Psychographic Profile; US Women
A variety of recent studies reveal that a significant portion of women in the US experience challenges related to menstruation and their health, social stigmas, hygiene, poverty and sex, among other concerns.
- Menstrual symptoms, including dysmenorrhea, heavy bleeding, and PMS are widespread among women in the US and considered to be a significant health concern.
- Notably, 85% of American women experience dysmenorrhea or cramping as a result of menstruation, 77% report psychological or mood issues and 71% suffer from fatigue.
- Ultimately, health concerns related to a woman's menstruation often have a significant impact on quality of life for women in the US.
- For example, 63% of American women have needed to cancel their plans because of pain related to menstruation or other PMS symptoms, and 38% of women have been unable to perform all of their regular daily activities.
- Although health concerns related to periods result in "substantial health care use" by American women, many women often do not consult with a doctor regarding their menstrual symptoms, at least initially, and 62% of US women report that others have failed to consider their period pain as real pain when reported.
- The stigma of menstruation remains a significant concern for American women, with approximately 58% of US women having felt embarrassment because they were menstruating.
- Additionally, 42% of American women have experienced "period-shaming", or embarrassing comments related to their menstruation, with 20% reporting such shaming by men, 12% by a family member and 10% by a classmate.
- However, over 70% women report feeling comfortable discussing menstruation with their partner.
- Feminine hygiene is another major concern for women in the US related to their periods, particularly regarding the purchase or use of feminine hygiene products.
- For example, 44% of women in the US feel uncomfortable while purchasing feminine hygiene products, with 65% of women sometimes asking their partner to purchase these products to avoid doing so themselves, and 15% feeling so awkward that they only purchase these products online.
- Additionally, 73% of American women report having hidden feminine products from view on their way to the bathroom.
- Meanwhile, 65% have worn clothing out of fear, and with the specific purpose of concealing a potential leak during menstruation.
- Such concerns over feminine hygiene are only exacerbated by the challenges faced by those women who are in poverty in the US.
- Notably, almost two-thirds of low-income women in major US cities have experienced being unable to afford menstrual hygiene products over the course of a year.
- Additionally, more than 20% of low-income American women struggle to afford feminine hygiene products every month.
- As a result, these low-income women use a variety of less than ideal products to manage their menstruation, including paper towels, toilet paper, cloth, rags tissues and sometimes diapers.
- One reason for this issue is that government grocery-assistance programs such as WIC and SNAP do not cover period products.
- Additionally, menstruation has many other less avoidable costs over a lifetime, such as medications, productivity and laundry, to name a few.
- Meanwhile, according to Anne Sebert Kuhlmann, an associate professor in the College for Public Health and Social Justice at St. Louis University, the inability of low-income women in America to meet their hygiene needs related to menstruation negatively impacts their sense of self, their dignity and the ability to participate in life normally.
- With regard to menstruation and sexual health, more than half of women and men say that they avoid having sex during a female partner's period, while 28% of women say that they have never tried having sex during a female partner's time of the month.
- Additionally, 33% of women have had a partner refuse to have sex if she was on her period, resulting in the majority of those women (56%) feeling uncomfortable initiating or having sex while menstruating.
- Moreover, 38% of women have felt pressured to perform sexual acts other than intercourse because their partner did not want to have period sex.
- However, 18% of women report both engaging in and enjoying period sex.
- A major area of interest for women in the US related to their periods is the terminology used related to menstruation.
- Specifically, many American women have conflicting opinions or feelings about the subject, with 62% of women in the US reporting feeling upset by the word period.
- As a result, 47% of women in the US actively use alternative terms for menstruation, such as time of the month (87%), monthly visitor (36%) and mother nature (34%).
- Meanwhile, another concern or interest for American women related to menstruation is their readiness, or lack thereof, for a first period.
- For example, 25% of women in the US report being completely unprepared for their first period, while 55% report being generally unprepared.
- Additionally, 30% of American women felt confused by their first period, while 43% felt afraid and 52% felt overwhelming embarrassment.