BACKGROUND: Dysmenorrhea is the most common gynecologic complaint among adolescent females. We investigated the association between genetic polymorphisms and dysmenorrhea. METHODS: A total of 202 postmenarcheal Korean female adolescents 16-17 yr old participated in this study. Genotyping for glutathione S-transferase mu 1 (GSTM1), glutathione S-transferase theta 1 (GSTT1), glutathione S-transferase pi 1 (GSTP1), and estrogen receptor 1 (ESR1) was performed using PCR-based methods. RESULTS: The PP+Pp genotype of the ESR1 gene was more frequent than pp genotypes in subjects with dysmenorrhea than in subjects without dysmenorrhea (odds ratio=2.440; 95% confidence interval, 1.036-5.753; P=0.040) using an unadjusted univariate logistic regression analysis. The relationship between dysmenorrhea and ESR1 gene polymorphisms remained significant after adjustment for premenstrual syndrome, years elapsed after menarche, and family history of dysmenorrhea. No significant difference was observed between subjects with dysmenorrhea and subjects without dysmenorrhea for polymorphisms of GSTM1, GSTT1, and GSTP1 genes. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that ESR1 gene polymorphisms may be associated with dysmenorrhea.