Connecting the Dots Between Mental and Menstrual Health
Context: Mental and menstrual health, two emerging aspects of health critical to the female population, are bidirectionally linked. But there is limited empirical evidence that establishes the association between these entities. This essay aims to draw the attention of researchers to this healthcare niche. Evidence Acquisition: A systematic review was carried out on literatures sourced from medical databases (e.g. PubMed, Google Scholar, Scopus, Science Direct, and Web of Science), and gray
... ence), and gray sources—popular and reputable institutional and journalistic websites that publishes mental or menstrual health research. The key words used for the search are “Menstruation, menstrual hygiene, menstrual disorders, premenstrual syndrome, period poverty, menarche, menopause, mental health, mental disorder, mental illness, depression, anxiety, phobia, mania, mood, and affect”. The initial search generated 368 results. But after the duplicates were removed, the exclusion criteria (publication before 2000) was applied, and manual review of abstract (for relevance) was done, 21 publications from the databases and 5 from gray sources were included in this essay. Results: Associations were found between menstrual cycle irregularities and disorders; and mental disorders such as premenstrual syndrome, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, major depressive disorder, major anxiety disorder, psychotic disorder, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, sleep disorder, substance use/abuse, and suicidal ideation and attempts.Few positive associations between mental and menstrual health were recorded, and several research and treatment gaps were identified. Conclusion: Research into the links between mental and menstrual health should not remain a fringe area of scientific curiosity, as it shows tremendous promise in improving healthcare offered to women/girls globally.