Have you ever heard the word menophobia? It is a type of phobia, in this case, the phobia (intense and irrational fear) of menstruation.In this article we will see the characteristics of this peculiar phobia, what exactly is feared with it and, finally, what are its symptoms, causes and possible treatments.
Menophobia: what is it?
Menophobia is the phobia of menstruation (rule) . This fear can be extrapolated to the fact of bleeding, but also to the associated symptoms of the period (pain, mood swings, hormonal changes …). Thus, it is a type of phobia related to other types of fear, such as fear of pain and / or fear of blood (hemophobia or hemophobia).
Another curious fact of menophobia is that, in the case of men, the fact of suffering it is related, in some cases, with the fear of women.
Characteristics of menstruation
Also called minor, rule or period, as most of us will know, it is a bleeding that occurs once a month in women (since the first rule comes, between 8 and 15 years, approximately , until they have menopause, between 45 and 55 years old).
During this period, which lasts between 2 and 7 days, women bleed from the vagina. The amount of blood varies greatly from one woman to another , and the bleeding is not the same the first day as the second, third, etc. Menstruation occurs because the egg produced by the woman is expelled from the ovary to be fertilized and not fertilized (that is, pregnancy does not occur).
Thus, in menophobia there is an intense, irrational and disproportionate fear of menstruation; It can happen to both men and women. However, it should be noted that it is a rare phobia (yes it is true that there may be many fears associated with it, especially among women, and that this is quite frequent, but they are cases that could hardly be classified as phobias ).
That is, cases of menophobia, diagnosable as such (with all the symptoms that it entails and the fulfillment of the diagnostic criteria), are rather few.
- You may be interested: ” Types of Anxiety Disorders and their characteristics“
Symptoms of menstruation phobia
What are the main symptoms of menophobia? As a specific phobia that is and, in the case of an anxiety disorder (according to the DSM-5), there are a series of diagnostic criteria (symptoms) specific to it, and that are mainly four:
- Disproportionate / Irrational Fear
- Avoidance of phobic stimulus
- Interference in daily life
- Duration of 6 months of symptoms, at a minimum.
Let’s see them with a little more detail.
1. Disproportionate / Irrational Fear
In menophobia, excessive fear may appear before different stimuli : bleeding itself (which is related to blood phobia [hemophobia or hemophobia]), painful symptoms associated with the rule and / or hormonal and mood changes that occur as a result of it.
That is, it is a complex phobia, because you can fear all these situations, or only one of them.
1.1. Fear of bleeding
Fear of blood, or bleeding, called hemophobia or hemophobia , may appear in menophobia. This could also be related to a sensitivity to disgust or a fear / disgust of staining clothes, for example.
- You may be interested: ” Blood phobia: everything there is to know about hemophobia“
1.2. Fear of pain
The fear of pain is something quite frequent, although it is necessary to insist that it is not the same to be afraid of something than to suffer a phobia. Phobias are anxiety disorders that cause real interference in daily functioning, as well as intense discomfort. That is, they are mental disorders, which incapacitate the person.
Thus, fear of pain is common, not only in menophobia, but in other types of phobia. In these cases, in the end, what the person fears is not so much the stimulus itself (in this case, menstruation), but the consequences (symptoms) of it, which would involve pain.
From always (also evolutionarily), pain (both physical and mental) has been something quite avoided by the human being, since it is a state that generates different emotions / feelings, such as rejection, fear … Thus, it is natural to think that people don’t want to suffer, and we don’t want to feel pain.
1.3. Fear of mood and / or hormonal changes
Another possible fear associated with menophobia is the intense fear of mood and / or hormonal changes generated by menstruation itself .
If as women, we know that before the arrival of menstruation (or during it), our hormonal cycle changes and, as a result, our mood and mood too, this can generate some discomfort and / or anxiety. In extreme cases (when this discomfort really interferes with our life), menophobia appears.
In menophobia, as in any other phobia, the phobic stimulus / situation is avoided. Although in this case this symptom is particular, since menstruation cannot be avoided (unless artificial methods are used, such as birth control pills without rest).
So the person with menophobia could use any of these methods to avoid the rule.
3. Interference in life
The above symptoms cause interference in the person’s daily life, as well as in their normal functioning . In addition, many times there is also a significant discomfort in the person.
4. Duration of 6 months
Finally, the duration of the symptoms of any specific phobia should be at least 6 months (always according to the DSM-5).
The causes of menophobia can be several: related to another specific phobia, this being commonly hemophobia or hematophobia (blood phobia), related to a traumatic or highly embarrassing event for the person (for example having stained in public and fear returning to experience it, having experienced intense pain, excessively intense mood swings, etc.), etc.
On the other hand, in the case of women, the fact of having had very strong and painful rules may also lead to the onset of menophobia (because of this intense fear of suffering pain).
Regarding the psychological therapy of menophobia, remember that the treatment that is usually used in specific phobias is of two types: exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy . These two options are highly effective, although exposure therapy, a little more.
In exposure therapy, the person with menophobia will be exposed to the stimuli he fears so much. In the case of blood it can be simple, although in the case of pain and mood swings, the hierarchy of items will be more difficult to perform (because they are more “abstract” or difficult to specify stimuli).
As for cognitive behavioral therapy, it aims to modify the erroneous beliefs and dysfunctional / irrational thoughts associated with phobic stimulation, in this case menstruation, the pain that originates, the blood itself, the fact of staining in public or Mood changes it causes. This objective is mainly worked through cognitive restructuring techniques.