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Menopause: Your Periods Will Stop, But You Should Not

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There is fair growth in the number of open conversations happening around menstruation in the younger mass of the population. My personal growth from hesitating over the word ‘period’ to open discussions and bonding over our menarche experiences in the hostel rooms have marked my understanding of it.

While this happens, there is still a misty fog around the topic of menopause, which affects women physically, emotionally and psychologically when they really knock at their door.

At the age of 47, my mother started reporting body aches, increased irritability, hot flashes, and insomniac nights. Not having a fair amount of knowledge about it herself, my mother started growing more anxious about her bodily changes. For most of the time, she thought having an irregular period is the only symptom of menopause, and it doesn’t happen before the early fifties, maybe because most of our colleagues didn’t have it.


Menopause And Symptoms

Menopause is the time that marks the end of the menstrual cycle. During this period, the women’s body transitions from the reproductive to the non-reproductive stage. It usually begins between the age of 45-55 years, but the age of menopause differs from woman to woman and can develop before or after this age limit too.

A few common symptoms associated with menopause are hot flashes, fatigue, body ache, irritability, mood swings, disturbed sleeping pattern, inability to concentrate, anxiety and vaginal dryness. While menopause is different for every woman, these symptoms can start to develop a few years before and last until a few years after the menopausal of a woman.

Premature Menopause

Menopause that happens before the age of 40 is known as premature menopause. In early menopause (premature ovarian failure), ovaries stop producing normal amounts of the hormone oestrogen and release an egg regularly. A survey conducted by the Institute of Social and Economic Change (ISEC) said that 4% of Indian women experience signs of menopause between 29 to 34 years of age.

Smoking, consumption of unhealthy diet and having other diseases are considered to be the causes of premature menopause. However, the symptoms of it remain the same as that of normal menopause.

Medically, it is the end of the reproductive period in a woman’s life. Emotionally, it is another phase that leaves women disillusioned, and its effects are often life-altering”, said the writer of an article who reached her menopausal at the age of 30. She described the psychological and emotional impact early menopause left in her life.

In one of its reports, the BBC interviewed Annabelle, diagnosed with premature ovarian failure, just at the age of 15. It reports that only 1 out of 10,000 women under the age of 20 are diagnosed with early menopause. “I felt very alone. You have no one to talk to, no one has it, especially at my age”, Annabella. She described her experience of hot flashes and anxiety, which affected her during menopause. She openly spoke about her insecurities and the constant fear of being misunderstood by others. Despite this unfortunate event, she is still hopeful for her future.

Changing Lifestyle

Due course of time, with the advancement in technology, environmental changes and globalisation at its peak, our food, cultural and work habits have changed. Contamination and adulteration in everything have made our body its pothole. Smoking, inhaling pollution and stressing over everything has contributed to putting us at risk of early menopause.

A woman’s body is going through so many changes today because of the atmosphere and lifestyle requirements, which is why we have been seeing cases of premature ovary failure in adults,” says Dr Shobha Gupta (Medical Director and IVF Specialist at Mother’s Lap IVF Centre) in an interview with The Hindu

Several home remedies and changes in lifestyle have been seen as effective in reducing the chances of early menopause. Exercising, having a healthy and fresh diet, practising relaxation techniques, managing sleep cycles, communicating and keeping calm have proven out to be helping in doing wonders to our lives.

What Can We Do?

Menopause differs from woman to woman and can affect our physical, emotional, and psychological life. Due to lack of awareness or misinterpreting the symptoms, many women undergo severe anxiety and depression. We can start up conversations about it to reduce this, be their emotional support, and create a comfortable space for the menstruators to talk.

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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.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

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.

Read more about his campaign.

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.

Read more about her campaign.

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.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

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.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

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.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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