This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of dysmenorrhea among Turkish university students studying in the field of health sciences and to evaluate the effects of the students' socio-demographic characteristics on the condition. A cross-sectional survey of 658 students was conducted by questionnaire at a health sciences university in Turkey. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data on dysmenorrhea. Health related quality of life (HRQoL) was assessed using the generic 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36), and depressive symptoms were assessed with the BDI included in the survey. A visual analogue scale was used to assess the severity of dysmenorrhea. Data were analyzed using chi-square tests and logistic regression analysis. The prevalence of dysmenorrhea was 79.7% (524 out of 658 students). Age of menarche (P = 0.001), menstrual flow (P = 0.000), drinking coffee (P = 0.001) and having a family history of dysmenorrhea were significantly associated with dysmenorrhea in a multivariable analysis. Furthermore, 42.7% of the students with dysmenorrhea missed at least one day of school and 5.3% missed at least one exam. The high prevalence of dysmenorrhea among Turkish university students is a significant health problem requiring attention, and the need for on-the-job training of primary care physicians on the management of primary dysmenorrhea should be considered.