Back in 2019, Apple associates with the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at NIH for their study of women’s health. The initiative aims to uncover information about people’s health in relation to the menstrual cycle by collecting data through the Research app for iPhone and Apple Watch. Now the tech giant has published his first dataset, which came from Analyzing menstrual cycle symptoms followed by 6,141 of the first 10,000 participants who registered to participate.
Based on the results, the most common symptom is abdominal cramps reported by 83% of participants. Next come bloating and fatigue, reported by 63% and 61% of participants respectively. They also reported acne, headaches, mood swings, changes in appetite, lower back pain, and breast tenderness.
During this time, the rarest symptoms include diarrhea and sleep changes (37 percent each), as well as constipation and nausea (32 percent each). The least followed symptoms were hot flashes and ovulation pain, which were only reported by 22% and 20% of participants, respectively. Additionally, Apple and partners analyzed reported menstrual symptoms by age, ethnicity, and location of participants to show similarities and differences in demographics.
The team hopes the study can remove the stigma surrounding menstruation and normalize the experience of symptoms so that women, girls and people with menstrual cycles are not dissuaded from seeking treatment for period pain. “By expanding knowledge,” said the results announcement, “the study helps to understand the factors that make menstruation difficult and isolating for some people.” This includes cycle irregularity, extreme pain, or ovarian cysts. Anyone interested in contributing to the study can still do so by downloading the Research app, even if they must be at least 18 years old to participate.