Online Program

Creating a shift in menstrual cycle attitudes & practices: Celebrating cycles through education and advocacy in various health settings

Monday, November 2, 2015

Keely Rees, PhD, MCHES, Health Education and Health Promotion, University of Wisconsin La Crosse, La Crosse, WI
Casey Tobin, PhD, LPC, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin La Crosse, La Crosse, WI
Celebrating Cycles provides health educators and practitioners with  background, tools and talking points to create a cultural shift in how our culture thinks and feels about the menstrual cycle.  This session provides historical, cultural, psychological and physiological aspects of how the menstrual cycle is viewed and understood across the lifespan. This research addresses the question of whether or not women should have natural menstruations, or participate in the preventing or delaying of menstruation.  Practitioners should recognize and understand the dichotomy in society’s attitudes and experiences with menstrual cycles.  Addressing the medicalization, influential social attitudes, psychological and emotional responses, and the environmental concerns with having and suppressing menstrual cycles is critical in sexuality education. This session engages the practitioner in a learning environment and allows them to develop useful tools and skills that can be implemented in their settings.  The authors will be presenting the findings of an analysis of women and men’s perceptions and beliefs about menstrual cycles using the Menstrual Joy Questionnaire (Delany, Lupton, Toft, 1987). This research and session utilized the Community Empowerment Model (Wallerstein, 1991) and opens a dialogue for individuals and communities on a once taboo topic. This research identifies the historical and cultural nuances of menstrual cycles to include a variety of perspectives especially across class, race, and ethnicity. This workshop allows practitioners to tailor their materials to the needs and capacities of their populations. Health literacy and cultural perspectives are important factors within this workshop and are a central theme throughout it.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify the historical, cultural, physiological and psychological nuances of the menstrual cycle. Demonstrate tools appropriate for their populations/setting and establish an environment to more positively embrace the female menstrual cycle. Differeniate various medical, social, health, psychological and environmental issues related to preventing or delaying the menstrual cycle.

Keyword(s): Women's Health, Sexuality

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My 18+ years of research and teaching includes exercise prescription and behaviors during and after pregnancy, social support for pre-conception and prenatal nutrition, tobacco use during pregnancy, and sexuality education & advocacy for youth and parents. I have taught and advocated for comprehensive sexuality education since 1997 in community-based organizations, school districts, college campuses. I have taught Our Whole Lives since 2005, a faith-based comprehensive sexuality education program, in WI.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.