top of page

Primary Dysmenorrhea's Effect on Academics

Updated: May 30, 2022

Period pain has a negative impact on academic performance, researchers say.

It was my senior year of high-school and it was time to take the ACT. Similar to the SAT, this was an important test that colleges would be looking at when I graduated. In the middle of the test I asked to be excused to go to the restroom. My period started and the vomiting began.

I was unable to finish my ACT, and as you can imagine I received a low score. Trying to take a test that requires a great deal of mental energy when you are in severe pain is very difficult and sometimes impossible, so I know first hand that dysmenorrhea can have a negative effect on academics.

Researchers agree. A study published in 2020 showed that primary dysmenorrhea negatively affected the academic performance of female medical students in Saudi Arabia.

Students were sent a questionnaire via email where they were asked various questions relating to dysmenorrhea and its effect on them. Some of these questions include but are not limited to:

  • Medical and medication history

  • If the student has dysmenorrhea or not

  • Severity of the pain

  • Psychological disorders

  • Use of caffeine

  • Questions related to academics

Students who reported using birth control or having secondary dysmenorrhea were not included in the survey.

Most participants had regular menstruation (menstruating for three to seven days) and moderate heaviness (using three to five pads a day). 61% of participants reported a family history of primary dysmenorrhea. Half of the students in this study reported moderate pain, while 27% of participants reported severe pain, and a slightly smaller percentage (23%) reported mild pain.

Many students who had primary dysmenorrhea reported having to miss class more. They also experienced a decrease in study time, participation, and concentration. Participants' academic performance was negatively affected by the state of their physical and emotional health, pain, and health changes.

Researchers looked at health factors such as body max index (BMI), stress level, smoking, consumption of fruits and vegetables, exercise, and sleep, but did not find a significant association between the two in this study.

Consuming caffeine however, was statistically significant. More female medical students with dysmenorrhea consumed caffeine than those who did not.

In both high-school and college, I experienced times when I would simply not come to school or (or go to class) if I knew my period was coming. Simple actions such as getting out of bed, or walking to the bathroom were difficult for me. Many times during my period I have tried to be productive for the first hour or so of menstruation. Once the cramping intensified though, there was nothing more that I could do.

Dysmenorrhea is a painful condition that can have a negative impact on a student's school life. Teachers and school nurses should be informed of dysmenorrhea, as students who have it may struggle to concentrate in class, miss school days, or need to go home early.

If you suffer from primary dysmenorrhea and it has been affecting your academics, do not feel embarrassed or ashamed. Reach out to someone you trust that can help you. Understand that what you are going through is very difficult. You are not lazy. You are experiencing real pain.

For natural remedies for period pain, check out this blog.

Disclaimer: Amber’s Care should not replace medical advice. If you have questions about the following statements, please consult a doctor.

13 views0 comments

Related Posts

See All
bottom of page