Finally, a shows what those of us who menstruate already know: there is no such thing as “period brain.” According to researchers in Switzerland and Germany who collected data on 88 women, there is “no consistent association between women’s hormone levels, in particular, estrogen and progesterone, and attention, working memory, and cognitive bias.”
The study included both healthy women and women with endocrine conditions, primarily endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The women were given a series of so researchers could assess their visual memory, attention, and executive functions. set this study apart from others on the topic: the sample size was larger than usual and the women were followed through two consecutive menstrual cycles. Researchers found no replicable data from the first cycle to the second; meaning, there were no universal changes to women’s thinking because of hormonal changes.
Professor Brigitte Leeners, the lead researcher the findings:
Although there might be individual exceptions, women’s cognitive performance is in general not disturbed by hormonal changes occurring with the menstrual cycle.
The study’s findings challenge offensive stereotypes that women because hormonal changes before and during menstruation impact the way we think, or that we are illogical and unable to contain our “rage” when menstruating. No woman is immune from these absurd claims, in the campaign of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
As shares, the results may not be a surprise to “anyone with a period and a brain” but they do bump up against when it comes to menstruation and women’s cognition or behavior:
The idea that menstruation makes women “crazy” has persisted since Ancient Greek times, when Hippocrates suggested women’s wombs , causing depression and madness.
By the mid-1800s, doctors had started writing articles linking “insanity” to periods. In 1840, a French physician argued that menstruating women’s “intellectual capacities were diminished, and they were subject to very peculiar caprices, to whims of character and taste,” to the historian Michael Stolberg.
The study comes at a good time in the growing “menstrual equity” movement, which aims to fight and address what some call a critical . Lack of access to menstrual hygiene and supplies impacts girls’ and women’s education and work opportunities as well as health. In Nepal, young women have from being isolated in “menstrual huts.” It’s also an economic issue. Most cities and states in the United States (with the of some) still tax tampons as “luxury items” even though they are, obviously, a necessity, and extremely for women who are homeless or incarcerated.
This study is read than a collection of scientific findings. It’s evidence that women’s bodies are not detrimental to our professional lives. And, sure, women already knew that. But it’s important to discuss. As Abigail Jones in Newsweek, “We’ll never have gender equality if we don’t talk about periods.”