B3469 - Menstruation and womens health - 17/02/2020

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Gemma Sharp | MRC IEU, UoB
Title of project: 
Menstruation and women's health
Proposal summary: 

There has been remarkably little research on women's experience of menstruation from a population health perspective, despite menstruation and pre-menstrual symptoms having wide-reaching consequences for women's physical and mental health. We need a better understanding of the biological (e.g. hormone levels, epigenetics) and lifestyle factors (e.g. smoking, alcohol, diet) that might predict and/or causally affect menstrual experiences (e.g. cycle length, heaviness, regularity, pain and premenstrual mood). This better understanding could inform ways to predict who is at risk of poor experiences, and develop strategies to prevent or improve those experiences. We also need a better understanding of the impact of different menstrual experiences on women's physical and mental health (e.g. fatigue, depression, life satisfaction). Again, this could inform strategies to predict which women are at risk of poor outcomes and help develop preventative interventions.

Impact of research: 
This project is one of the only projects to use quantitative data to explore menstrual experiences from a population health perspective. I therefore hope that the outputs from this project (one to two research papers) will inform better ways to predict and prevent poor menstrual experiences and associated outcomes, as well as highlighting the potential for research in this area. I plan to incorporate the results into grant applications for 1) more questions to be added to the ALSPAC questionnaires regarding menstrual health (e.g. to collect data on missing symptoms such as breast soreness and effects on the digestive system); and 2) a nested study to collect serial biological samples and questionnaire data throughout the menstrual cycle and over multiple cycles to study variation in and factors associated with menstrual symptoms between and within cycles and individuals. (If these funding applications are successful, I will put in further project proposals - and of course request funds to access ALSPAC).
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 17 February, 2020
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 17 February, 2020
Epidemiology, Women's health, Epigenome wide association study Multivariable regression, Menstruation