Painful menstruation costs women nine days of lost productivity at work every year

Painful periods cost women NINE DAYS of lost productivity at work every year through & # 39; presenteeism & # 39 ;, scientists think

  • Women come unwell during their period and perform less well
  • More than 80% of the women in a study reported presentism during their period
  • Scientists said the subject is still a taboo and that women remain silent about their pain

Painful menstruation costs women about nine days of productivity loss per year, a study has calculated.

Scientists say that women go to school or work, even though they are not good – a term known as & # 39; presenteeism & # 39; – and therefore underperforming.

The groundbreaking study is the first of its kind, focusing on a topic that scientists believe remains taboo.

More than eight in ten women reported working or studying while suffering from pain or a mood disorder – saying they were less productive as a result.


Painful menstruation costs women nine days of lost productivity at work every year, a study in the Netherlands has found. Stock photo

Painful menstruation costs women nine days of lost productivity at work every year, a study in the Netherlands has found. Stock photo

The findings, published in the British Medical Journal, also found that paralyzing symptoms forced women to take themick leaves one day a year.

Researchers in the Netherlands interviewed nearly 33,000 women between 15 and 45 years old.

The participants were asked to disclose the details of their menstrual cycle and the severity of their symptoms. The average period lasted five days.

Menstruation caused almost a third of the women to visit their doctor and about one in seven to visit a gynecologist.

In general, women went to work on average 23 days of work or study at school if they were not well.


Based on their symptoms that affected a third of the duration of their day, researchers calculated that this was nearly nine days of lost productivity every year.

Sometimes the symptoms were so intense that women needed time to leave work or school, with one in seven. Almost 3.5 percent said this was almost every menstrual cycle.


Periods can be so painful that they distract. They are painful because the muscles of the uterus contract to encourage the lining to shed.

This compresses the blood vessels in the lining of the uterus, which temporarily cut off the blood supply – and therefore the oxygen supply – to your uterus. Without oxygen, the tissues in your womb release chemicals that cause pain.

Apart from the bleeding phase, there are three other phases of the cycle that each affect a woman's mood.


These are the follicular phase and ovulation, the ovulation phase and the luteal phase.

Many women experience symptoms in the week or two before their bleeding begins, known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

PMS, possibly caused by changes in hormones, can lead to a change in the emotional or mental state, causing a woman to have feelings of irritability, fatigue, anxiety, depression or food hunger.

When women reported sick due to menstrual pains, only one in five told their employer or school the real reason for their absence.

About two thirds of the women said they wished they had the opportunity to work flexibly or to get school hours when participating in their periods.


The corresponding author, Dr. Theodoor Nieboer, said: “Taking into account all the symptoms, it seems likely that the real impact of menstrual-related symptoms in the general population is underestimated.

& # 39; Although it is almost two decades in the 21st century, discussions about symptoms can still be rather taboo. & # 39;

Younger women under 21 seem to take more time due to their menstrual periods than older women.

Dr. Nieboer said: “There is an urgent need for more attention to be paid to the effects of these symptoms, especially in women younger than 21, for discussions about treatment options with women of all ages and, ideally, more flexibility for women who work or going to school. & # 39;

The researchers said the results reflect the general population, but there may be selection bias because participants were hired through social media.


It is the largest study to see how period symptoms affect work or school productivity.

Other research suggests that symptoms can reduce the quality of life in various areas, such as mental health and social life. It can also put a financial burden on women and their families.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, are recommended as the starting treatment for menstrual pain followed by the pill.

But it is generally believed that exercise and proper nutrition help alleviate cramps.


Public Health England & # 39; s research has revealed that nearly half of women – 48 percent – say they suffer from menstrual problems, such as heavy or irregular menstrual periods. So when should you worry about your period?

Menstrual pain is common and most women experience it at some point in their lives.

The pain is usually felt as cramps in the abdomen and is caused by tightening the muscle wall of the uterus and temporarily cutting off oxygen.

Consult your doctor if the pain is severe or suddenly different from what is normal for you, as this may be a sign of endometriosis or pelvic inflammation.

Irregular periods happen when the length of your menstrual cycle changes.

They may be normal or easily explained by hormones, but you should consult a doctor if they suddenly become irregular, if they are very close together or far apart (less than 21 days or more than 35 days), or if the periods last longer than a week.


Heavy periods, in which much blood has been lost, is common but can seriously affect the life of a woman.

Heavy bleeding is defined as losing 80 ml (16 teaspoons) or more in each period, with periods longer than 7 days, or both.

Heavy periods are not necessarily a sign of an underlying problem, but if you notice an unusual amount of blood or if this affects your daily life, it is a good idea to visit your doctor.

Source: NHS Choices


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