The attitude of Swiss women regarding menstruation and their view of contraceptive methods suppressing menstruation

The attitude of Swiss women regarding menstruation and their

view of contraceptive methods suppressing menstruation 

J. Bitzer, S. Tschudin,

B. Frey 

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland 

Introduction Menstruation is in many women experienced in a highly ambivalent

manner. Physical and emotional symptoms may impair the quality of life and at

the same time menstruation is an unique expression of the female body. Various

contraceptive methods may modify or even suppress menstruation . 

Methods A

representative sample of 234 Swiss women were interviewed by telephone using a

semistructured interview. 

Results Forty-one percent had a negative, 41% a neutral and 17% a

positive attitude towards menstruation. 30% considered themselves not at all,

34% a little, 32% rather and 4% severely bothered by menstruation. 68% of women

report premenstrual mood swings, irritability, more than half report physical

symptoms. During menstruation 66% complain about mental and physical symptoms.

Regarding the coping with menstrual complaints, 30% of the women use analgesics

intermittently. Seventy percent take behavioral measures. Despite these negative experiences

almost half of the women (45%) were reluctant using contraceptives to modify

menstruation. The main reasons given were: it is unnatural, against nature

(33%); unspecified fear of hormones in general (27%); fear of specific risks

especially cancer (27%). 

Conclusion Contraception with regular bleeding is well

accepted by Swiss women but changes in the menstrual pattern cause ambivalent

feelings.The advantages regarding life quality are seen but on the other hand

there is anxiety regarding undefined risks of interfering with nature.

Contraceptive counselling needs to be sensitive to individual and cultural

concepts about menstruation and enhance shared decision making regarding the

possibilities of hormonal contraception to modify menstruation according to the

individual’s priorities.

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