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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1992 Feb;166(2):578-83.

Dysmenorrhea and use of oral contraceptives in adolescent women attending a family planning clinic.

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  • 1School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205.



This study examined the prevalance of dysmenorrhea in female adolescents and the effect of experiencing a reduction in dysmenorrhea on oral contraceptive use.


This was a prospective panel study in which 308 adolescent women at an inner-city family planning clinic were interviewed about their experiences with dysmenorrhea and their oral contraceptive use at three points in time over a 6-month period. A chi 2 test and multiple logistic regression analysis were done.


The overall prevalence of dysmenorrhea in this population was 79.6%; 18.2% reported severe dysmenorrhea. Those who had severe dysmenorrhea and also experienced the reduction of dysmenorrhea as a result of oral contraceptives were eight times more likely to be consistent oral contraceptive users (p less than or equal to 0.02).


It is important to screen female adolescents for dysmenorrhea, provide them with information about the beneficial side effects of oral contraceptives, and follow up these young women to make sure they are experiencing the alleviation of their symptoms.

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