A couple of years ago a survey carried out (over the pond) by The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP) asked women about their attitudes and knowledge about their menstrual cycle. Even though it was done in the US, the results are still interesting. Having said that, when we saw the results, they actually created more questions than answers! So we’re thinking we might actually do a survey (or five) in the future. For now, though, enjoy the highlights from the ARHPs survey below.
As discussed in the How Menstruation Works video by TED-ex, women today have an estimated 450 periods during their lifetime. That’s actually three times more than our hunter-gatherer ancestors, who started menstruating later and spent many more years nursing. It’s no surprise that as periods have become a larger part of a woman’s life, most will admit they do not always feel friendly towards their monthly “friend.” Having said that, 8% said that they enjoy their period… we have no words.
Who was asked:
1,021 women between the ages of 18-40
In the week before (and during) their periods, women experience different symptoms of the menstrual cycle which manifest both physically and emotionally. So what did the survey say?
- 84% report feeling bloated
- 84% report feeling moody
- 81% report having cramps
- 80% report feeling irritable
- 78% report feeling fatigued
- 67% report feelings of anger
We obviously paid special attention to number 3! In fact, 63% of the participants said they regularly experience “really bad cramps.” Our question here is whether or not the cramps have an impact on the other symptoms?
Periods and sex
62% of women said they had an increased desire for sex before and during their period. Not surprisingly, 74% responded that their symptoms have caused them to miss sex, but we’d love to delve deeper into the reasons why this is so high. Was it because of their partner, in which case the taboo topic comes up here. Was it because they were in too much pain? It could be any number of things. Either way, the numbers paint an interesting picture of women wanting to have sex but not having it. There are plenty of reasons why having sex on your period is not only a great idea, but actually beneficial, not least to help with period cramps... but that’s a topic for another post!
How do women feel about the impact the period has on their lives?
- 77% say it’s just something that they have to put up with
- 74% feel men have an advantage because they do not have a period
- 47% would like to decide when or if to have a period
- 43% feel they have to make adjustments to their lives when they have their period (obviously!)
- 40% feel that if given a choice, they would prefer never to have their period at all
That last one is a bit of a rabbit hole. Given that periods and reproduction are inextricably linked, in a world where it was possible, how would that work? Would you have to choose, before your first period, to either have periods for the rest of your life and be able to produce children, or no periods and therefore no chance of having children yourself? That would be a huge decision to put on a young girl’s shoulders! Yep, rabbit hole. Back to reality...
We’d love to share the link to the actual survey in case you wanted to read more, but their site has since stopped working, and we haven’t been able to find it anywhere. If it comes back online, we’ll update this post!
So, what do you think? Do you agree with the women in the survey?