condition is known, is one of the most common gynaecological conditions that affects women of reproductive age.

The remaining eight per cent of females were either absent for one day or two.

The study was conducted among 80 females, ages 18 to 35, who reside in Catherine Hall, St James, by final-year midwifery students at The University of Technology, Jamaica.

Sasheena Griffiths-Bandoo presented the findings during the school’s fifth biennial nursing and midwifery research conference yesterday.

The two-day virtual conference is being held under the theme ‘Achieving Health and Well-being Through Nursing and Midwifery Research’.

The student researcher said the prevalence of primary dysmenorrhea is “highly underestimated” and difficult to determine as only a few affected women seek medical treatment.

“Despite the high prevalence of primary dysmenorrhea among females worldwide, it is often poorly treated and even disregarded by health professionals, researchers, and women themselves,” Griffiths-Bandoo asserted.

Globally, 15 to 94 per cent of adolescent girls are affected.

A small percentage, 15 per cent, of the participants had no knowledge of primary dysmenorrhea.

The study found that it disrupted the daily lives of women in different ways.

More than half of the respondents shared that menstrual pain affected their ability to perform chores around the home.

Three out of every 10 women indicated that it affected work, while nine per cent said it affected class participation and attendance.

Another five per cent of females said it made participation in sports activities challenging.

Just over half of the participants have sought no help, while 24 per cent and 14 per cent of women visited healthcare providers or spoke with family, respectively.

The remaining women approached their friends or relied on mass media.

“It can be argued that the 51.25 per cent of females who did not seek help either suffered in silence or were too embarrassed to seek help, a position that could affect the quality of their life in a negative way,” said Griffiths-Bandoo.

As a means of self-management, a third of the women self-medicate to ease the severe pain, and others use herbs or a heating pad.

Only nine per cent of females took medication prescribed by a doctor.

The researchers concluded that measures need to be put in place to educate more young women about primary dysmenorrhea so that they can be better prepared to deal with the symptoms and to have better self-management strategies.

Further, they suggested that a study be conducted on a larger scale to determine the magnitude of the situation across Jamaica.

judana.murphy@gleanerjm.com