Menstrual and oral contraceptive use patterns among deployed military women by race and ethnicity

Patricia A. Deuster, Nicole Powell-Dunford, Mark S. Crago, Amanda S. Cuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Menstrual cycle patterns and concerns and oral contraceptive use in the combat environment were examined in Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic, and AfricanAmerican women to guide the development of educational resources for women soldiers. An anonymous, questionnaire was completed by 455 U.S. Army women-Caucasian (CA: n = 141); Asian (AS: n = 67); Hispanic (HIS: n = 67); and African American (AA: n = 184) to compare menstrual patterns and concerns, dysmenorrhea, and oral contraceptive patterns. Total menstrual concerns were significantly lower among AfricanAmericans relative to Caucasians, Asians, or Hispanics; Asians and Hispanics reported the greatest concern. Overall, secondary amenorrhea was noted by 14.9% of women. Severe dysmenorrheal rates were significantly lower in African American (6.1%) compared to Caucasian (11.6%), Asian (20.9%) and Hispanic (19.7%) women. Asian women reported missing less work-only 9.3% with moderate to severe dysmenorrhea missed work compared to 25.1% of all other women. Only 9.2% of women with mild, compared to 25.8% with moderate to severe (OR = 3.44; p ≤ 0.0001) dysmenorrhea sought health care. Less than 50% of women took oral contraceptive, and less than half of those women took oral contraceptive continuously. African Americans seemed to experience menstruation as less bothersome than others, despite no difference in the proportion with menstrual irregularities,mean duration of menses, and/or mean time between cycles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-54
Number of pages14
JournalWomen and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast tenderness
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Health care
  • Missed work
  • Oral contraceptive agents
  • Race/ethnicity


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