Findings presented as Teva launches ‘It’s About Time’ women’s health portal offering information on contraception and its impact on periods.
Amsterdam, April 11, 2017 – Historically, men have been portrayed as not being ‘in sync’ with their partners, particularly when it came to their menstrual cycles. Teva Pharmaceuticals Europe presented new survey results at the 17th World Congress of the Academy of Human Reproduction in Rome, on the 15–18 March, 2017, which debunk these antiquated assumptions, affirming that modern couples discuss menstruation – however, awareness of contraceptive options could be higher. Drawing on findings in surveys of over 10,000 men and women in Europe for their views of menstruation, Teva has launched a women’s health portal – It’s About Time (www.itisabouttime.com) – to support women searching online for information on their reproductive cycle and contraception.
Between 2015 and 2016, Teva commissioned the ISY (Inconvenience due to women’SmonthlY bleeding) survey, involving 6000 European women, and the ISY-Men survey, involving just over 5,000 heterosexual men in relationships across more than 12 countries in Europe. The survey found men estimated the average period to last 5.2 days. That compared with 4.6 days, for women taking hormonal combined contraception, and 5.0 days for those who were not.2, Males also reported they perceived mood swings, irritability and pelvic pain as the top three symptoms experienced by their partners (69%, 65% and 57% respectively) while underestimating the physical impact, such as menstrual cramping.2 Female respondents also reported these as the top three symptoms experienced, though their reported incidence for pelvic pain, irritability and mood swings tended to be reversed (70%, 62% and 61% respectively for women not taking hormonal contraception). The top three symptoms were reported at a lower rate in women taking hormonal combined contraception (59%, 55% and 56% respectively).3
Prior to hormonal birth control becoming a contraceptive option, men had little awareness of what a woman experiences during menstruation. Menstrual symptoms were also less prevalent historically as women experienced fewer periods throughout their lives because of the later onset of menstruation, a greater number of pregnancies and the longer period of time during which they would breastfeed. In the 50 years since the first contraceptive became widely available, men have become increasingly aware of how their partner experiences menstruation,” said Dr Iñaki Lete, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University Hospital Araba, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, who led the study. “These findings reflect wider societal changes, particularly where couples are encouraged to discuss previously taboo topics such as menstruation and contraception.
The new data released by Teva also show men are aware of the contraceptive choices their partners are making.2 However, most men either don’t know or believe that women don’t necessarily have periods every month while taking a hormonal contraceptive. Relatedly, men who indicated that they had an opinion on the frequency of their partner’s periods, 4 in 5 said they were open to having a discussion with their partner about contraception options which could help extend the time between periods as they acknowledged that having fewer periods will improve their partner’s wellbeing.2 Most of the younger men reported they would support spacing periods while most of the older men indicated they would support supressing periods entirely. These data suggest heterosexual couples in Europe have become more open to discussing contraceptive options, though awareness of contraceptive types could be greater.
Dr Rainel Sanchez de la Rosa, Women’s Health Senior Medical Director, Teva Europe said, “Women and their partners increasingly have access to contraceptive options, including those which help reduce period frequency and symptoms. To help navigate this increasingly complex space, we’ve developed a portal called It’s About Time to help individuals and couples learn about contraceptive options, as well as understand there’s no medical need for menstruation while taking a hormonal contraceptive. Options are increasingly available which can provide less frequent, lighter, shorter periods which can help women fit them in around their lives. Periods by choice, not by chance!”
It’s About Time (www.itisabouttime.com) is an online women’s health portal intended for 18- to 45-year old women interested in contraceptive information. It provides information on contraceptive options available to them and the impact of these on their periods. It’s a unique space offering an educational, medical and informative tone on contraception and educations on how they can use period management to improve their lives and offer new freedoms. On the website, women and their partners can learn and make the most of their lives with contraception and period management.
The ISY global survey was conducted on behalf of Teva Pharmaceuticals and assessed 5,728 women aged 18-45 across Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain, regarding the inconvenience caused by their menstruation and the bleeding frequency desired.
The ISY-Men survey assessed 5,044 males aged 18-45, who had a partner of similar age for at least 6 months, across Austra, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. It assessed their level of knowledge of inconvenience associated with, and desired frequency of, menstruation experienced by their partner.