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Aim: The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of dysmenorrhea, associated risk factors, and how it is managed among adolescent girls in junior high schools of the Upper East region in Ghana.
Study Design: A descriptive cross-sectional study design was adopted.
Place and Duration of Study: The study was carried out in five (5) districts; Bolgatanga, Bongo, Builsa, Talensi and Nabdam in the Upper East region of Ghana, between February to June 2018.
Methodology: Simple random sampling was used to collect data from 400 participants in 14 junior high schools of the five districts using a self-administered questionnaire. Likert Scale (LS) was used to rate the severity of dysmenorrhea. Data were analyzed and p-value < 0.05 considered statistically significant.
Results: The prevalence of dysmenorrhea was 85%. About 77.8% of respondents with dysmenorrhea had their first menstruation between the ages of 9-11 years. Among those who had dysmenorrhea, 46.8% experienced mild menstrual pain while 11.0% experienced severe pain. Factors that were identified as predictors of risk factors for dysmenorrhea were; menarche between the age 9-11years (aOR = 1.92, 95% CI = 1.053-3.495), short (<21 days) menstrual cyclic length (aOR = 1.98, 95% CI = 1.021-3.578) and short (<2 days) menstruation days (aOR = 2.55, 95% CI = 1.385-4.617).
Conclusion: Dysmenorrhea prevalence is high and the risk factors are; girls who had first menstruation between the ages of 9-11 years, those who experience short (<21 days) menstrual cyclic length and short (<2 days) menstrual days. The study recommends that; reproductive health should be included in school health education programs early enough and education extended to parents in order to address the reproductive health needs of females. Further work, however, is encouraged to validate the reliability of these risk factors of dysmenorrhea.