Indexed on: 16 Jul '10Published on: 16 Jul '10Published in: Women's Health Issues
To determine military women's attitudes toward menstruation and menstrual suppression with oral contraceptives in the deployed environment.A cross-sectional descriptive design with the administration of the Menstrual Attitude Questionnaire (MAQ) and the 55-item Military Women's Attitudes Towards Menstrual Suppression Scale (MWATMS) to a convenience sample (n = 278) of women in the U.S. Army with deployment experience.The MAQ's five subscales' mean scores ranged from 3.4 (+/-1.11) to 5.1 (+/-1.06), indicating neutral to moderate attitudes toward menstruation. Measurement development on the MWATMS produced a nine-item scale with three components: stress effects, benefits to self, and environmental barriers.Menstrual attitudes were generally neutral in this sample; however, military women favor menstrual suppression during deployment owing to the effects of stress during deployment, benefits that suppression would provide, and the barriers to menstrual hygiene in the deployed environment. Women who perceived menstruation as bothersome and debilitating had positive attitudes toward menstrual suppression. These findings can contribute to appropriate predeployment women's health care and improve the readiness for deployment in female soldiers. Providers should educate women on the risks and benefits of menstrual suppression methods and provide guidance on impact that the deployed environment can have on their menstrual experiences.