Study looks at "lifestyle" of stopping periods

Wednesday, 5 May 2004

A new University of Adelaide study is looking at the reasons women choose to suppress their periods.

According to Ms Jessie Gunson, a Gender Studies PhD student at the University of Adelaide, the advent of long-term hormonal contraception such as the Pill, injections or implants means women can choose not to have periods even if there is no medical reason for them to do so.

Ms Gunson wants to talk to women to find out their experiences of suppressing menstruation and why they chose to do it.

"For a number of years hormonal treatments as well as surgery have been used to suppress menstruation for medical reasons such as dysmenorrhea and endometriosis" she says. "In particular, doctors will often prescribe the Pill to be taken continually to alleviate the pain associated with the monthly period.

"But now, the Pill is being remarketed as not so much a birth-control method but as a method of controlling menstruation as a 'lifestyle choice'."

This is particularly the case overseas, where drugs like Seasonale are on the market. Seasonale is exactly the same as the normal Pill, but instead of 21 active tablets and seven placebos, it has 84 active tablets and seven placebos - resulting in only four periods per year.

"In my research, I am not trying to find out whether suppressing menstruation is the right or wrong thing to do," Ms Gunson says. "What I am trying to do is talk to women who suppress their periods for any reason in order to develop an understanding of their experiences.

"I believe there could be a variety of reasons why women choose to control their periods, from medical reasons to it being a matter of convenience, like going away on holiday - but I want to find out first hand from the women themselves what they think are the pros and cons. There is presently a lot of debate in medical circles about menstrual suppression and I think it is critical for the views of the women who it affects to be a part of this debate."

The study is open to Adelaide women between the ages of 18-45 who are either
currently, or in the last five years, have stopped or tried to control their periods
by using the Pill, implants, injections or surgery.

Women interested in taking part should ring Ms Gunson on (08) 8303 4346,
or email


Contact Details

Ms Jessie Gunson
PhD Student
Discipline of Gender Studies
University of Adelaide
Business: 61 8 8313 5071

Media Team
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0814

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762