A New Study on Period Shame Reveals Some Startling Figures
According to Plan International UK, young women are not seeking guidance for their period concerns
Plan International UK is an organisation aiming to remove the taboos surrounding periods and menstruation, and with good reason. Their latest research has revealed that an alarming number of young women in the UK are not seeking medical help for their period concerns because they are too embarrassed.
In the report, Plan International UK calls for improved teaching materials and education which highlights the fact that periods are different for everyone and can include emotional, social and physical aspects which should be addressed. Other issues they touch upon are the problems some women have affording sanitary products.
Chief executive of Plan International UK, Tanya Barron, said:
“The stigma and taboo around periods is creating a wall of silence, with girls struggling to understand their own bodies, and feeling too ashamed to speak out when they think there is a problem.”
Barron says that better education for both girls and boys is needed to eradicate taboos and “make sure girls know when the symptoms they have are healthy and normal or when they need to seek medical advice.”
Period shame, in numbers
Over 1,000 girls and women aged between 14 and 21 were contacted by Plan International UK to take part in their survey. The results were eye-opening. Regarding the way girls and young women feel about seeking medical advice and treatment for their period concerns, the results found that:
- 79% of girls and young women have experienced period symptoms which have worried them, but haven’t sought medical advice or treatment
- Over a quarter (27%) of girls and young women said they haven’t seen a doctor because they felt too embarrassed
- 8% of girls and young women said they didn’t seek advice because there was only a male doctor available and they didn’t feel comfortable talking to them
Regarding the girls’ and young women’s experience of having periods, the results revealed that:
- 29% of girls and young women said they have experienced heavy bleeding
- 38% of girls and young women have experienced severe period pain
- A quarter (25%) of girls and young women have experienced periods that are heavier than usual
- Almost one third (32%) of girls and young women have had irregular periods
- 23% of girls and young women have been concerned about missing periods
- Almost one fifth (19%) of girls and young women said they have felt depressed
The NHS recommends that, should any of the above symptoms arise, medical attention should be sought as soon as possible. However, Plan International UK’s survey revealed that more than half (54%) of the girls and young women did not seek medical advice because they believed their symptoms were normal at the time. 13% of girls and young women also said people had told them they were exaggerating about their symptoms.
Never let embarrassment stand in the way of effective treatment
It’s clear from these findings that more needs to be done to normalise the perfectly normal processes of the female body. At Express Pharmacy, we believe that no one should ever feel embarrassed about their health concerns. However, you should also never let embarrassment stand in between you and effective treatment.
Online pharmacies allow girls and women to seek advice and treatment for their period concerns whilst maintaining discretion. For conditions like period pain and period delay, effective medication is available from Express Pharmacy. You can also use our live chat service to speak to one of our NHS-approved pharmacists about your concerns.