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Menstrual Pain Impacts Women’s Productivity, Well-Being: Study

Menstrual Pain Impacts Women's Productivity, Well-Being: Study

“We need to better recognize the impact menstrual symptoms are having on women.” 

Nine days per year and per woman may be lost in terms of productivity due to menstrual symptoms which include pain, heavy bleeding, headaches, and fatigue among many others, according to a new peer-reviewed  study published this week by the British Medical Journal.

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The researchers surveyed 32,748 Dutch women aged between 15 and 45 whose productivity while having their period has been measured considering both the time off from work or school (absenteeism) and the time working or studying while feeling ill (presenteeism).

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“We need to better recognize the impact menstrual symptoms are having on women,” explained the authors from Western Sydney University. 

More than 80 percent of the women interviewed responded they continued working or studying while feeling indisposed and had as a result, a low productivity.

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Menstrual symptoms cause absenteeism and presenteeism among a meaningful portion of women and cultural or social obstacles impeding discussions about it must be abolished, so women can talk about pain period to their bosses, teachers or doctors without restraint, the experts stated. 

Around 20 percent of the women reported missing school, university or work and two in five said the pain did not permit them to stay concentrated or perform well. Apart from work they also reported abstaining from social activities or performing sports.

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Period pain, medically known as dysmenorrhoea, is the most common symptom among women. A survey by the Journal of Women’s Health published on June reported that almost 71 percent of adolescents and women said they suffer from period pains characterized by discomfort in the lower abdomen. 

One of the report’s main conclusion is that society needs to acknowledge the pain provoked by menstruation, and the consequences it has on women’s well-being, as the inevitable loss of productivity it involves

Even women have come to accept their menstrual symptoms and period pain and consequently suffer in silence waiting for the pain to pass instead of seeking medical attention. 

This is due to a variety of factors including secrecy and shame around menstruations, a lack of education about it, or the pain occurring for so long that it becomes normal. The taboo around it is still in force in various countries and can also prevent access to effective health care

The experts behind the study consider that increasing women’s awareness and educating them around menstruation is thus very important as it will help them better self-care or choose adequate medication. Several programs have been implemented in Australia and New Zealand to help young women better understand menstruation cycle