Menstruation is associated with the onset of puberty in girls. Menstrual health and hygiene or menstrual hygiene management brings up the adequate access to menstrual hygiene products to collect and absorb the flow of blood during the menstruating period. It also refers to the privacy to change the used material to a new and clean one and to dispose the used one .
Still today in many parts of India , menstruation is considered a taboo and often it brings with it tons of rules , many restrictions and sometimes discrimination and isolation. A girl or a women in her period is often excluded from many social and religious events and even sometimes they are not even allowed to enter in the kitchen of their own house .
Cause of menstruation still being a taboo –
Still today girls and women feel uncomfortable to talk about their period loudly and consider it a shame ; and not being talked about it loudly results in adolescent girls remaining unknown and ignorant of the hygiene and health practise which many a times results in adverse health conditions. Illiteracy , poverty and lack of awareness are the major behind menstruation still being a taboo in indian society. Several studies indicate that in india, specially in the rural areas and in the slums, most of the girls and women do not have consistent and adequate access to good quality menstrural hygiene products with 88% of them using homemade alternatives such as clothes, rags, hay, sand and ash.
OUTCOMES OF NOT HAVING ACESS TO MENSTRUAL HYGIENE PRODUCTS
Not having adequate access to clean and proper menstrual hygiene products causes many health problems like Reproductive Tract Infections (RTI), irritation of skin which causes discomfort and possibly results in dermatitis which is a medical condition in which the skins swells , turns red and at times becomes a sore with blisters. There is a balance of good and bad bacteria that live in the vagina . If this balance gets disrupted or hampered because of certain poor menstrual hygiene it causes vaginosis . This impact women the most when they are pregnant or trying to get pregnant . RTI also increases the chances of having cervical cancer. Added to the discomfort it also hampers their mobilty and day – to – day activites.
Why is menstrual awareness important ?
Myths about menstruation is largely prevalent forcing many girls to dropout of school early year at menarche in India . A study finds a 12 % decline in school enrollment rate for girls in the menarche group , also in the co-ed schools , disparity is clearly visible in the ratio of girls to boys always remaining low.
It is very important to spread awareness on menstrual hygiene . Menstruation considered a taboo topic , most of the adolescent girls when they get their first period, they don’t know about “menstrual hygiene management “. Many a time, unawareness about menstrual hygiene has an a adverse impact on women’s health especially in rural areas and the slums of the cities. Not having access to proper menstrual hygiene products is the harsh reality of most rural and slum womens. Lack of information and other socio-cultural norms and the use of unhygenic products instead of safe sanitary napkins and tampons makes it difficult for the girls to remain hygenic .
Its high time we spead correct information and educate the adolescent girls about menstruation and help them know about how to maintain proper menstrual hygiene . To educate girls and spread awareness among the womens of slums and the rural areas , the much needed measure is to spread awareness that it a normal very biological process and busts the myths associated with menstruation to ensure healthy menstrual practices.
Spreading awareness about menstruation and menstrual hygiene can help in creating a culture that welcomes discussions about it and can also prevent many diseases and infections caused due to unhygenic practices.
MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS IS A BASIC NECESSITY
Poverty is another reason why the womens of rural areas and slums use alternatives most of them cannot afford adequate and proper menstral products . the unavailability of menstrual products n rural areas ans high cost of the same in the cities deter menstrual hygiene in India.
To increase awareness about menstrual hygiene product being a necessity the washrooms in schools shouls also stock menstrual product besides stocking soaps , papaer towels etc. Having the supply of free menstrual products in every schools will not only ensure that every menstruating girl gets access to the basic needs easily , but many a times it helps in solving economic issues.
Its time for us to start spreading awareness about menstrual hygiene and spread knowledge and correct information about it and start treating it is as a healthly biological process and not a taboo.