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Millions of women in UK face severe period pain but symptoms dismissed

Millions of women and girls experience debilitating periods, yet nearly one-third never seek medical help, and more than half say their symptoms are not taken seriously, according to research.

A survey of 3,000 women and girls for the Wellbeing of Women charity found that they are often dismissed as “just having a period”, despite experiencing severe pain, heavy bleeding and irregular cycles that can lead to mental health problems.

Almost all of those surveyed, who were between 16 and 40 years old and based in the UK, had experienced period pain (96%), with 59% saying their pain was severe. 91% had experienced heavy periods, with 49% saying their bleeding was severe. 

Prof Dame Lesley Regan, the chair of Wellbeing of Women, said: “It’s simply unacceptable that anyone is expected to suffer with period symptoms that disrupt their lives, including taking time off school, work, or their caring responsibilities, all of which may result in avoidable mental health problems.

“Periods should not affect women’s lives in this way. If they do, it can be a sign of a gynaecological condition that requires attention and ongoing support – not dismissal.”

Wellbeing of Women has launched its “Just a Period” campaign, which Regan said aims to address “the many years of medical bias, neglect and stigma in women’s health”. This includes tips on how to get the most out of seeing your GP and what women should do if they feel they have been dismissed.

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Source: The Guardian, 14 September 2023


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