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Going with the flow: the emergence of menstrual science
  1. Nichole Tyson,
  2. Olga Kciuk,
  3. Paul D Blumenthal
  1. Obstetrics and Gynecology, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Paul D Blumenthal, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA; pblumen{at}

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Menstruation is a universal human experience from menarche to menopause. It is estimated that approximately 26% of the global population menstruates, with approximately 800 million individuals menstruating each day.1 While menstruation is considered a healthy vital sign and physiological process within the reproductive age group, it is often associated with stigma and normalisation of pain. These factors, along with gaps in health literacy, contribute to the transformation of what should be a healthy and routine experience for much of the world’s population into a potentially distressing experience. Historically, women experienced far fewer lifetime menstrual cycles due to factors such as pregnancy, lactation, poor nutrition and shorter lifespans than their modern counterparts. In today’s world, women can expect to have over 400 menstrual cycles in their lifetime.2

Menstruation research

The study by DeLoughery et al 3 in this issue of the Journal adds to our understanding of the menstrual experience as it relates to menstrual blood loss (MBL) and the absorptive capacities of a variety of menstrual products. Consistent with women’s health research in general, menstruation-focused research has been, and continues to be, underrepresented in the medical literature. A PubMed search of “menstrual blood” resulted in one publication between 1941 and 1950, followed by a steady increase to and plateau of only 400 publications in the last several decades, during which time there were approximately 10 000 publications related to …

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  • Contributors NT co-authored the article and provided intellectual input. OK co-authored the article and provided intellectual input. PDB co-authored the article and provided germinative ideas.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.