An innate contingency experienced by millions of women and girls around the world sometimes making them feel stigmatized, excluded and discriminated against simply because they menstruate. It’s not acceptable that because of a natural bodily function women and girls continue to be prevented from getting an education, earning an income, fully and equally participating in everyday life. As defined by WHO, Menstrual health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in relation to the menstrual cycle. Menstruation is the monthly shedding of the lining of a woman’s uterus (more commonly known as the womb). Menarche is the onset of menstruation, the time when a girl has her first menstrual period. While Menstrual Health Day is on 28 May, working all year round to:
- Break the taboos and end the stigma surrounding menstruation.
- Raise awareness about the challenges regarding access to menstrual products, education about menstruation and period-friendly sanitation practices can improve the health state of our loved ones.
The Mental health status may also have an impact on your menstrual cycle. Stress can shorten or stop your period, make it more painful or get dysmenorrhea (menstruation usually manifesting as cramps). Menopause and cycles of menstruation are times of intense hormonal fluctuation that can cause increased vulnerability to depression, fatigue, mood disorders, anxiety, panic attacks and Premenopausal Depression.
On the social aspect, Adolescent girls may face stigma, harassment and social exclusion during menstruation. All of this has far-reaching negative impacts on the lives of those who menstruate; restricting their mobility, freedom and choices, affecting attendance and participation in school and community life, compromising their safety, causing stress and anxiety. The stress and shame associated with menstruation can negatively affect mental health leading to absenteeism from school or at work affecting economic opportunities. Unhygienic menstrual products may make girls susceptible to reproductive health challenges. Gender inequality, extreme poverty, humanitarian crises and harmful traditions can all turn menstruation into a time of deprivation and stigma, which can undermine their enjoyment of fundamental social life.
Dealing with the physical manifestations of your menstrual cycle can be tough. Bleeding, breast tenderness, abdominal pain, appetite loss, cramps and bloating can seriously interrupt your daily life.
Menstruation can affect every aspect of a girl’s life and is intrinsically related to human dignity. When people cannot access safe bathing facilities, safe and effective means of managing their menstrual hygiene, they are not able to manage their menstruation with dignity. Menstruation-related teasing, exclusion and shame also undermine the principle of human dignity. A universe where every girl can learn, play, and safeguard her own health without experiencing stress, shame, or unnecessary barriers to information or supplies during menstruation can be a desire and need for every girl and woman!