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01.12.2017 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BioPsychoSocial Medicine 1/2017

Relationship between menstruation status and work conditions in Japan

BioPsychoSocial Medicine > Ausgabe 1/2017
Mariko Nishikitani, Mutsuhiro Nakao, Shinobu Tsurugano, Mariko Inoure, Eiji Yano



Menstrual problems can significantly impact daily and work life. In reaction to a shrinking population, the Japanese government is encouraging more women to participate in the labor force. Actual success in achieving this aim, however, is limited. Specifically, participation in the workforce by women during their reproductive years is impacted by their health, which involves not only work conditions, but also traditional family circumstances. Therefore, it is important to further assess and gather more information about the health status of women who work during their reproductive years in Japan. Specifically, women’s health can be represented by menstruation status, which is a pivotal indicator. In this study, we assessed the association between short rest periods in work intervals and menstruation and other health status indicators among female workers in Japan.


Study participants were recruited from the alumnae of a university, which provided a uniform educational level. All 9864 female alumnae were asked to join the survey and 1630 (17%) accepted. The final sample of study participants (n = 505) were aged 23–43 years, had maintained the same job status for at least 1 year, and were not shift workers, had no maternal status, and did not lack any related information. The participants were divided into two groups according to interval time, with 11 h between end of work and resumption of daily work as a benchmark. This interval time was based on EU regulations and the goal set by the government of Japan. Health outcomes included: menstrual cycle, dysmenorrhoea symptoms, anxiety regarding health, and satisfaction in terms of health. Multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted to estimate the odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for health indexes in association with interval time by adjusting for confounding variables that included both psychosocial and biological factors.


We compared the health status of women in the workforce with and without a sufficient interval time of 11 h/day. Workers who had a short interval time had a significantly higher prevalence of anxiety about health and dissatisfaction with their health. For menstruation status, only abnormal menstruation cycles were observed more often among workers in the short interval group than those of the long interval group. However, this association disappeared when biological confounding factors were adjusted in a multivariable regression model. Dysmenorrhea symptoms did not show a statistically significant association with short interval time.


This study found a significant association between a short interval time of less than 11 h/day and subjective health indicators and the menstrual health status of women in the workforce. Menstrual health was more affected by biological factors than social psychological factors. A long work time and short interval time could increase worker anxiety and dissatisfaction and may deteriorate the menstrual cycle.
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