HomeLifestyleFashionMajority of women feel uncomfortable discussing period symptoms with GPs

Majority of women feel uncomfortable discussing period symptoms with GPs


The majority of British women don’t feel comfortable discussing their period symptoms with their GP, despite many experiencing painful periods, a new survey has found.

The poll of 1,000 women aged 18 and over who have periods and are not on any form of birth control or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) found that fewer than a fifth (19 per cent) of women feel like they can discuss their period symptoms openly with their doctor.

However, half of the respondents reported experiencing some sort of symptom, with many experiencing more than one each time they get their period.

The survey, carried out by biometrics tracking platform Forth, found that the most common symptoms reported by women include stomach pain (35 per cent), mood swings (30 per cent), tender breasts (27 per cent) and fatigue (27 per cent).

Previous studies estimate that four in five women experience menstrual pain, with between five to 10 per cent of women having pain severe enough to disrupt their daily lives during their period.

Among those who reported experiencing symptoms, a fifth (20 per cent) said they have taken multiple days off work because of them.

A significant proportion (60 per cent) of these women said they were given a disciplinary hearing for taking time off, and more than half (51 per cent) claimed they lost their job due to taking “too much time off for period-related sickness”.

But more than half (52 per cent) of those questioned said they have not approached a GP or other health practitioner for help, with nearly a third (28 per cent) saying they worry about not being taken seriously.

While half of the women who have not spoken to a doctor about their symptoms say they are able to manage it themselves, nearly 40 per cent said they did “not want to be a bother”.

Talking openly about periods has become less of a taboo subject in recent years, with charities calling on companies to implement menstrual leave for those who suffer during their period.

In May, a spokesperson for period equality charity Bloody Good Period said: “We need to understand the experiences and challenges that people who menstruate face in the workplace and then take steps to support them.”

The call came after Spain became the first western country to give women menstrual leave earlier this year.

Some companies have begun to embrace menstrual leave under Bloody Good Period’s programme, such as Blood Cancer UK, British Red Cross, breast cancer charity CoppaFeel, and employment agency NKD.

However, Sarah Bolt, CEO of Forth, said the company’s research shows more awareness of women’s health is needed.

She added that the figures “promote seeking treatment for your symptoms rather than suffering in silence.”

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