Researchers at Radboudumc claim that women effectively lose almost nine days of productivity each year due to the effects of their periods.
The research, published in the online journal BMJ Open, is based on self-reporting from 32,748 women responding to a survey through social media.
Most of the women, aged 15 to 45, said their periods lasted for five days, about a third had seen a GP due to the level of symptoms and almost 15% had consulted a gynaecologist.
One in seven said they took leave from school or work during their periods, and the average number of sick days was one a year. The women reported lower productivity on more than 23 days a year ‘which results in an annual loss of productivity of 9 days per woman per year,’ the study claimed.
Some of this productivity loss, the researchers hypothesised, might be because women are under pressure to carry on working rather than taking necessary time off.
They added, however, that this ‘observational’ study could have been influenced by the manner of finding participants as ‘women who experience symptoms may be more inclined to participate in such a study’ and their responses were also not objectively assessed.
But the team, headed by Mark Schoep, warned that openness was key, adding that ‘discussions about menstruation-related symptoms may still be rather taboo.’