Period poverty, characterized by the lack of access to menstrual products, hygiene facilities, waste management, and education, adversely affects numerous women, leading to both physiological issues and emotional stress. The prevailing stigma surrounding menstruation further discourages open conversations, particularly concerning the period leading up to menarche. Premenstrual symptoms encompass a range of mood, behavioral, and physical indications that cyclically occur before menstruation, subsiding after the menstrual period in women of reproductive age. While most females experience only mild discomfort, approximately 5% to 8% grapple with moderate-to-severe symptoms, causing considerable distress and functional impairment that can impact personal, social, and professional aspects of their lives. Although premenstrual symptoms have been acknowledged for a long time, specific diagnostic criteria have only been defined recently. The terminology for premenstrual disorders has undergone significant changes over the years, evolving from "menses moodiness" in the 18th century to "premenstrual tension" in the early 19th century, culminating in the term "premenstrual syndrome" in the 1950s. While some discomfort prior to menses is common, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to a subset of women experiencing symptoms severe enough to impact daily activities and functioning. Late luteal dysphoric disorder (now known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD) represents the most severe form of PMS, characterized by substantial impairment in women’s functioning and perceived quality of life, often prompting them to seek treatment.
PLATO explores menarche, menstrual disorders and period poverty using a multi-workstream approach. The international arm of the project will commence in 2024
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