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Menstruation is still quite a taboo topic in India. Here’s why we need to discuss the importance of menstrual hygiene with our daughters.
Menstruation — an unspeakable topic in most parts of the world.
Women in rural areas are still ashamed of talking about their period which becomes a great barrier in the path of menstrual hygiene. They still don’t know the importance of menstrual hygiene and how ignoring this will lead to infection and other issues.
For women to have access to hygiene, both men and women need education and awareness about the process of menstruation. This will help break the taboo around menstruation and the men will be able to support the women during their period.
As a young girl, I barely had any knowledge about menstruation and why it was happening. So, I was terrified when I had my first period. Most parents don’t wish to talk to their daughters about this. This just leaves the little girls clueless when they have their first period.
The girls are completely unaware of the proper cleaning methods and how to take care of themselves during their periods. They need to be taught the importance of menstrual hygiene and how to use sanitary napkins and to be mentally prepared for their ‘scary first period!’ At the same time, they also need to know how to clean their vaginal area at all times, especially during their periods.
Around 70 percent vaginal diseases in Indian women are caused due to poor menstrual hygiene practices. In many rural areas, women are unable to buy sanitary napkins and are forced to use old rags, dried cow dung cakes, mud or ash instead. They can wash and dry their menstrual clothes only at night and not under the sun, which may cause germs to grow and cause urinary tract infections.
Using unhealthy menstrual products, and not practising proper menstrual hygiene methods can be the risk factors to cause several diseases.
Genital Eczema – Improper hygiene practices may lead to a rise in vulva itching, irritation, redness of the skin, the appearance of vesicles on your genital area.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) – Washing the genital areas from back to front can cause bacteria to invade the urinary tract and cause serious harmful infections.
Vaginal Candidiasis – The use of unclean sanitary napkins can be the reason for the growth of Candida albicans (a fungal microbe). This may result in vaginal yeast infection also called Candidiasis.
Cervical Cancer – Increase in the chances of cervical cancer, which occurs due to the long-lasting infection of human papillomavirus (HPV).
Other than these diseases, women are also prone to pneumonia, gastroenteritis, trachoma, and other skin infections. In order avoid these repercussions please follow some of the best hygienic practices given below:
Choosing a good sanitary pad -. Women with sensitive skin can avoid pads with plastic lining; as they can cause rashes and itchiness.
Dry the clothes under the sun – Drying the undergarments under the sun can reduce the chance of bacterial and fungal infections.
Bathe daily – Keeping your body clean and not skipping the bath is one of the best practices for maintaining menstrual hygiene.
Properly wash the vaginal area – Do not use artificial synthetics to wash the genital area. Harsh soaps can kill the good bacteria leading to infections. Always clean with warm water after each use of the toilet. Make sure to wipe your vaginal area front to back, with a soft tissue, especially during periods to keep it dry and clean.
Talk about it – Periods are not embarrassing. Break the silence and talk about it. Spread the awareness and teach healthy menstrual practices to women who are not aware of that. Do not hesitate to consult a doctor in case of any concern or infection.
May 28 is considered Menstrual Hygiene Day. But only talking about menstruation on that day is not going to help women who are still denied the basic sanitary items.
In several states across India, menstruating women are isolated in huts or cow sheds. They are prohibited from touching other’s food and not allowed to step out of their place.
While menstruation itself is a stressful process, practices like these make little girls and women suffer a lot. Instead of support and care from their family members, women receive shame and embarrassment.
In addition to all this, all the household responsibilities fall on the woman’s head leading her to neglect her own hygiene. Poor menstrual health also leads to the spread of germs which don’t just affect the woman, but her family as well. Thus, making it further necessary to discuss the importance of menstrual hygiene in families.
Picture credits: Still from Clinic Plus’ ad on YouTube
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