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Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2016 Jun;21(3):242-50. doi: 10.3109/13625187.2016.1154144. Epub 2016 Mar 24.

Women's preferences for menstrual bleeding frequency: results of the Inconvenience Due to Women's Monthly Bleeding (ISY) survey.

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a Research Centre for Reproductive Medicine, Gynaecological Endocrinology and Menopause, IRCCS San Matteo Foundation, Department of Clinical, Surgical, Diagnostic and Paediatric Sciences , University of Pavia , Pavia , Italy ;
b Gynmed Ambulatorium, Vienna, Austria ;
c Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden ;
d Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology , APHP Tenon Hospital, Pierre and Marie Curie University , Paris , France ;
e Department of Gynaecology and Gynaecological Oncology , AKH-Wien , Vienna , Austria ;
f Private Medical Gynecology Clinic , Paris , France ;
g Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology , Araba University Hospital , Vitoria-Gasteiz , Spain ;
h Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology , Bielanski Hospital , Warsaw , Poland ;
i Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology , Citadelle Hospital, Liège University , Liège , Belgium ;
j Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology , Infanta Sofía University Hospital , San Sebastián de los Reyes , Madrid , Spain.



Our aim was to assess the level of inconvenience associated with monthly bleeding, determine how many women would prefer a bleeding frequency of less than once a month, and what would motivate their choice.


A 15-min quantitative online survey was carried out among 2883 women aged between 18 and 45 years in six European countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Poland and Spain).


Of those surveyed, 1319 women used a combined hormonal contraceptive (CHC group) and 1564 used a non-hormonal contraceptive or no contraceptive (non-HC group). The menstrual period was significantly longer (5 vs. 4.5 days), heavier (16% vs. 8% heavy menstrual flow) and associated with more symptoms (6.1 vs. 5.6) in non-HC users than in CHC users (p < 0.0001). More than half of the women in each group reported pelvic pain, bloating/swelling, mood swings and irritability, but the rate was significantly higher in the non-HC group. Given the choice, 57% of women in both groups said they would opt for longer intervals between periods. Sexuality, social life, work and sporting activities were key factors affecting their decision.


The majority of women would prefer to have menstrual periods less than once a month, with a frequency ranging from once every 3 months to no periods at all. This can be explained by the desire to avoid the unpleasant aspects of menstruation and its negative impact on private and professional life.


Attitudes; menstrual bleeding; menstrual symptoms; oral contraception; preferences

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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