NEW YORK — When it’s that time of the month, a new study finds most women feel that nothing can make the experience better. In fact, more than half of women say they’ve never felt comfortable during their period.
According to a recent survey of 2,000 women, 61 percent of those who’ve experienced menstruation say the discomfort disrupts their life in more ways than one. Fifty-one percent say they abstain from sexual intercourse during their period, 45 percent have put off physical exercise, and 41 percent have avoided socializing.
Gen Z respondents were more likely than millennials to say their period prevented them from going to work (50% vs. 39%), engaging in their hobbies (48% vs. 38%), physical exercise (68% vs. 44%), and doing household chores (53% vs. 41%). Uncomfortable periods have also forced respondents to cancel or skip important events, including “a wedding ceremony,” “a boating trip,” “an exam,” and “a best friend’s birthday party.”
When period pain interferes with daily life
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Cora, the survey shows that 62 percent have taken time off work during their period, for an average of five days a year. Forty-six percent did so because they were worried they might leak at work, and 63 percent didn’t want people to see their menstrual products.
Nine in 10 have even lied to their boss about why they took time off during their period because they’ve felt guilty for doing so. Leading up to and during their period, respondents typically experience cramps, headaches, and moodiness (36% each).
Three-fourths also noted that worrying about leaks makes it difficult to sleep at night. However, more than half admitted feeling guilty complaining or feeling like they have to “suck it up” because other people also deal with these symptoms.
Respondents were more comfortable talking with their doctor about their period-induced irritability (43%), rather than their work colleagues (34%) or even their parents (23%). Gen Z women were also more likely to talk to others about their discomfort than millennials, discussing their irritability with friends (48% vs. 39%) and romantic partners (60% vs. 43%).
Some also shared that they no longer believe in certain menstruation myths, such as the idea that being sexually active during your period is unhealthy (37%) and that their period should last exactly one week each month (35%).
Is menstruation still taboo?
Half feel there’s still a stigma around the topic of menstruation and period symptoms. That may be why 65 percent prefer to suffer in silence.
“While many people are better informed about the menstrual cycle, discussing it largely remains taboo,” says Dana Cohen, chief marketing officer at Cora, in a statement. “The fact that other people go about daily life as usual during their period makes 44 percent of those polled feel guilty to talk about their own period symptoms, and worried others will think they’re weak for discussing their discomfort.”
When asked what makes them feel more comfortable during their period, comfort food (44%) and pain killers (42%) top the list of must-haves.
“Seven in 10 respondents said they feel confident when they’re comfortable, suggesting the stigma and discomfort around their period may be a barrier to confidence,” Cohen adds. “Choosing period products that are comfortable, effective, and made with clean ingredients can give people peace of mind, allowing them to focus more on getting things done and enjoying their lives.”