B3854 - Understanding the Role of Adolescent Dysmenorrhoea as a risk factor for the transition to chronic Pain - 24/08/2021

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Katy Vincent | Nuffield Department of Women's and Reproductive Health, University of Oxford (UK)
Prof Krina Zondervan, Dr Kate Stein, Prof Mina Fazel
Title of project: 
Understanding the Role of Adolescent Dysmenorrhoea as a risk factor for the transition to chronic Pain
Proposal summary: 

Woman are more likely to develop chronic pain than men and this sex difference emerges at puberty. Periods also begin during puberty and are painful for many girls. Traditionally period pain has been dismissed as “normal” and something that girls need to learn to live with. However, it remains the leading cause of school and work absenteeism in adolescent girls and young women and it may be a risk factor for the development of chronic pain. Studies in adults with period pain have shown alterations in a variety of body systems relevant to pain. However we do not know if these are a cause or effect of period pain or whether they are seen in adolescents with period pain. This project aims to determine whether period pain in adolescence predisposes an individual to develop chronic pain in the future. We will also explore whether there are differences in pain-relevant systems in adolescents with period pain compared to those without to help us understand how it might increase the risk of chronic pain in the future. Finally we will look for risk factors present in childhood that are associated with period pain in the early years of having periods.

We hope that by having a better understanding of the role that period pain plays in the development of chronic pain and the risk factors for developing period pain itself we may be able to identify strategies to reduce the risk of both types of pain developing in teenagers and adult women.

Impact of research: 
Understanding the role that dysmenorrhoea plays as a risk factor for chronic pain and potential mechanisms underlying this vulnerability would allow targeted preventative strategies to be put in place for those most at risk, which if successful at reducing the burden of chronic pain would have marked benefit for the individual, healthcare systems and society as a whole. Furthermore, dysmenorrhoea itself has a significant impact on quality of life for young women and identifying strategies that reduce the risk of it developing is of importance.
Date proposal received: 
Friday, 13 August, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 24 August, 2021
Clinical research/clinical practice, Pain, Gene mapping, GWAS, Genetic epidemiology