Lack of Menstrual Education in Spain Fuels Negative Experiences
A recent study conducted by the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) and the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), published in BMC Women's Health, sheds light on the inadequate menstrual education in Spain, which contributes to negative experiences surrounding menstruation.
Emotional impact of first menstruation
The study, based on an anonymous online questionnaire completed by over 4,000 residents in Spain, reveals common emotions experienced during the first menstrual period. Respondents reported feelings of embarrassment (23%), concern (20%), fear (16%) and stress (15%).
Gynaecologist and sexologist Miriam Al Adib emphasises the need to debunk misconceptions about menstruation. Many aspects of menstruation remain insufficiently understood, affecting the quality of life for many women. Al Adib advocates for increased information, addressing myths and taboos through public awareness campaigns and educational institutions.
Insufficient menstrual education
The study, conducted between May 2021 and January 2022, examined topics including menstrual education, comfort discussing the topic, emotions during menarche, menstrual hygiene products and economic and social impacts. The results reveal data that are concerning: 35.7% of surveyed women were uncertain about menstruation during their first experience, and 56.1% lacked sufficient knowledge about proper procedures. The research also documents instances in which menstruation led to mockery or derogatory comments, exposing insufficient information on managing menstrual bleeding.
Consistent emotional experiences
Despite societal changes over the decades, emotional experiences during first menstruation in Spain have remained relatively constant from the 1950s to the early 2000s, indicating a persistent bias against women. Al Adib underscores the importance of providing accurate information, avoiding the pathologisation of common menstrual experiences and not normalising abnormal ones, promoting a coherent approach for healthier living without the influence of surrounding myths and taboos.
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