‘We could be leading the way’ in support for women with menstrual disorders

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‘MUCH more’ could be done to protect Islanders with ‘distressing’ menstrual disorders, a local expert has said ahead of Women’s Health Day.

Jessica Pinel – a registered nutritionist, certified health coach, and founder of a one-to-one nutrition service specialising in fertility and period health – said she had noticed a ‘change’ in the culture and stigma around women’s health issues since she began offering classes on period health to secondary schools.

This was due, in large part, she said, to the government’s decision to make free period products available across the Island, a scheme which was recently expanded.

Miss Pinel said: ‘This shift in the government and providing free period products is opening up the conversation.’

She added: ‘However, there is so much more that could be done. We’ve only just scratched the surface.

‘In other countries there is legislation to protect people who have severe period issues such as PMS, PCOS and endometriosis.’

Premenstrual syndrome and polycystic ovary syndrome are severe menstrual disorders which Miss Pinel said could be ‘quite distressing for women’.

Endometriosis – an incurable condition where the lining of the uterus can grow outside the uterus – can ‘cause some really intense pain’, she added.

‘One-in-ten women have endometriosis, while one in four have PCOS. These conditions are super common.’

She continued: ‘There’s so much hype and force behind menopause that we have forgotten about that earlier stage of our life, period health and problems that occur due to our cycle.

‘We are creating legislation behind menopause to protect people in the workplace, but where is the legislation to protect people struggling with conditions like endometriosis?’

Last year, France launched a strategy to improve awareness, diagnosis and research into effective treatments for endometriosis, while supermarket giant Carrefour recently said it would allow female employees to take days off if they suffered from what can be a debilitating condition.

Miss Pinel said: ‘Potentially we have the scope to be pushing it further than the UK even and leading the way, because we are such a small island.’

To celebrate International Day of Action for Women’s Health on 28 May, she is participating in an ‘action-packed’ women’s health retreat at Château Vermont, where experts in gynaecological health, nutrition, exercise, and psychology will lead workshops.

Listen to the full conversation, and find out more, on Bailiwick Podcasts.

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