“Life is much more difficult to manage during periods”: autistic experiences of menstruation

Robyn Steward, Laura Crane, Eilish Mairi Roy, Anna Remington, Elizabeth Pellicano*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)
    127 Downloads (Pure)


    Although menarche and menstruation are perceived to be overwhelmingly negative events for developmentally-disabled women, women’s health issues remain under-researched in autism. Here, we conducted a preliminary investigation of the experiences of post-menarcheal autistic (n = 123) and non-autistic (n = 114) respondents to a brief online survey. Although autistic respondents reported many overlapping issues and experiences with non-autistic respondents, they also highlighted distinct—and sometimes-distressing—issues relating to menstruation, especially a cyclical amplification of autistic-related challenges, including sensory differences and difficulties with regulating emotion and behavior, which had a significant, negative impact on their lives. These initial findings call for systematic research on the potential causes, correlates and consequences of menstrual-related problems in autistic individuals—across the spectrum and the lifespan.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4287–4292
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
    Issue number12
    Early online date7 Jul 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2018. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • autism
    • women’s health
    • menstruation
    • menarche
    • self-regulation
    • sensory sensitivities


    Dive into the research topics of '“Life is much more difficult to manage during periods”: autistic experiences of menstruation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this