Equipping today’s girls with ovulatory-menstrual health literacy

Article by Felicity Roux
Curtin University, Western Australia / 27 March 2019

Felicity Roux, a PhD candidate at Curtin University, is developing a program to equip Years 9-10 girls with the skills to understand their ovulatory-menstrual cycles from a whole-person perspective (i.e. spiritual, physical, intellectual, social and emotional). From 1 May 2019, she is gathering a group of experts in healthcare and education to comment on what this program should cover and how it should be delivered.

Total time commitment is about 4-6 hours, spread over 3-4 months. Your comments will be invited via Word tracking. Communication is by email, with no meetings as your identity is kept anonymous. If you are a secondary school teacher (health, science, religious studies), curriculum professional, Head of Year 9/10, nurse, psychologist, counsellor or pastoral carer, then please contact [email protected] by 30 April 2019 for more details.

What is the Research Project’s Ovulatory-Menstrual (OM) Health Literacy Program for Girls all about?

The project aim is to develop and assess an OM health literacy program for teenage girls. Research has found that over 90% of teenage girls had period cramps, and 26% of girls regularly missed school because of this.1 Abnormal uterine bleeding and premenstrual syndrome can also manifest and impact their quality of life.2 Other research has found that the natural increase in body weight needed for the first bleed is linked to some girls worrying about eating, body image and trying to lose weight.3 It is important for a girl to understand her cycles so that she knows if she is healthy and explain difficulties about her OM health to health care providers. A Delphi panel of health care professionals (such as doctors, nurses, counsellors), educational professionals (such as teachers, curriculum consultants), public health professionals and women’s interest specialists will be convened to develop this program.

Who is doing this project?

The project is being run by a research team from Curtin University: Felicity Roux (the student researcher), her main supervisor Associate Professor Sharyn Burns and Dr Jun Chih and Dr Jacqui Hendriks. The results of this research project will be used by Felicity Roux to obtain a Doctor of Philosophy at Curtin University. This project has Human Research Ethics Committee approval from Curtin University (HREC approval HRE2018-0101).

References

  1. Parker, M., Sneddon, A., & Arbon, P. (2010). The menstrual disorder of teenagers (MDOT) study: determining typical menstrual patterns and menstrual disturbance in a large population‐based study of Australian teenagers. BJOG, 117(2), 185-192.
  2. Nur Azurah, A.G., Sanci, L., Moore, E., & Grover, S. (2013). The quality of life of adolescents with menstrual problems. Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, 26(2), 102-1082.
  3. Abraham, S., Boyd, C., Lal, M., Luscombe, G., & Taylor, A. (2009). Time since menarche, weight gain and body image awareness among adolescent girls: onset of eating disorders. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, 30(2), 89-94.