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Menstrual Hygiene Day...puberty & PCOS...


The 28th of May is Menstrual Hygiene Day, when we highlight the need to provide good menstrual education to all girls before they get their first period. Approximately one quarter of the global population are women of reproductive age, many of whom menstruate each month. Menstruation is a healthy normal occurrence in the female body but it can be a challenge when you lack access to resources and social support.


The 2016 publication “An Opportunity to Address Menstrual Health and Gender Equity”, highlighted gaps and opportunities for further action and investment. More research and funding are essential for interventions focused on Menstrual Health Hygiene and how it is linked to life outcomes. The report captures how stigma related to menstruation are pervasive and how this hampers progress. Taboos among communities contribute to shame and ignorance related to menstruation. Education and interventions need to engage men and boys too. (Advancing Gender Equity by Improving Menstrual Health | FSG, n.d.)


It is critical to the health of women, that more robust research is carried out on adolescent reproductive health to understand more about the normal pathway through puberty. By establishing what “normal” is, it can help identify those likely to develop PCOS and other menstrual conditions as adults (Carlson & Shaw, 2019). Girls from diverse ethnic backgrounds with a range of weights will need to be included in these studies to match contemporary adolescents (Adams Hillard, 2019). The challenges of diagnosing PCOS in adolescence are well known. Recent International Guidelines have refined diagnostic criteria to help prevent under or over-diagnosis. (Peña et al., n.d.). Increased education on Menstruation and tackling the taboo will empower adolescents and women to recognise when something is not right and to seek help early. Nevertheless, we need to tackle the stigma and have more research on both the normal pathway through puberty but also on PCOS during adolescence. Compounded by the covid-19 pandemic, which exacerbates the menstruation-related challenges women and girls face around the world, these needs are even more pressing.



© PCOS Vitality, 2020

Not medical advice. PCOS Vitality does not recommend any particular course of action.

If you need medical advice please contact your GP or local healthcare provider. Information provided in good faith.

Adams Hillard, P. J. (2019). A Research Agenda for Adolescent Menstrual Cycles. In Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology (Vol. 32, Issue 3, pp. 247–248). Elsevier USA. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpag.2019.05.003

Advancing Gender Equity by Improving Menstrual Health | FSG. (n.d.). Retrieved May 26, 2020, from https://www.fsg.org/publications/advancing-gender-equity-improving-menstrual-health

Carlson, L. J., & Shaw, N. D. (2019). Development of Ovulatory Menstrual Cycles in Adolescent Girls. In Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology (Vol. 32, Issue 3, pp. 249–253). Elsevier USA. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpag.2019.02.119

Peña, A. S., Witchel, S. F., Hoeger, K. M., Oberfield, S. E., Vogiatzi, M. G., Misso, M., Garad, R., Dabadghao, P., & Teede, H. (n.d.). Adolescent polycystic ovary syndrome according to the international evidence-based guideline. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-020-01516-x

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