World celebrates World Menstrual Hygiene day on 28th May every year. Today I am sharing some words regarding menstruation that I have gathered and observed throughout my little life.
Educational, Social, Political, Economic, Psychological empowerment begins with a good health from formative years of life
We witness everywhere about the empowerment of women but the best empowerment begins at her own home and her surrounding society. How we can be able to achieve this, by showing her right path to get educate herself and by sharing her physical and psychological well being. Indeed it is our duty to encourage her to participate in all the activities where she has interest. This will happen when she deals with good health both physically as well as emotionally.
When a girl enters into her adolescent period that is 10 to 19 years, there are series of physical, physiological and psychological changes. It seems these changes are quite challenging for her to cope with. But a co-operative family, guardians and teachers are the core to raise her strength. One of the major changes which she faces during puberty is menarche.
Menarche is the onset of menstruation,when a girl has her first menstrual period.
Menstruation is a biological process of women’s reproductive system, but we are in 21st century and the stigma related to menstruation is still alive. It is stigmatized by various sections of people and makes it a taboo, result of which a girl finds her emotionally deprived. She can’t discuss anything through which she is going on. Deprivation of education and socio-economic barriers are the ones behind the stigma and taboo. Marginalized communities of the world are the worst sufferers.
“Each time a women stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women”…Maya Angelou
Cast, religion, gender biases are some of the factors which make girls vulnerable to unhealthy life. During any kind of emergency they face extra sufferings.
WASH united came up with menstrual hygiene day on 28 th May, 2014 every year addressing many factors which are creating hindrance in women upliftment and to empower women with her menstrual health which is acknowledged globally and supported by many organizations worldwide. They focussed on raising awareness on female menstrual and reproductive health, emphasizing on education and providing sanitary pads and napkins, tampons to downtrodden portions of an area in different developing and low income countries of the world.
Most of the girls during their first menstruation are unaware about the menarche in many parts of the world. Lack of education and socio-economic barriers, awareness regarding menstruation is nil or least in some middle and low income countries according to UNICEF.
Some prevailing cultures are there where girls and women are not allowed to enter kitchens during their menstruation cycle. They are not allowed to bath. These are some of the factors which are enough to break her psychologically. Impact is what. Her overall progress is hindered drastically.
Any kind of discrimination by their surrounding environment creates anxiety and they feel shy, stressed and sometimes teased by peers. All can lead to victims of school drop out at their menarche. What can be more pathetic than this. So her family and secondly teachers have the most crucial role in dealing life. Familial emotional support, social and educational supports are the key to grow in a healthy life and the mother education is the utmost necessary as when a girl grows in a healthy way she will raise her daughter with all efforts to give a prosperous life.
Unavailability of proper sanitation, soap and water,sanitary pads ,tampons or cups can’t be afforded by poor sections of the society. They are forced to use unhygienic clothes, leaves not by their choices but by their circumstances. Indirectly this creates other health issues eg. Urinary tract infection, vaginitis,reproductive tract infections.
Awareness should be created among parents, teachers. Boys should be educated about the biological system of both the genders. Education with scientific ground is the key to succeed in creating awareness among parents, school teachers and also boys.
A few points regarding maintenance of menstrual hygiene during menstruation
1.It is advised to change sanitary pads every 4-6 hrs and tampons every 6 hrs.
2.Maintain sanitation properly while discarding the pads or tampons. Wrap in paper and throw it in sanitary bins. After disposal hands should be washed properly with soap and water.
3.There is a myth to avoid bath during menstruation among some people. But you should have a bath at least once a day.
4.It is recommended to wash the vaginal area with water after every time when you change your pad. As blood is media for many harmful bacteria that can lead to infections.
5.Don’t use any vaginal hygiene products without consulting your gynaecologist. These products may harm normal vaginal flora which may give you problems in the long run.
6.It is advised by gynaecologist to wash the vaginal area from forward directions to back, otherwise flora from anal region migrates towards vaginal area that leads Urinary tract infection, vaginitis.
7.Have a healthy diet and good sleep.
It is made accessible to the girls of adolescent age to have free sanitary napkins and pads by government and non governmental organizations of different countries of the world to assure their health. Peoples’ perspectives are changing, campaigns are going on full swing to eliminate all the obstacles in a girl’s life which she faces through menstruation.
The real empowerment will be there if women raise their voices and take action to break the stigma surrounding menstruation. If we all come forward and start raising awareness on menstruation, try to create movements at least from our typing fingers and emphasize to welcome menstruation as a beautiful sign of being woman we will be able to eradicate the lacuna and taboo relating menstruation and menstrual hygiene from its roots.