Menstruation During Deployment: Women's Attitudes Towards Menstrual Suppression


Name: Lori Trego

Rank: MAJ

Organization: University of Washington

Performance Site: Madigan Army Medical Center, Fort Lewis, WA; University of Washington, Seattle WA

Year Published: 2006

Abstract Status: Final


There is a current trend in contraceptive care for suppression of menstruation with continuous oral contraceptives. Despite the paucity of research on the experience of menstruation in the military population, it has been suggested by advocates of menstrual suppression that women in the military would benefit from this medical therapeutic. While military care providers are reporting that women seek continuous oral contraceptives for menstrual suppression prior to deployment, it is unknown how women's menstrual experiences during deployment influence this practice. When considering women's menstrual health, the deployed environment is a factor that may prompt changes in health practices surrounding menstruation, such as managing menstruation through menstrual suppression. This issue is compatible with the TSNRP research priority for "deployment health," as the results may enhance the health of deployed women. The purpose of this study is to develop and test a military-unique measure of the experience of menstruation and associated attitudes towards menstrual suppression in a deployed environment, the Military Women's Attitudes Towards Menstrual Suppression (MWATMS) scale. The specific aims of this study are to establish the reliability and validity of the MWATMS. Methods of instrument development and testing will be utilized. The sample, consisting of military women who are preparing to deploy and who have returned from deployment, will complete the MWATMS, as well as complete two additional established instruments for the purpose of construct validity. Reliability will be evaluated with internal consistency tests and validity evaluated with content, face, construct, convergent and discriminant validity testing.An understanding of the experience of menstruation and the use of oral contraceptives to suppress menses can assist military care providers in anticipating women's health needs during deployment. Women's health providers may be better able to address menstrual management with women as appropriate during pre-deployment physical exams, offer appropriate management methods if desired and better prepare women for their menstrual needs during deployment.


Final report is available on NTRL: