Menstrual pain self-medication relates to poor mental health outcomes from Al-Zaatri refugees’ camp

Omar Gammoh, Hannah Durand, Abdelrahim Alqudah, Esam Qnais, Yaroup Ajlouni, Shatha Bani Sakher, Nawaf Mohammad, Mervat Alsous, Alaa A. A. Aljabali, Ammena Y. Binsaleh, Sireen A. R. Shilbayeh


Dysmenorrhea, the most common gynecological pain syndrome reported in women, is understudied in refugee communities. In addition, the association between dysmenorrhea self-medication and mental health symptoms in this population is poorly understood. We aimed to examine whether the use of dysmenorrhea analgesic self-medications and other clinical factors are associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety and insomnia severity in female war refugees residing in Zaatari Camp. This study followed a cross-sectional design and was performed on a cohort of women with predefined inclusion criteria. The severity of PTSD, depression, anxiety and insomnia were assessed using Davidson Trauma Scale, the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, the General Anxiety Disorder-7, and the Arabic version of the Insomnia Severity Index, respectively. Data were analysed from 386 participants. Using OTC paracetamol was significantly associated with higher PTSD severity (B=4.16, t= 2.43, p=0.01), and severe depression (OR=1.88, 95% CI= 1.07-3.28, p=0.03), while OTC non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) was significantly associated with severe insomnia (OR=1.62, 95% CI= 1.05-2.49, p= 0.02). In conclusion, selfmedication with analgesics was correlated with poor mental health; close medical and psychiatric follow-up are required to supervise pain self-medication and implement non-pharmacological strategies to manage dysmenorrhea in this fragile community.

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