Functional bowel disorders in women with dysmenorrhea

M. D. Crowell, N. H. Dubin, J. C. Robinson, L. J. Cheskin, M. M. Schuster, B. R. Heller, W. E. Whitehead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Objectives: The relationship between menstrual and bowel symptoms, the overlap between the diagnoses of dysmenorrhea (DYS) and functional bowel disorder (FBD), and markers that may be useful in discriminating functional bowel disorders from DYS were studied in 383 women (20-40 yr of age). Methods: All women completed the NEO Personality Inventory at intake and completed the Moos' Menstrual Distress Questionnaire and a bowel symptom inventory every 3 months for 12 months. Prostaglandin levels were measured in vaginal dialysate on the first day of menses. Results: DYS was diagnosed in 19.8% of the total sample. Functional bowel disorder, defined as abdominal pain with altered bowel function, was diagnosed in 61% of the DYS group compared with 20% of controls (p < 0.05). Neuroticism scores were significantly higher in subjects with functional bowel disorder with or without DYS. However, bowel symptoms were significantly correlated with menstrual symptoms even after statistically controlling for the effects of neuroticism. Painful menses and water retention distinguished the DYS group from the functional bowel disorder group. Prostaglandin levels were elevated in women with DYS, but did not consistently differentiate the diagnostic groups. Conclusions: The strong covariation of menstrual and bowel symptoms, along with the overlap in diagnoses of DYS and function bowel disorder, suggest a common physiological basis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1973-1977
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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