Theses Master's

The Effects of Climate Change on the Menstrual Health of Women and Girls in Rural Settings within Low-Income Countries

Moore, Emma

Climate change has been widely researched in relation to its real and potential impacts on the planet, animals, and humans, but little is known about the effect climate change has on women’s menstrual health. Climate disasters, extreme weather events, increasing temperatures and displacement are on the rise and menstrual health impacts need to be understood for holistic and adequate response for women and girls. Climate change and disasters often create or exacerbate problems for those in low-income, rural populations, and emergency contexts as resources are limited and populations are less equipped for adequate responses. Climate change and climate disasters create limited access to clean water, hygiene facilities, and proper menstrual products for women and girls to manage menstrual hygiene effectively. Menstruation management in emergency settings is particularly challenging for women and girls, as there is an increase in displacement and inadequate menstrual hygiene management supplies and resources in these settings. Improving and understanding the current state of menstrual health and climate change in rural and low-income countries is essential to improving global population health and gender equality. Overall, most information known about the intersection of climate change and menstrual health is through studies researching women’s health at climate disaster relief camps or facing climate migration. This review will examine and summarize the literature and evidence to discover the linkages of the menstrual health experiences of women and girls due to climate change impacts in rural settings in low-income countries for global health research, practice, and policy. This advanced search conducted in PubMed and ProQuest collected the studies, reports, and journal articles relevant to this literature review among women and girls of reproductive age in low-income countries in rural settings. Five themes that emerged included: (1) Women and girls’ negative menstrual experiences are exacerbated after experiencing climate change events, (2) Climate factors affect menstrual product use and uptake, (3) Climate disasters suspend menstrual health initiatives, (4) Climate change is exacerbating water challenges creating negative menstrual health outcomes, and (5) More sustainable menstrual health interventions could be implemented in climate emergency settings. Future research needs to include more quantitative and qualitative studies aiming to understand the experiences of women and girls in climate affected and emergency settings. Exploring the taboos and health implications of this issue is imperative to prevent climate change from creating more disparities for women and girls worldwide.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Sociomedical Sciences
Thesis Advisors
Sommer, Marni
M.P.H., Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
Published Here
August 26, 2022