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Menstrual Hygiene: Do you know enough about it?

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Menstruating! Are you on your periods? If you are raising your eyebrows reading the lines it is time to break the silence and talk about it. On World Menstrual Hygiene Day, in a webinar organised by Woman Times with speakers like Dr Kausiki Ray Sarkar, Head of Fertility Specialist – AMRI Medical Centre, Tramila Bhattacharjee, television actor, and Rhitukhana Bhowmick, an athlete on 28th May many facts related to the topic came to light.

Maintaining hygiene is one of the most essential parts of our life. Especially, women who are struggling with a daily life routine should maintain proper hygiene. Gynaecologists are always suggesting ways to keep oneself hygiene on those days. But how many of us do really care about our menstrual hygiene?

Not many! Many women in rural and urban areas don’t maintain regular menstrual hygiene. Not only in the days when a woman is menstruating but they should also maintain regular, and proper vaginal hygiene. Menstruation is a normal part of life for women and girls and during the periods women tend to undergo a lot of problems. The cycle of menstruation is 28 days and most women bleed for 5 days hence every year on May 28 (May is the 5th month ) across the world is celebrated as World Menstruation Day.
According to the fourth National Family Health Survey in 2015-16, it is seen that women in rural areas do not use hygienic methods during their menstrual period. Regarding this Dr Kaushiki Sarkar, Head of fertility unit and gynaecologist of AMRI medical centre said,

“Women in urban areas are now very much familiar with the term menstrual hygiene day. But not only in the days when women or girls suffer from their menstrual cycle should take care of themselves rather it must be done through the entire year they should take care of their vaginal health, which is very much required. But women do not take care of themselves on normal days. Regarding this many women come and say different kinds of problems they suffer.”

She also added, “First of all, we will have to break the silence regarding the menstrual cycle. In India, it is still treated as a taboo. The mentality of keeping this taboo creates more problems among women. Government is taking initiatives but the people working in NGO’s and other sectors will also have to take the initiative to create awareness among people.”

Menstrual Hygiene and Intimate Wash products:

While asking this question Dr Kaushiki Sarkar said, “ Many intimate wash products are now available in the market. Women use those products to keep their vagina clean. But it is very harmful to vaginal health. It decreases the pH value, which can create problems like itching and many others. Many of them also use soaps or liquids to keep their vagina clean. That is also very much harmful. Any harsh elements which are used to clean the vagina can create many serious health issues. As because the area is very much gentle so only using of water is good. But that does not mean that someone should keep on using water several times a day to clean the intimate area because it will keep the vagina wet which also creates many serious health issues. Women and girls should always take care of their vaginal health by keeping the place dry.”

Menstrual Hygiene in rural areas:

Expensive sanitary napkins or any other menstrual devices are not easily accessible to the women of rural areas for which they are mostly dependent on clothes. In this context, the doctor said,

“clothes can be used during periods. But they should be aware that the cloth they are using should be neat and clean. The clothes should be properly washed with soap. Otherwise, it can cause a problem. On the other hand, the government will have to take more initiatives to make them aware that using grass or dry leaves during their periods is very harmful to their health.”

Menstrual awareness in Schools and Colleges:

Women suffer many critical issues due to the lack of awareness. 85% of women in India are not aware of their own menstrual health says a Survey conducted in India. In colleges and school, awareness programs should be increased. Regarding this, Doctor said, “Especially in the co-ed schools and colleges, awareness programs must increase. In many schools, though there are vending machines sometimes those machines do not work properly. In this case, many girls face problems. Not only that in many colleges there is no vending machine which creates a problem. Especially if a girl had her period in school or college while doing any kind of activity, there should be the vending machines from where they can get the solutions.”
Woman Times organised World Menstrual Hygiene Day.
She also added, “Not only in schools and colleges but also while travelling many of us can face this. So in every railway stations, metro stations and every travelling points if they take the initiative this can also help.” Besides this many taboos like exercising during a period can create health issues. But according to the reports, if anyone does exercise during her period it does not create any health issues rather it helps the hormones to work properly and many of the women can get rid of period cramps or any problems that happen during the menstrual cycle.
Not only this thing a proper regular health check-up is also required. In other countries, a routine check-up is always done. But in India women or girls do not have a proper medical check-up until there is any serious health issue. A properly maintained diet with regular exercise can reduce the problems. Also as government and NGO’s are taking steps regarding awareness if it is increased then it can solve the problem regarding the menstrual period of women.
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