Menstrual Hygiene is the availability of sanitary pads and the maintenance of clean surroundings during menstruation, which leads to a well-functioning and healthy reproductive system. But due to the lack of awareness, low access to menstrual products, inadequate sanitation facilities, and most importantly the societal stigma and taboos attached to it, adolescent girls, women, and other menstruators face a lot of challenges in keeping good menstrual hygiene.
Poor menstrual hygiene has many ill effects, like reproductive and urinary tract infections which may lead to future infertility and birth complications, Hepatitis B, Thrush, Yeast infection, and fungal infection. This also leads to environmental degradation because sanitary products contribute to large amounts of global waste. Ensuring access to sustainable and quality menstrual products and improving their disposal can make a big difference.
Lack of such awareness not only leads to unhygienic and unhealthy menstrual practices but also creates misconceptions and stereotypes, which motivate practices like shaming, bullying, gender-based violence, and mental health issues. Due to cultural taboos, many females are ashamed of periods, even though it is a natural and biological process. This cloud of cultural restriction leads to uncertainty amongst adolescent girls which may result in adverse health outcomes. Just a few weeks ago a headline in a news article read, “Man kills 12-year-old sister after mistaking her period stain as a sign of affair”.
It’s not just the uneducated, but even the educated men and women talk about “periods” as taboo. Even today, women are not allowed in temples while menstruating because they are deemed “impure”.
It’s shameful that even in 2023 women go through these wrongdoings. The most important action to be taken to solve these problems is talking openly about menstruation, providing easy access to menstrual hygiene products, making people aware of the right way to dispose of waste, educating everyone, especially young girls about periods, and informing them about ways to keep their surroundings hygienic.