Blog of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

Menstrual Suppression for Military Women

January 13th, 2011 by Elizabeth Kissling

One of the arguments for using hormonal contraception to suppress the menstrual cycle is that it mitigates the logistical challenges menstruation can present in high-stress occupations in harsh settings — such as military service in a combat theatre. Given how  compelling the argument is, it’s surprising that birth control pills/patches aren’t used in these settings more frequently.

A new study in Women’s Health Issues indicates that although service women are eager to learn more about the option of menstrual suppression, education about it is lacking. A survey of U.S. women serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other combat operations indicates that the number of lost duty days due to menstrual pain would likely decrease with better education about suppression options and compliance regimens.

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