Prevalence of menstrual problems and their association with psychological stress in young female students studying health sciences

Nazish Rafique, Mona H. Al-Sheikh


Objectives: To identify the prevalence of various menstrual problems in young females studying health sciences and to identify their association with academic stress. 

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study, conducted in the health colleges of Immam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia between February 2015 and February 2016. Seven hundred and thirty-eight female students aged 18-25 years anonymously completed menstrual problem identification and perceived stress scale questionnaire. The data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 16.0. 


Results: Ninety-one percent of the students were suffering from some kind of menstrual problem. The different menstrual problems reported, and their incidences included irregular menstruation (27%), abnormal vaginal bleeding (9.3%), amenorrhea (9.2%),  menorrhagia (3.4%), dysmenorrhea (89.7%), and premenstrual symptoms (46.7%). High perceived stress (HPS) was identified in 39% of the students. A significant positive correlation was found between HPS and menstrual problems. Students with HPS had 4 times, 2 times, and 2.8 times increased odds ratio for experiencing amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, and premenstrual syndrome (p less than 0.05). 


Conclusion: The most prevalent menstrual problems (dysmenorrhea and premenstrual symptoms) in the target population were strongly associated with stress. Therefore, it is recommended that health science students should be provided with early psychological and gynecological counselling to prevent future complications.


Saudi Med J 2018; Vol. 39 (1): 67-73
doi: 10.15537/smj.2018.1.21438


How to cite this article:
Rafique N, Al-Sheikh MH. Prevalence of menstrual problems and their association with psychological stress in young female students studying health sciences. Saudi Med J. 2018 Jan;39(1):67-73. doi: 10.15537/smj.2018.1.21438.


Menstrual problems; psychological stress; health sciences, High perceived stress(HPS), Perceived stress score (PSS).

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