28 March 2019

Bertho Nieboer and colleagues described the results of a survey among 42,879 women about the impact of menstrual symptoms on everyday life in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.


Menstrual symptoms like dysmenorrhea, heavy menstrual bleeding, and perimenstrual mood disorders are known to be widespread among the general population. From studies in patients with endometriosis and premenstrual disorder, it has been shown that these symptoms can have a large impact on women's quality of life and account for substantial healthcare use. Furthermore, it is estimated that many women initially do not consult a doctor while facing menstrual symptoms. Consequently, the impact of menstrual symptoms on daily activities in the general population is unknown.
To obtain a nationwide overview of menstrual symptoms and their impact on everyday activities.
Study design
Nationwide, cross-sectional, internet-based survey among 42,879 women aged 15 to 45 years, conducted from July to October 2017.
Outcome measures
presence of menstrual symptoms, pain or intensity score, impact on daily activities.
Dysmenorrhea was the most common symptom with a prevalence of 85%, followed by psychological complaints (77%), and tiredness (71%). During their menstrual period, 38% of all women reported not to be able to perform all their regular daily activities. From the women that had to skip tasks due to their symptoms, only 48.6% told their family that menstrual symptoms were the reason for the transfer of tasks.
Menstrual symptoms are widespread among the general population. One in three women quit daily activities due to menstrual symptoms. Half of all women did not mention menstrual complaints being the reason for transferring tasks in a family setting. These results must be interpreted with caution due to the potential for selection bias. However, considering the impact of menstrual symptoms on daily activities in a large group of women, it is time to open the societal dialogue and improve education for both patients and doctors.

The impact of menstrual symptoms on everyday life: a survey among 42,879 women
Schoep ME, Nieboer TE, van der Zanden M, Braat DDM, Nap AW.

Published on the NOS website (in Dutch)


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