Apple Study Confirms Period Cramps Exist
March 10, 2021 – The Apple Women’s Health Study on Tuesday released preliminary data showing a wide range of menstrual symptoms reported by female users, including the most common – cramping, bloating and fatigue.
The iOS Health app added period tracking in 2019, and researchers hope the data will advance understanding of women’s health and destigmatize menstruation.
“Our study will help achieve a more gender-equal future, in which all people with menstrual cycles have access to the health services and menstrual products they need to feel secure and empowered,” Michelle Williams, Dean of the Faculty of Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, which conducted the research, said in a statement.
The preliminary analysis included the first 10,000 participants who signed up for the iPhone Research app and provided demographic data. Over 6,100 participants recorded their menstrual symptoms, with 83% reporting abdominal cramps, 63% tracking bloating, and 61% tracking fatigue.
About half also reported acne, changes in appetite, breast pain, headaches, low back pain, and mood swings. About a third reported constipation, diarrhea, hot flashes, nausea, ovulation pain, and changes in sleep. The frequency of symptoms was common to all ages, races, ethnicities and geographic locations.
Menstrual cycles can often shed light on a person’s overall health, but menstruation is under-studied, the Harvard researchers wrote. Small studies have often been small and not representative of a larger population.
“Without substantial scientific data, women’s menstrual symptoms have historically lent themselves to rejection, or have even been downplayed as an overreaction or hypersensitivity,” the researchers wrote.
The study team will continue to analyze the data and submit a detailed report for peer review and publication in a journal.
“What researchers and physicians in the scientific community want and need to know is more about the menstrual cycle, its relationship to long-term health, as well as environmental factors that may affect length and characteristics. of the cycle, ”Shruthi Mahalingaiah, MD, a senior researcher and assistant professor of environmental, reproductive, and women’s health at Harvard, told Gizmodo.
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