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  1. 1. Women & Menstration Karrie Simone Jessica Cutting Jennifer Hasselbusch Penina Backer Shanna Martindale
  2. 2. Legends of the Flow: True or Not <ul><li>• Every woman's cycle is or should be 28 days long. </li></ul><ul><li>• Every woman will or should bleed every month. </li></ul><ul><li>• Every woman will ovulate every cycle. </li></ul><ul><li>• A woman can not be aware that she has been pregnant </li></ul><ul><li>• A woman cannot ovulate or get pregnant while she is menstruating. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Reality <ul><li>• Women lose between 20 and 80 cc's (1-2 ounces) of blood during a normal period. </li></ul><ul><li>• One in six fertilized eggs naturally results in miscarriage, some of which are reabsorbed by the body and the woman is not aware she's been pregnant. </li></ul><ul><li>• The length of a woman's menstrual cycle (the number of days from the first day of one period to the first day of the next) is determined by the number of days it takes her ovary to release an egg. Once an egg is released, it is about 14 days until menstruation, for nearly all women. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Menstruation in Review <ul><li>Menstruation is huge part of their lives </li></ul><ul><li>It’s a biological process which women goes through in cycles approximately every 28 days </li></ul><ul><li>There is a huge fluctuation of hormones </li></ul><ul><li>This Cycle prepares a women’s uterus to prepare itself for a possible pregnancy with a blood lining known as the endometrium. </li></ul><ul><li>An egg will also be released from the ovaries for a chance to be fertilized </li></ul><ul><li>At the end of the cycle, the endometrium will shed and the egg will be lost as well if the woman does not become pregnant </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>According to Matlin (2008), a woman will on average go through this cycle 450 times during her life (Matlin, 2008, p. 114) </li></ul><ul><li>This cycle will last decades </li></ul><ul><li>Menarche is the typical milestone for adolescent girls during puberty </li></ul><ul><li>Menopause is the end of this cycle, which is marked when a woman stops having a period after 12 months </li></ul><ul><li>Menopause occurs between the ages of 45-55 </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Puberty and Menarche </li></ul><ul><li>“ During puberty, young women experience the most dramatic physical changes they have undergone since infancy” </li></ul><ul><li>~Matlin (2008, p. 113) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Puberty and Menarche <ul><li>Average age is 12 </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural differences: Typically Black and Latina Girls reach this the earliest, and Asian American girls reach this milestone the latest </li></ul><ul><li>This is typically a stressful experience </li></ul><ul><li>Early developers typically tend to perceive this more negatively than late developers (who typically have a more positive attitude </li></ul>
  8. 8. How Does the Menstrual Cycle Relate to Women’s Health? <ul><li>Research reviewed will look into how the following in regards to menstruation is related to Women’s health: </li></ul><ul><li>- Mind/Body Relationship </li></ul><ul><li>- Stress </li></ul><ul><li>- Environment </li></ul><ul><li>- Culture & SES </li></ul><ul><li>- Attitudes (i.e. personal, cultural, & social) </li></ul>
  9. 9. &quot;Nobody told me nothin&quot;: Communication About Menstruation Among Low-Income African American Women Spring Chenoa Cooper, Ph D Patricia Barthalow Koch, Ph D
  10. 10. <ul><li>Design: </li></ul><ul><li>Grounded Theory Qualitative Design </li></ul><ul><li>Sample: </li></ul><ul><li>Seventeen (ages 18-50) African American women </li></ul><ul><li>Approach: </li></ul><ul><li>Interviewed or in a focus group </li></ul><ul><li>Common Theme: </li></ul><ul><li>The women had few sources and very limited menstrual learning from school, their mothers, or other women. This often led to confusion and inaccurate beliefs about the negative attitudes toward menstruation, menopause, and menstrual-related health conditions. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Methods: </li></ul><ul><li>A convenience sample was taken from a free clinic at a public housing project in a mid-sized city in a northeastern state. Snowball sampling (come & bring your friends and relatives) was added to get more participants. Of the information gathered from the seventeen African-American women, 5 were from a focus group and 12 were from individual interviews. </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Data Collection/Measures: </li></ul><ul><li>The same data collector was used for both the groups and the individual interviews. Women were asked open ended questions about how they learned about various menstrual topics. Compensated $20 for their time. </li></ul><ul><li>Data Analysis: </li></ul><ul><li>Inductive approach, non-standardized info. </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Results—Core themes from data: </li></ul><ul><li>1)Avoidance or negative discussion of menstrual events because of: </li></ul><ul><li>- lack of information and positive communication about menstruation. </li></ul><ul><li>- limited or negative learning from possible expected sources (school, moms) </li></ul><ul><li>Confusion and inaccurate beliefs about menstrual events. </li></ul><ul><li>- Exp. Beliefs that a period comes on the same day each month. </li></ul><ul><li>- Exp. Menopause means “getting meaner.” </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Negative attitudes toward menstruating event </li></ul><ul><li>- Exp. Many words women gave for menstruating were derogatory. (Fishy, Evil) </li></ul><ul><li>Wanting better communication </li></ul><ul><li>- Exp. Many women mentioned they wanted to receive and to give more information about the menstruation process. </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Discussion & Recommendations: </li></ul><ul><li>Volunteer Bias – the sample were women with more health problems or more aware of their health </li></ul><ul><li>Socially acceptable responses may have been given </li></ul><ul><li>Generalizability is low (you can’t generalize the findings to very manyother to other people because the sample is very particular). </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Theme reflections: </li></ul><ul><li>- positive attitudes were not included </li></ul><ul><li>- information source absent–Doctors and other health professionals </li></ul><ul><li>- Findings underscore, across backgrounds, that women are not receiving the education that is needed. </li></ul><ul><li>- Women did not have knowledge of calculating intervals between periods in order to determine menstrual patterns. </li></ul><ul><li>- Confusion surrounding menopause or even what the term meant </li></ul><ul><li>- Distrust of doctors and medical remedies </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Suggestions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Programs to teach women about menstruation. exp. churches, health community centers, beauty parlors, and school </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>health education (before girls reach menarche) </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>How it relates to class and society: </li></ul><ul><li>When asked various questions about our own experiences (in this class), despite the very specific sampling, the themes were not too different than the reflections gathered from the women in the public housing project. </li></ul><ul><li>-Avoidance or negative discussion of menstrual events. </li></ul><ul><li>-Confusion and inaccurate beliefs about menstrual events. </li></ul><ul><li>-Negative attitudes toward menstruating event. </li></ul><ul><li>-Wanting better </li></ul>
  19. 19. Attitudes Toward Menarchy Among Mexican Preadolescents Ma. Luisa Marvan, Ph D Angeles Vacio, MS Gabriela Garcai-yarnes, BA Graciela Espinosa-Hernandez, MS
  20. 20. <ul><li>Menarche has a special meaning and is recognized as an important transitional period in a women's life. </li></ul><ul><li>Menarcheal experience can be influenced by a number of factors. (i.e. age of girl and time of event, kind of preparation she received, her knowledge and expectations, emotional support of her family, her personality characteristics) </li></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>A study with Indian woman found that if they had received info prior to menarche they considered it a normal physiological function, if they weren't prepared they described their first period as a horrifying experience. </li></ul><ul><li>A study with Mexican woman found that only women with previous knowledge about menstruation before menarche reported having positive emotional reactions to menarche </li></ul><ul><li>Other studies with Italian adolescents and America college students found that women who felt like their preparation prior to menarche was adequate were more likely to report positive experiences about their first menstration </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>Mothers are typically the primary sources of info about menstruation to their daughters—if mothers communicated with a positive view of menstruation then their daughters for the most part presented a positive view. If they had a negative views then the daughters were more likely to have negative views. </li></ul><ul><li>Mothers find talking with their daughters about menarche as necessary but very difficult to initiate. </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>Adolescent females that lived with ether father as primary care giver found it embarrassing to discuss it with their fathers, despite a close relationship. </li></ul><ul><li>They believed their father lacked credibility and experienced a distancing from them. Girls said they didn't feel comfortable talking with fathers and waited to see their mother to ask questions. </li></ul><ul><li>A study with Australia adolescents found half of the participants reported being embarrassed or distressed at the idea of discussing menstrual periods with their fathers </li></ul>
  24. 24. <ul><li>Most women do not report any celebrations or rituals for girls who start to menstruate. Most western cultures do not have rituals or celebrations. Those that do are usually associated with contradictory beliefs and feelings. </li></ul><ul><li>People from the Republic of Benin, Cameroon, Zambia, and Southern India celebrate menarche with rituals and ceremonies as an event that symbolically marks initiation and welcomes the girl into a community of women </li></ul>
  25. 25. <ul><li>Mexican cultural characteristics might shape girls attitudes toward menache. Mexican families have a great deal of influence on transition from childhood to youth in girls as well as on their gender role socialization. </li></ul><ul><li>The parents demand obedience and adherence to family rules that are different between boys and girls. parents are more strict and less lenient with girls then boys. </li></ul><ul><li>The female gender role socialization is shaped by traditional attitudes such as marianismo that emphasizes the importance of virginity, having children and the relationship between love and sex. This process of socialization may influence girls attitudes and behaviors. </li></ul>
  26. 26. <ul><li>Method: </li></ul><ul><li>The study was conducted with 126 premenarcheal Mexican girls from the city of Puebla, using 4th and 5th grade students in 4 different public elementary schools. The schools were selected by what school boards were receptive of the study. </li></ul><ul><li>Girls were recruited by the teachers telling the girls about the study and invited the girls to participate. Teachers reinforced that the study was voluntary and all girls agreed to participate. </li></ul>
  27. 27. <ul><li>The girls range in age from 10-12 yrs old. </li></ul><ul><li>(mean = 11 yrs old) </li></ul><ul><li>Almost all girls in the study were born in Puebla, and those who weren't were born in other urban cities in Mexico but were raised in Puebla. </li></ul><ul><li>The girls were mostly catholic and belonged to middle class families. </li></ul>
  28. 28. <ul><li>The study used an incomplete story about an imaginary character around her time of menarche was created. Eleven sentence stems were used and the girls had to complete the story </li></ul><ul><li>-the first section of the story relates to the moment when Maria's (the character in the story) mother talked to her about menstruation. </li></ul><ul><li>-the second section refers to when Maria experienced her first period. </li></ul><ul><li>-the end of the story refers to how Maria feels about men knowing she had her period (her father and a male classmate) </li></ul>
  29. 29. <ul><ul><li>This story is about a girl named Maria, who lives nearby. Maria is a girl just like any other; she goes to school in the mornings and she plays with her friends in the afternoons, like the other girls her age. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One day her mother called Maria in order to talk about what happens when Girls grow up. Maria had no idea about what her mom was going to tell her. Her mother started talking about the period and she told Maria_____. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>While Maria was listening to hr mother, she felt ______. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Later, Maria was alone and she thought that what her mother had told her was ______. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>After t his, Maria went out to play with her best girlfriend and she stayed there the whole afternoon. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time went on until one day like any other Maria had her first period. When Maria noticed she had her first period, she felt ______. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Later, that evening at the dinner table she felt ______. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Later, Maria and her mother had a chat about how to use pads and about Maria’s doubts. While they were talking, Maria’s father arrived, and he asked what they were talking about. The mother told him ______and then the father ______. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>That night, when Maria was alone in her bedroom she thought the day had been _____ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>because _________. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The next morning, Maria woke up as usual, had breakfast and went to school. Before she left, her mother gave her a pad and Maria placed it inside her backpack. She arrived at school, went into her classroom and sat next to a boy, Juan, her classmate. The class began and the teacher asked tem to take their Science book out. When Maria opened her backpack, her pad fell on the floor and then she ________. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Juan saw the pad and ________. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>At the end of the school day, Maria and her girlfriend walked home. In the afternoon, when they finished doing their homework they went out to play like everyday. </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. <ul><li>Results: </li></ul><ul><li>When girls described what Maria's mother had told her about menstruation 47% gave responses with some emotional connotation. Of those responses: </li></ul><ul><li>- 46% implied that menses can elicit fear </li></ul><ul><li>- 42% had other negative connotations </li></ul><ul><li>-12% had positive connotations </li></ul><ul><li>- rest had neutral responses. </li></ul><ul><li>Maria’s feelings listening to her mother: </li></ul><ul><li>- 61% of the girls mentioned that Maria had experienced negative </li></ul><ul><li>- 25% reported puzzled reactions </li></ul><ul><li>- 14%reported positive reactions. </li></ul>
  31. 31. <ul><li>Responses about information received from the mother: </li></ul><ul><li>- 36% of girls gave responses that implied that the info received from the mother was a lie or that they were not going to experience it </li></ul><ul><li>- 6% gave answers that implied that the info had been worrisome </li></ul><ul><li>- 4% thought the info was odd </li></ul><ul><li>- 11% thought the information was positive. </li></ul><ul><li>When asked about how the mother reacted when the father came into the room: </li></ul><ul><li>- 28% said they were talking about Maria's first period </li></ul><ul><li>- 31% said it was about menses in general </li></ul><ul><li>- 20% answered that it was about women issues in general </li></ul><ul><li>- 21% said that they were talking about something unrelated to menstruation. </li></ul>
  32. 32. <ul><li>When looking at the fathers reaction for the girls who answered that Maria and her mother were talking about menstruation: </li></ul><ul><li>- 27% of girls described the fathers response as evasive </li></ul><ul><li>- 24% described other negative reactions </li></ul><ul><li>- 22% of the girls described the fathers reaction as positive </li></ul><ul><li>- the rest gave neutral responses. </li></ul><ul><li>When asked about the classmates response: </li></ul><ul><li>- 49% gave responses implying embarrassment, - 19% gave other negative responses </li></ul><ul><li>- the rest gave natural responses </li></ul><ul><li>Regarding the boys reaction: </li></ul><ul><li>- 53% of participants described sarcastic reactions - 3% mentioned another negative reaction </li></ul><ul><li>- 2% gave positive reaction </li></ul><ul><li>- the rest gave neutral responses </li></ul>
  33. 33. Abuse History and Premenstrual Symptomatology: Assessing the Mediating Role of Perceived Stress M. Kathleen B. Lustyk, Ph D Laura Widman, MA Linda de Laveaga Becker, BS
  34. 34. <ul><li>Method: </li></ul><ul><li>Participants included 94 female students from a small liberal arts univeristy in the Pacific Northwest. Three participants were dropped because of incomplete data, leaving 91 participants. </li></ul><ul><li>They were predominantly white (96%)and between the ages of 18 and 25 (99%) </li></ul><ul><li>Packets were left by the door of an introductory psychology course so that willing participants could fill them out on their own to guarantee anonymity. Also included was an envelope so that potential participants could seal their results and leave them in a drop box in class to try and ensure they would not be identified. </li></ul>
  35. 35. <ul><li>Measures: </li></ul><ul><li>Participants filled out questionnaires about their demographic information as well as their sexual and physical abuse history. The abuse questionnaire included six sexual abuse and 4 physical abuse questions including questions about threatened sexual abuse, unwanted exposure to sex organs, unwanted sexual touching, forced sexual intercourse physical abuse questions included questions on being &quot;hit, kicked, or beaten&quot; or having one’s life seriously threatened. They scored the data measuring number of abuse experiences, when the abuse happened (as a child, adult, or both) and how often it happened in childhood and or adulthood. </li></ul>
  36. 36. <ul><li>The participants were asked to fill out a 10 item self assessment (the Cohen Perceived Stress Scale) to rate their perceived stress and what situations in the past month were stressful. </li></ul><ul><li>Participants also completed the Shortened Premenstrual Assessment Form (SPAF). a ten item scale that assessed the presence or change in intensity of symptoms associated with the premenstrual phase of the female reproductive cycle. </li></ul><ul><li>A two question assessment (Menstrual Information Assessment) was created so the researchers could assess menstrual cycle length and phase </li></ul>
  37. 37. <ul><li>Results: </li></ul><ul><li>Frequencies were ran on items from the demographic and abuse questionnaires. Comparative analyses of stress and premenstrual symptom reports across the cycle phase were performed with two ANOVAs, including comparative analyses among women with history of abuse and those without history of abuse. 56% reported to abuse, while 44% reported abuse (either physical or sexual) at lease once in their lifetime. </li></ul><ul><li>Of the women who reported abuse, 23 women reported sexual abuse, 10 reported physical abuse, and 7 reported both types of abuse. Experiences were split between childhood with 18 individuals, adulthood with 19 individuals and 3 having abuse from both childhood and adulthood. </li></ul>
  38. 38. <ul><li>After getting reports back from the women about the time of ovulation each month, researchers were able to run reports to see if premenstural symptom severity and/or perceived stress differed significantly by cycle phase—no significant differences were found. </li></ul><ul><li>Significant differences were found using p<.05 when testing both differences in perceived levels of stress and history of abuse and intensity of premenstrual intensity and history of abuse </li></ul>
  39. 39. Positive Side of Menstruation? <ul><li>Articles reviewed have looked into the negative effects of menstruation, but there is a positive side. Matlin (2008) reviews research concerning the positive side of menstruation, known as “menstrual joy” (pp. 120-121) </li></ul>
  40. 40. <ul><li>According to this review of research, researchers have found the following reactions towards menstruation from women (when encouraged to think positively ): </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Feelings of Well-Being </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Excitement </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Bursts of Energy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Creativity </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Women also may see menstruation positively as feeling great and affirming of one being a women. An example of this “menstrual joy” is when a friend of mine would say “Having a period means that I could be a mother one day. </li></ul>
  41. 41. The Big Question: <ul><li>What can WE do NOW to change </li></ul><ul><li>how the next generation of women </li></ul><ul><li>views and experience this feminine </li></ul><ul><li>process? </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in when and how young women are </li></ul><ul><li>educated about menstruation? Body view </li></ul><ul><li>education for young women? </li></ul>
  42. 42. Bibliography <ul><li>Becker, L., Lustyk, M. K. B., & Widman, L. (2007). Abuse History and Premenstrual Symptomatology: Assessing the Mediating Role of Perceived Stress. Women & Health, 46 (4), 61-80. </li></ul><ul><li>Cooper, S. C., & Koch, P. B. (2007). &quot;Nobody told me nothin&quot;: Communication About Menstruation Among Low-Income African American Women. Women & Health , 46 (1), 57-78. </li></ul><ul><li>Garcia-Yanes, G., Espinosa-Hernandez, G., Marvan, M. L., & Vacio, A. (2007). Attitudes Toward Menarchy Among Mexican Preadolescents. Women & Health , 46 (1), 7-22. </li></ul><ul><li>Matlin, M. W. (2007). The Psychology of Women (6th ed. ). Belmont, C. A.: Wadsworh Publishing Company . </li></ul>