Published in: 2018
In the communities where WoMena works, girls and women frequently ask about menstrual
irregularities. Clearly, they are concerned, both about their general health, and their fertility.
Irregularities take many forms - age at onset of menarche or menopause, length of cycle,
amount of bleeding, menstrual pain and discomfort, as well as bleeding outside the cycle.
Menstrual patterns vary greatly among girls and women. There is a wide range of ‘normal’
variations, and it is important to emphasize this, in order to reduce feelings of shame and
concern. Indeed, much educational material emphasises the normality of varying patterns.
However, some of the irregularities may be cause for concern. Yet, studies indicate that girls
and women may be reluctant to seek advice from health providers , from feelings of shame.
Instead, they may resort to self-medication.
Therefore, WoMena recommends that girls and women are provided with education on both
what is ‘normal’ and what might be a concern . National guidelines should be consulted, as
should local health providers, to ensure that information provided is consistent. Health
providers should actively encourage girls and women to raise concerns.
WoMena (2018). WOMENA FAQs: What are menstrual irregularities?. WoMena
English Factsheets and policy briefs
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