Three in four of those who menstruate are forced to limit their daily activity due to period pain and symptoms – National Health Watch Report by


New research from the National Health Watch Report by

unveils key insights into physical, mental and environmental health trends experienced by the Irish public


  • 91% plan to prioritise their physical health in the next six months
  • 78% intend to spend more time outdoors
  • 43% of those who menstruate have avoided playing sport due to periodrelated symptoms
  • 71% say they don’t smoke, vape or use an e-cigarette
  • 60% intend to use self-help apps and tools for mindfulness and meditation


Three in four people who menstruate in Ireland have had to limit their daily activity due to period pain and other menstruation symptoms, according to the 2023 National Health Watch Report conducted by, Ireland’s award-winning online GP service.


The report, which surveyed over 1,400 people across the country, reveals key insights into how health issues are affecting the nation and how they intend to deal with them across a variety of areas including physical health, mental health, environment and lifestyle and attitudes towards traditional and digital healthcare services.


Period Pain and Limitations: The report highlights that 85% of those who menstruate have experienced period pain, with 75% confirming they have had to limit their daily activity on various occasions due to a period-related illness. Almost half (48%) of those who experience a menstrual cycle say they have been forced to cancel plans and social events in the past due to these symptoms.


Participation in sports is also significantly impacted with over 40% (43%) saying they avoid playing sports and doing physical activity due to period pain. Workplace, school and university attendance has also suffered due to a period-related symptom or illness with one-third (33%) of those who menstruate confirming that they have missed at least one of the above due to their period.


Smoking and Vaping: Despite the increased presence of vaping in society today, more than seven in ten (71%) say they never smoke nicotine products including cigarettes, e-cigarettes or vapes. This result is surprisingly positive given the rise in concern regarding the usage of high nicotine-level disposable vapes, particularly in the younger generation. Of those who do use nicotine products, 42% consider vaping and e-cigarettes just as harmful to their health as smoking tobacco cigarettes.


Physical Health: Similar to 2022 results, the research revealed that the majority of people (91%) plan to prioritise their physical health over the next six months, with 88% of those surveyed already considering themselves healthy. The number of people opting to improve their physical health through the outdoors has grown significantly since last year with 78% of people choosing to spend more time exercising in nature in 2023 compared to just 30% in 2022.

Almost seven in ten (68%) plan to engage with a professional to boost their physical health and 40% are choosing to join a gym and work with a personal trainer. Almost 20% (18%) plan to engage with a nutritionist to create healthy eating habits and 10% would like to work with a medical professional to manage their weight and overall physical health.


Mental Health and Wellbeing: According to the survey, over three-quarters of respondents (77%) are intending to prioritise their mental health in the next six months. This is an encouraging result after last year’s National Health Watch Report revealed that 40% of respondents confirmed that their mental health had suffered due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Similar to last year, almost 40% will continue to talk to family and friends more to improve their mental health. Interestingly, 60% intend to use self-help tools or apps for mindfulness or meditation this year. This rise shows an increased trust and reliance people have developed on technology to help aid their mental health.


Traditional Vs Virtual GP Preference: Of those surveyed by, 66% say they still find it difficult to access traditional GP consultations, with nine out of ten stating this is due to lack of availability. 55% of respondents say the main reason for using an online GP service is that it is more cost effective than an in-person GP appointment and almost half (47%) say that using an online GP is quicker and more efficient.


61% say they are more comfortable having an online GP consultation rather than in-person consultation, particularly in relation to sexual health and wellbeing with 83% of people saying they would feel more comfortable seeking sexual health advice from an online GP service. Over three-quarters (77%) of people would choose an online consultation over an in-person appointment for weight management advice.


Commenting on these findings, Ian Kennedy, Chief Marketing Officer with said: “It’s clear from the results of the National Health Watch Report that there has been a continued shift towards spending more time outdoors and in nature to improve our physical health. While physical health is important, it is also imperative that we look after our mental health. With this in mind, I thought it was interesting to see such a significant percentage of people choosing to use self-help tools and apps to support mindfulness and for mental health purposes. It’s also encouraging to see that there is still such a positive attitude towards online GP services as this means telehealth providers like can continue to facilitate patients, particularly when our bricks-and-mortar medical services might need some support.”