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Apple, Harvard release early data from women's health study to help 'destigmatize menstruation'

The study aims to advance the science around women's health.


Apple and Harvard on Tuesday released a preliminary study update on the Apple Women's Health Study, offering insights on women and their menstrual symptoms. The study could help advance the science around women's health and help destigmatize menstruation, according to researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. 

"The preliminary data we are sharing today suggests women across the country have a shared experience of a wide range of menstrual symptoms, and that this natural monthly occurrence is something we should be having more discussions about," said Dr. Shruthi Mahalingaiah, one of the study's principal investigators, in a release

The data released on Tuesday is based on a cohort of 10,000 women of varying ages and races across the US who participated in the study through Apple's Research app on iPhones and Apple Watches. Of the participants who logged menstrual cycle symptoms, 60% reported abdominal cramps, bloating and tiredness, according to the release. More than half reported acne and headaches, while some less widely recognized symptoms, like diarrhea and sleep changes, were tracked by 37% of participants. Initial analysis suggests these symptom trends "hold true across a wide range of demographics, including age, race, and geographic location," according to the researchers. 

"Our study will help to achieve a more gender equal future, in which all people with menstrual cycles have access to the health services and menstrual products needed to feel safe and empowered," said Dr. Michelle Williams, dean of the faculty at Harvard Chan School, in a release

The research team said it will continue to investigate the preliminary data from the Apple Women's Health Study and plans to submit a detailed analysis for peer review and journal publication. 

Apple earlier this month released results from its Hearing Study -- which also used the Research app -- conducted in collaboration with the University of Michigan School of Health. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.