Apple Women’s Health Study releases data to ‘destigmatize menstruation’

The Apple Women’s Health Study team at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health today released a preliminary study update (“Menstrual symptom data can help end period stigma”), offering pioneering scientific insights on women and their menstrual symptoms, made possible through the innovative research methodology of the Research app. The update, based on a cohort of 10,000 participants and inclusive of varying ages and races across the US, highlights how large-scale, longitudinal research on menstruation can help advance the science around women’s health and destigmatize menstruation.

Preliminary data from the Apple Women’s Health Study highlights how large-scale, longitudinal research on menstruation can help advance the science around women’s health and destigmatize menstruation.
Preliminary data from the Apple Women’s Health Study highlights how large-scale, longitudinal research on menstruation can help advance the science around women’s health and destigmatize menstruation.

Many physicians regard women’s menstrual cycles as an important window into their overall health, but the topic is notably under-researched. Medical research on menstruation has often been limited to studies of smaller sizes, which are not representative of the broader population. Without substantial scientific data, women’s menstrual symptoms have historically lent themselves to dismissal, or have even been minimized as overreaction or oversensitivity.

Through the Research app, the Apple Women’s Health Study invites women across the US to contribute to research simply by using their iPhone, and Apple Watch if they have one. The landmark study allows for collection of a comprehensive set of cycle tracking and other health data, strengthened through participant surveys, from individuals across various stages of their life, varying races, and throughout all US states and territories. Participants control the data types shared with the study, with transparency into how the data will be used for the purposes of the study.

Through the Research app, the Apple Women’s Health Study allows for collection of a comprehensive set of cycle tracking and other health data, strengthened through participant surveys, from individuals across various stages of their life, varying races, and throughout all US states and territories.
Through the Research app, the Apple Women’s Health Study allows for collection of a comprehensive set of cycle tracking and other health data, strengthened through participant surveys, from individuals across various stages of their life, varying races, and throughout all US states and territories.

Harvard Chan School researchers’ preliminary analysis of data, from a cohort of the first 10,000 participants to enroll in the study and respond to a demographics survey, validates women’s experiences of a wide range of menstrual cycle symptoms including some that are less commonly known or discussed. The most frequently tracked symptoms were abdominal cramps, bloating, and tiredness, all of which were experienced by more than 60 percent of participants who logged symptoms. More than half of the participants who logged symptoms reported acne and headaches. Some less widely recognized symptoms, like diarrhea and sleep changes, were tracked by 37 percent of participants logging symptoms.

Initial analysis also suggests these symptom trends hold true across a wide range of demographics, including age, race, and geographic location. For example, across Black, Hispanic, and white participants, the most commonly reported symptoms were abdominal cramps, bloating, and tiredness.

“Our study will help to achieve a more gender equal future, in which all people with menstrual cycles have access to the health services and menstrual products needed to feel safe and empowered,” said Dr. Michelle Williams, Dean of the Faculty at Harvard Chan School. “By building a robust generalizable knowledge base, the Apple Women’s Health Study is helping us understand factors that make menstruation difficult and isolating for some people, in addition to elevating awareness of a monthly experience shared by women around the world.”

“These findings take us a step further in validating and destigmatizing period symptoms,” said Dr. Sumbul Desai, Apple’s vice president of Health. “Harvard Chan researchers are leaders in the field on this critically important subject, and we couldn’t be more proud to support and help scale their efforts through the Research app.”

The study team will further investigate the preliminary data and submit a detailed analysis, including a breakdown of methods, for peer review and journal publication.
“The preliminary data we are sharing today suggests women across the country have a shared experience of a wide range of menstrual symptoms, and that this natural monthly occurrence is something we should be having more discussions about,” said Dr. Shruthi Mahalingaiah, one of the study’s principal investigators and an assistant professor of environmental, reproductive, and women’s health at the Harvard Chan School. “We look forward to continuing our work to create a long-term, foundational data set over time, which can inspire more research going forward.”

Source: Apple Inc.

MacDailyNews Note: The Apple Women’s Health Study is a first-of-its-kind research study that aims to advance the understanding of menstrual cycles and how they relate to various health conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome, infertility, and menopausal transition. iPhone and Apple Watch users across America can download the Research app to enroll in the study, conducted in partnership with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Participants must be at least 18 years old (at least 19 years old in Alabama and Nebraska and at least 21 years old in Puerto Rico) and have menstruated at least once in their life.

33 Comments

  1. This article fits right into today’s World-Wide Women’s Day.
    “The most frequently tracked symptoms were abdominal cramps, bloating, and tiredness, [less frequently were] acne and headaches [and]…diarrhea and sleep changes,…”

    But I am sure that some misogynist Rightwing regular readers must feel left out: “Hey, what about me as an oppressed White male? I get comperable male-based symptoms. Where is my male-specific app? No one cares about me. So I call on my allies: Bugaloo Boys, Oath Keepers, and other oppressed White Supremacists to once again storm Capital Hill to reclaim our diminished White male privileges and lost rights. Let’s do this! Let’s do this now!”

    1. “Feeling left out”? Calling on the “allies.”

      What a stretched and stupid association/conclusion to an article and content providing no precedent for your juvi tripe.

      There’s some severe misogyny happening in our World and The Brite Boy in the House called it “cultural differences” and you say what?

      1. The term “men struation” is an obvious attempt by men to appropriate the value and goodness in the act which some women do that is sometimes eroneously, “menstruation”. How can it be menstruation if women do it? But recent scientific advances now permit men to menstruate. Many men like this option as it allows them to become closer if they time their cycles with their partner’s cycles, whether their partner is a man, a woman or a different gender or even a major appliance.

          1. Only a Democrat familiar with the excess genders clan explain how Major Appliances should be able to compete in track meets and to be intimate with the former mayor or South Bend or the husband of Barack Obama.

      2. He’s making a joke about how all words beginning with or including the word “men or man” or having some sort of masculine undertone are deemed “sexist” but the leftist community.

        Of course that way of thinking is idiotic… (despite it being common thinking amongst some)… that was the reason for the joke

        1. I take it you are suggesting that I am suggesting all leftist are idiotic dolt loons with less crainial power than a manbro or a mynstrual absorption device??

        2. “All words?” How about “mental” which has the root “men” in it? The leftist community has not deemed “mental” to be sexist. So where would the joke be in “mental?” How about menticide or manure or manna?

  2. we have FUNNY diets. not at all reflective of natural, plant-based, unadulterated and seasonal foods. as a result, and this goes for men and for women, a normally occurring yeast can easily proliferate out-of-balance, in the nose, throat, mouth, gut, vagina, yeah, i have one of those. this yeast produces toxins. yeast and their toxins can move through an unhealthy intestinal wall and into the blood and you won’t know it and you will continue to attribute symptoms to a plethora of other causes. what to do? two things: learn about candida and vote conservative. yeah, vote conservative and bring balance to the world. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
    and, another thing, I’ve never ever felt my menstrual cycle was anything but beautiful and natural and healthy AND, who, besides Harvard fatheads would want you to think menstrual cycles carry a stigma. HEY HARVARD fatheads: this is 2021, boys are girls and girls are boys. THERE IS NO fkg menstrual stigma. I don’t trust any institute of higher learning that advocates for censorship of speech and for penalizing faculty and students who express conservative opinions AS YOU HAVE DONE. that’s right, AS YOU HAVE DONE !!!!!!

    sorry mdn, i’m not a wall flower. i’m a mac enthusiast and i think different and i even admit when i’m wrong and, holding conservative values, that rarely ever happens.

    1. Please spread your manure elsewhere, solome.

      There was a time when conservatism represented self-restraint, environmental and resource conservation, personal and fiscal responsibility. The usual posters here claiming to be conservative offer no values whatsoever except greed and hubris. EVERY EFFING DAY on a GODDAMNED TECH BLOG. Enough already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      You are so proud to be part of the neocon club — above claiming alternatively that highly educated Harvard educated individuals are somehow the bad guys (???) then you flip flop to “there is no __ stigma”. Too many beers today? You can’t seriously defend either position.

      Apple found that there was stigma. I have personally witnessed it — when a boss attempted to chastise a female coworker of mine for taking what he deemed too long a bathroom break, I stood up for her and explained in no uncertain terms what the male boss wasn’t understanding. Apple obviously sees similar unfair treatment and took action to help solve that problem. If you don’t agree, clearly you didn’t bother to look at any of the evidence that Apple and others have brought forth. That’s what neocons do. They judge others from a position of ignorance. Please just go away so we don’t have to hear it on a supposed Mac website.

      1. Poor baby, cry us a river.

        ” That’s what neocons do. They judge others from a position of ignorance.”

        Unknowingly, you just described idiot EXTREME leftists with no brains AOC leading the charge. And BTW, PROUD neoconservative here…

      2. Seriously? cream puff. STIGMA lives on in the mind of the blameless ignorant. ex: victimhood lives on in the perception of those believing themselves to be a victim. IF you believe yourself to be weak and ineffectual, then, YOU ARE.
        I understand myself to be free enough in thought to realize myself empowered, NOT burdened, NOT encumbered with crippling and oppressive ideas that were birthed in the minds of those who’ve set themselves above the poor and humble that they may subjugate, control, and who seek to advantage themselves at the expense of others.
        You are wrong when you say conservatism represents or should represent self-restraint. the time for sitting down is over. I, for one, will not accept the constant nonsense from the far-left looney crowd, from the nancy’s in DC. Continue to practice self-restraint if you will and find yourself and your constitutional freedoms taken away from you. AND, as harvard is concerned, anyone, especially those ‘highly’, mightily educated can be led by the nose with twisted logic if they’ve contructed their enlightened world view in an academic labyrinth. letter of the law, blah, blah, blah
        I say there is no stigma because there is none. I will not bottle-feed the idea. I will not assist whatever incorrect understanding my boss may have by responding in kind. You might call it a conscious process of cleansing my world view of foolishness and madness. I will tell him like I’m telling you. female lives matter. get over it.

        1. Keep beating your chest, gorilla. Soooooooooo impressive.

          You preach a lot but you don’t listen to anyone else’s point of view. We’re so happy that you are proud to be a dickhead.

  3. Nobody is stigmatizing mestration as something that is bad. Apple is just bowing to those on the left who have a burning need to convey that they are somehow deeply oppressed even though they are not.

        1. not gonna work prick.

          THAT ‘How could we forget’ post was NOT me
          some asshat, hiding behind a keyboard is now, hiding behind MY name.

          leftist democrats are destroying America and, that ‘gorilla’ epithet, so very disappointing and typical.

            1. this is my last post, here. THIS is a perfect example of why most Americans deplore the left. WHOever you are, you have now posted under my name and you have posted under the name of GoeB. THIS is what the left engages in: subterfuge, lies, twisting of truth and fact, betrayal of honor, betrayal of country, gratuitous violence like the berkeley professor who hits a man in the head with a bike lock, like the burning of black, family-owned, small business, like the constant misrepresentation of intent. THIS is why people around the world despise and condemn the violent left.

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