A U-shaped relationship between body mass index and dysmenorrhea: a longitudinal study

Ju, Hong, Jones, Mark and Mishra, Gita D. (2015) A U-shaped relationship between body mass index and dysmenorrhea: a longitudinal study. PLoS One, 10 7: 1-12. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0134187

Author Ju, Hong
Jones, Mark
Mishra, Gita D.
Title A U-shaped relationship between body mass index and dysmenorrhea: a longitudinal study
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2015-07-28
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0134187
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 10
Issue 7
Start page 1
End page 12
Total pages 12
Place of publication San Francisco, CA United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract

Both obesity and dysmenorrhea are prevalent among women. Few population-based longitudinal studies investigate the association between body mass index (BMI) and dysmenorrhea yielding mixed results, especially for obesity. This study aims to investigate the long-term association between BMI and dysmenorrhea.


9,688 women from a prospective population-based cohort study were followed for 13 years. Data were collected through self-reported questionnaires. The longitudinal association between dysmenorrhea and BMI or BMI change was investigated by logistic regression analysis using generalized estimating equations to account for the repeated measures.


When the women were aged 22 to 27 years, approximately 11% were obese, 7% underweight, and 25% reported dysmenorrhea. Compared to women with a normal weight, significantly higher odds of reporting dysmenorrhea were detected for both women who were underweight (odds ratio (OR) 1.34, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.15, 1.57) and obese (OR 1.22, 95% CI 1.11, 1.35). Compared to women who remained at normal weight or overweight over time, significant risk was detected for women who: remained underweight or obese (OR 1.33, 95% CI 1.20, 1.48), were underweight despite weight gain (OR 1.33, 95% CI 1.12, 1.58), became underweight (OR 1.28, 95% CI 1.02, 1.61). However the higher risk among obese women disappeared when they lost weight (OR 1.06, 95% CI 0.85, 1.32).


A U-shaped association was revealed between dysmenorrhea and BMI, revealing a higher risk of dysmenorrhea for both underweight and obese women. Maintaining a healthy weight over time may be important for women to have pain-free periods.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 2 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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