Puberty, periods, and menstruation are topics that are still left undiscussed or unspoken of in many Indian households and the whole society at a large. We know that every girl goes through the cycle of menstruation and has periods every month as soon as she attains puberty. Still these topics are treated as a taboo due to the social stigma.
The hesitation to speak about these taboo issues can lead to unhygienic menstrual conditions. Young girls and women are time and again restricted in many aspects. It may be due to a lack of available resources, cultural restrictions, or defamed periods.
People are still unaware of the availability of sanitary products that are essential during their menstruation time. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) highlighted that only 50% of women aged 15 to 24 use hygienic resources during their periods in India. This is the main reason for reproductive health issues, urinary tract infections, and poor health outcomes.
In this Article
- 1 Challenges in Hygienic Menstrual Practices
- 2 Ways to avoid infertility due to unhygienic menstrual conditions
- 3 Hygiene Menstrual Practices That Should be followed by Women
- 4 Conclusion
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
Challenges in Hygienic Menstrual Practices
In many villages and societies in India, women are kept away from household activities, temples, and other rituals during menstruation. They are required to stay away from the village and their house and use unhygienic sanitary facilities when infection risks are high during menstruation.
According to a survey conducted, 85% of the adolescent girls follow some kind of restriction during periods and only 45% had knowledge about sanitary hygiene during periods. However, NGOs and other government-related schemes are helping such women come out of the cultural inequalities by providing clean toilets and sanitary conditions even in areas that are difficult to reach.
Not to forget, the pandemic hit the overall health system of the world and also affected females living in such unhygienic conditions, as they could not reach out for proper menstrual support and had to face the same situation again. Moreover, the pandemic has led to financial stress on people forcing them to shift priorities to necessities and basic amenities rather than menstrual materials. Thus, exposing them to life-threatening conditions.
Owing to the lack of hygienic facilities and exposure to unhygienic conditions the menstrual patterns in women are drastically affected. Thus, causing lower reproductive tract infections and infertility. Thus, indicating a strong need to prioritise menstrual hygiene while making people aware of its importance and creating access for people to use hygienic menstrual products.
Ways to avoid infertility due to unhygienic menstrual conditions
To prevent infertility due to poor menstrual conditions, expert fertility specialists have come up with different strategies that can be adopted and practised by people of all walks of life.
- Create a system where people can discuss menstruation and access healthy menstrual know-how.
- Developing a well-channelled pathway that can help distribute sensitive information for parents as well as their young adolescent kids.
- Upgrading the trending reproductive health-related information and furnishing youth-friendly services to adolescent kids.
- Educating adolescent girls about the necessities of maintaining good hygiene during periods and preventing the possibilities of reproductive and urinary tract infections.
- It is also essential to promote sexual education in Schools.
- Addressing taboos through open discussions and conversations while demystifying them.
Hygiene Menstrual Practices That Should be followed by Women
While education, social stigma, and openness are one issue, most women tend to ignore reproductive health, especially during menstruations. Here are some of the hygienic menstrual practices that every woman must follow.
Keep a track of your periods
Keeping a track of periods can help you understand more about your general health, the presence of premenstrual symptoms, irregular periods, and other warning signs.
Avoid tight clothing
It is always advised to wear airy, cotton-based clothes. Avoid tight, synthetic clothes during menstruation that can trap heat and moisture, promoting germ growth and infection rate.
Cleanliness is the key.
Menstrual blood is a breeding ground for germs and infections. Thus, thoroughly cleaning the Groyne region is essential. However, be careful not to over-washing as it can impact the pH balance of the sensitive vulva, making it more vulnerable to infections.
If using a tampon, replace them every 4 hours and avoid keeping them for longer than 8 hours. Otherwise, it can increase the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS).
Dispose of sanitary napkins properly.
Improper disposal of sanitary napkins can be risky for you and the people around you. Wrap the used sanitary napkins tightly to keep away from odour and illnesses. Wash your hands thoroughly after disposing of them.
Breaking the stereotypes and enlightening from social stigmas is the need of the hour. The government of India-led programs and NGOs is helping women educate about hygienic menstrual practices.
It is about setting the platform of awareness and creating a trend of hygiene menstrual practices in the minds of young adolescent girls. This can impact the negation developed in society while improving reproductive and overall health status among women.
Frequently Asked Questions
According to UNICEF, Menstrual hygiene materials are the ones used to hold the menstrual flow, such as cloth, reusable and disposable sanitary napkins, menstrual cups, and tampons. These menstrual materials help support menstrual hygiene. Broadly classifying, they also include soaps, innerwear, menstrual pain relievers, and others items that can help stay infection free during the cycle.
Menstrual hygiene helps reduce the risk of vaginal infections, reproductive tract, and urinary tract infections which can impact fertility and childbirth in a long run.
Menstruation is still a taboo in many sections of Indian society. Even in the 21st century, the cultural and social influence on people is such that it acts as a barrier to reproductive and sexual awareness and education.