Get Facts about Safe Menstrual Periods
Facts about Safe Menstrual Periods – Menstrual practices still face religious, cultural, and social restrictions. For centuries, menstruation is considered a social stigma, and in most cultures, societies, and religions a menstruating woman is untouchable. This acts as a big barrier in the path of creating awareness regarding menstrual hygiene and its management. Even today, in many strata of society, girls are not aware of menstruation and hence they face various challenges at schools, homes, and work. Some females have limited or no knowledge about health and environmental hazards caused by the ignorance of personal hygiene, particularly during periods.
Myths about menstruation
Menstruation is a natural biological process, where the female’s body is prepared for supporting a child by thickening of the lining of the womb. In the absence of fertilization, this lining sheds in the form of blood through the vagina. Menstruation is not a disease, it is a process that perpetuates life. Lack of knowledge and embarrassment in talking about the topic has led to various myths related to the subject and is passed on from one generation to another. Menstruation is seen as something that is unclean and impure. Females are restricted from carrying out their daily activities like entering the kitchen, touching a holy book, and performing puja. In some sects, the woman is asked to not enter the house during these days and is left vulnerable when she needs comfort. It is believed that the environment surrounding the female is impure, and hence, they are isolated and made to sleep alone. Religion and the belief system of the society play a major role in referring to menses as impure and unclean.
Challenges against menstrual hygiene management
- Inaccurate or almost no true knowledge about the subject: This causes a female to have a negative perspective of menstruation. Many girls do not even know about menstruation until they themselves experienced it. As the episode in itself can be very traumatic for the young teenage girl, it can be difficult for her to come to terms with it in the few days, so leave alone the hygienic measures that she needs to take.
- Embarrassment in talking about the topic: Menstruation is not talked about openly. Even mothers are not comfortable talking about it to their own daughters. Females are not educated enough about the hygiene measures necessary during those days of the month.
- Lack of menstrual waste disposal facilities: In many parts of the world, basic facilities like soap and water, private toilets, and disposal facilities are not available. This adds to the embarrassment and environmental contamination.
- No or limited access to sanitary pads: Females, even today, use cotton cloth, muds, or dry leaves as an absorbent of menstrual blood as they have limited or no access to sanitary pads.
Lack of menstruation hygiene causes health hazards like reproductive tract infection. Moreover, the lack of disposal facilities can cause environmental hazards. For example, disposing of a sanitary pad in a toilet causes it to choke and overflow. Dumping them in or near water bodies causes serious contamination. Menstruation awareness is vital for personal and social health.
Some tips for safe menstrual periods
- Use a sanitary pad/tampon/menstrual cup in place of cloth.
- Try and wear loose-fitting underwear and pants. This promotes air flow around the genitals.
- Use warm water and soap to wash your hands every time you change the sanitary pad or a tampon.
- Change sanitary pads/tampons regularly. Pads are to be changed every 4-6 hours, and tampons should be changed every 2 hours.
- Take a bath every day during your periods.
- Clean the genitalia from the front to back. If done the opposite way, bacteria from the anus are directed towards the urethra causing urinary tract infection.
- Sanitary pads should be disposed in a dustbin and not flushed in a toilet or near public water bodies.
- Clean your genitals with soap and warm water.
- Use dry and washed underwear.
- Dry the vagina with help of a towel as a moist environment act as a haven for the growth of bacteria and fungi.
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