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4 Reasons Why Periods Are A Hassle In India

Periods are, in general, a difficult experience. The statistics, research and examples are all on the internet for those who’d wrangle.

From my observations, these are the reasons why periods are a hassle. This list isn’t conclusive, nor is it based on any numbers, but a first-hand account of what a woman has seen hitherto.

1. Lack of awareness

Representative Image.

It isn’t debatable that there are countless myths about periods that seep down the generations. From labelling us impure to desisting us from playing sports, the ostracism and prejudice are endless. While I was fortunately away from all these impediments, I saw my friends going through sheer bias.

It can be said in a nutshell that it is due to not knowing what periods actually are. Had everyone known why periods occur and how they work, we wouldn’t have these freakish rules, right? Seriously, how can my uterine lining make the whole room impure?

Unfortunately, this isn’t limited to rural areas; I’ve seen period discrimination in urban, educated, well-to-do families.

2. Importance of a nutritious diet

In our house, when a girl gets her first period, she is given sweets made with jaggery to be eaten compulsorily alongside her daily diet. Also, a pickle that has jaggery is suggested. The reason could probably be that jaggery is a rich source of iron.

Hence, I wish traditions like these are abided by and not the uncanny ones. I’ve seen women eating the same quantity of food, or even lesser, during periods because of mood swings or loss of appetite. A balanced diet is crucial any day and this is taught in middle school.

Women should eat enough to combat fatigue and satisfy cravings, which isn’t often done either due to poverty or negligence. I say this because I’ve seen women so rigid on their fastings and diets that they wouldn’t eat anything despite being exhausted during periods.

3. PMS is in our head. And also all over the body!

menstruation cramp
Representative Image.

The apathy towards PMS (premenstrual syndrome) is horrible. No matter how many researchers prove that period cramps are real and excruciating, our attitude remains sluggish. There are simple remedies, lifestyle changes, medicines, and of course, doctors to assist us with PMS.

Yet, we choose to push it under the carpet, conceal it under hushed whispers and belittle women who acknowledge period pain. What we face during PMS varies from others and so does the response. Just because we are strong, we don’t have to endure, nor can we expect anyone else to.

PMS and agonising periods are experienced universally at different levels. Hence, it becomes imperative that we stand by each other and not treat it as a competition of who can suffer more in silence. I don’t find any reason why we should pretend to be merry and perky while aunty uterus is punching us and our head feels like a boulder.

4. Lack of hygiene

It is immensely sad but true that sanitary napkins aren’t always available. Like I’ve said, the statistics of how many women use sanitary napkins and what happens if we use cloth (not cloth pads that we buy, just cloth) or paper are just a click away.

It was the trouble to procure a sanitary napkin at a railway station that opened my eyes to the reality of menstruation. A lot of public places do not have hygienic washrooms with sanitary napkins supply.

These days, there are welcome changes with sanitary napkins being ordered online, railway and metro stations installing sanitary napkin vending machines, NGOs educating and helping rural women, etc. However, we have a long way to go.

As individuals, we should take steps at least in our vicinity to make sanitary napkins accessible. Hygienic sanitation is important irrespective of periods.

You must be to comment.
  1. Siva Shankar

    Good article👏keep writing

    1. Prakarsha Pilla

      Thank you!!

  2. Jyothirmai Origanti

    So nice article prakarsha😍

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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