Nearly half of American women report taking days off from work due to menstrual symptoms, according to a new study that found digital health apps could help workplace productivity. Photo by unknownuserpanama
Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Nearly half of American women report taking days off from work due to menstrual symptoms, according to a new study that found digital health apps could help workplace productivity.
The University of Virginia School of Medicine Health survey found that 45.2% of women reported menstrual symptoms that impacted their work. Those symptoms included reduced energy, mood and lack of concentration.
"This study demonstrates that menstrual symptoms have a significant effect on women's lives," Dr. Jennifer Payne, the study's senior author and director of the Reproductive Psychiatry Research Program at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, said in a statement.
"I think these results demonstrate just how resilient women are -- they are able to continue to work and be productive despite the significant impact that menstrual symptoms have," Payne added.
Researchers tracked responses from 1,867 women who used the Flo app, which helps women track their menstrual cycle and symptoms, as 91% of the women reported cramps, 85% reported fatigue and 81% reported bloating.
According to the study, many of the women who reported menstrual symptoms said they did not feel supported by their workplace, with 49.7% saying they did not feel comfortable talking freely about their cycle with their manager.
Researchers found those women, who used digital health interventions such as the Flo app, were better equipped to manage their period symptoms. More than half of the women surveyed in the study said the app helped them prepare for and be aware of their body's signals.
According to the study, the app users said they were 18% to 25% less likely to report that their menstrual symptoms affected their work productivity. They were also 12% to 16% less likely to take days off.
"Organizations would do well to pay attention to this study and promote environments where women can feel comfortable in addressing needs surrounding the menstrual cycle," Payne said.
"Women are already doing the hard work of coping with menstrual symptoms on a monthly basis. Digital interventions geared toward minimizing women's symptoms and maximizing coping skills are one way organizations can support their women employees."