Menstruation is a natural process that most girls experience every month starting from her puberty years. Yet, in our society, it still remains a taboo topic thus prompting lack of awareness among girls about their own body. Menstrual hygiene plays an important role in maintaining the overall reproductive health of the female body. Negligence can cause various health issues. On #MenstrualHygieneDay let’s discuss a few basic and important menstrual health issues.
Access to Safe Menstrual Products
One of the prime deterrents of menstrual hygiene among girls remains inadequate access to menstrual products. Women often do not have access to proper sanitary napkins and are forced to use cloth, which might not be sanitised. Improper toilet facilities further add to the problem. Without proper knowledge, unhealthy products are used which affect the menstrual health. Hygienic products such as sanitary napkins, menstrual cups, and reusable cloth pads must be encouraged in order to prevent diseases.
Poor menstrual health can cause reproductive tract infections, such as bacterial vaginosis or vulvovaginal candidiasis. It also makes these women more susceptible to HIV infection. Some girls end up using dirty cloth, newspaper or even grass as a replacement to sanitary napkins. It can contribute to menstrual disorders as well as improper menstrual cycles. Just as maintaining hygiene of any other part of the body is important, vaginal hygiene must also be given equal attention. The focus must increase especially, during menstruation days.
Impact on Education
A lot of girls drop out of school due to improper menstrual hygiene facilities. Often, the fear of being noticed by fellow students during menstruation forces them to try and hide away. Lack of sanitation products and improper toilet facilities lead them to ultimately dropping out of school. This can be seen as a resounding trend among girls in rural areas. Awareness about our own body must be seen as a measure of empowerment.
Young girls must be educated about the importance of maintaining menstrual hygiene and its advantages. Correct menstrual products and their timely usage are essential for maintaining hygiene and cleanliness. Prolonged usage of the same pad or cloth is also detrimental to the body. It is usually advised to change pads every 6 hours. If cloth pads or menstrual cups are being used then care should be taken about cleaning them properly after each use. Access to clean water also correlates with healthy menstrual practices. Menstruation must be treated as a subject of importance and the taboo around it should be broken. Awareness and accessibility form the cornerstone of the narrative of menstrual hygiene.
Read: Menstrual Hygiene: How Far Can #PadManChallenge Break Taboos?