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Global Research Update #25

Schlievert et al., 2019: Effect of non-absorbent intravaginal menstrual/contraceptive products on Staphylococcus aureus and production of the superantigen TSST-1. Vitro tests conducted to evaluate three types of tampons, including (1) stationary flask, (2) shake flask, and (3) tampon sac and non-absorbent products such as menstrual cups, contraceptive diaphragms, and menstrual discs for effect on Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Toxic shock syndrome toxin 1 (TSST-1). Findings: Product composition did not affect bacterial growth or TSST-1 production. Tampons showed no effect on S. aureus growth, but they showed enhanced TSST-1 production as a function of trapped oxygen in stationary cultures and tampon sacs but not in shake flasks. The non-absorbent products also showed no enhanced S. aureus growth or TSST-1 production.

Thomson et al., 2019: What’s missing in MHM? Moving beyond hygiene in menstrual hygiene management. This article argues that Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM)’s definition should not only mainly focus on provision of technical interventions like providing menstrual products and adequate sanitation for menstruators, but other key factors such as pain management, the wider community within which menstruators exists, security and safety of menstruators, taboos and stigma surrounding menstruation, transgender men and others who menstruate, groups facing specific challenges related to menstruation, the roles of other sectors beyond WASH and Education in MHM should be included in the MHM policy to ensure menstruators’ rights, dignity, and well-being.  They trace the evolution of the concept MHM, from a UNICEF meeting in 2005, noting the usefulness of the start in the relatively uncontroversial concept of water, sanitation and hygiene sector, to a wider understanding, including wider social acceptance of what may be deeply held attitudes. They explain this based on their survey in Nepal, where they find that: ‘Although 60% of the girls we surveyed knew it was illegal, girls who knew this were just as likely to practice chhaupadi as those who did not.’ 

Valiaveettil et al., 2019: High prevalence of abnormal menstruation among women living with HIV in Canada. A cross-sectional study was conducted to measure the prevalence and correlates of abnormal menstruation among 1422 women aged 16 and over living with HIV in British Columbia (BC), Ontario, and Quebec in Canada. Findings: Over half (56%) of women living with HIV reported abnormal menstruation. Abnormal menstruation was associated with genetic, socio-behavioral factors (province of residence and current smoking), Hepatitis B coinfection, and current ART use.  The prevalence of abnormal menstruation was higher among women who reside in BC compared to residents of Ontario and Quebec.

Arafa et al., 2019: Association of sleep duration and insomnia with menstrual symptoms among young women in Upper Egypt. A cross-sectional analytical study carried out among 4122 young women aged 12 to 25 years and residing in Beni-Suef City, Egypt to detect the association between sleep problems and menstrual symptoms among young women. Findings: Young women who reported sleep < 8 and < 7 h/day had more premenstrual spasm than those who slept ≥ 8 h/day. 11.6% of the young women had insomnia during the previous 6 months. Compared with those without insomnia, young women with insomnia were more likely to report premenstrual spasm, nervousness, fatigue, headache, breast pain, weight gain, Gastrointestinal disturbance, and dysmenorrhea. No conclusive association was identified between sleeping hours and menstrual disorders.

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