It is ‘that’ week of the month again. Just woke up in a pool of blood. Oops, my periods just arrived.
As I write this article, all that I am able to think about is the stigma that revolves around menstruation. People are afraid today to discuss menstruation, only because they think it makes a woman or a girl ‘impure’. Menarche or the beginning of menstruation is often considered the readiness of a woman for marriage, and perhaps is the reason child marriage can still be found in villages of our country. The cost of menstrual products, like sanitary pads, is quite high in India, and it is one of the reasons that people think daughters are a ‘financial burden’ at home.
Teenager girls are teased in schools for being absent if the reason they provide for absenteeism is their periods. And here are some of the most common taboos you can still hear today – women and girls cannot touch water or cook, cannot attend religious ceremonies, or engage in community activities, just because their uterus walls chose to shed for some days in a month.
What people fail to realise is the impact that the ignorance about menstrual health can have on physical, mental and reproductive health. Since ages, many girls in India use old clothes instead of sanitary napkins, which offer no protection. Menstrual disorders known as dysmenorrhea or ‘cramps’ are often considered normal and perhaps neglected by women. Symptoms of dysmenorrhea include pain in the abdomen and pelvic regions, often accompanied by nausea. Neglecting cramps can have long-term consequences on reproductive health. There can be chances of excessive bleeding during periods, or the periods can be excessively painful as well. ‘Mood swings’ that girls experience during periods often lead to a disturbance in their mental health.
It is absolutely essential for you to take care of your menstrual health. Keeping a check on the dates of periods is the first step – irregularity in periods can have severe health consequences. Washing yourself during periods is important to remove the bacteria that can affect reproductive organs. Changing the sanitary pad after four-six hours of use is again an important step to prevent rashes and irritation. Moreover, proper disposal of sanitary pads in dustbins is essential for taking care of the environment.
Start taking care of your menstrual health from today itself, and do not forget to approach a doctor if you feel any major change in the occurrence of your periods. Remember, menstruation is completely a natural process and you do not need to be ashamed of it, ever. 🙂