The attitude of Swiss women regarding menstruation and their
view of contraceptive methods suppressing menstruation
J. Bitzer, S. Tschudin,
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 .
representative sample of 234 Swiss women were interviewed by telephone using a
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