28th May is celebrated as a Menstrual Hygiene Day worldwide to highlight the significance of maintaining good menstrual hygiene during periods.
A healthy woman menstruate for about 40 years of her life,yet it is very disheartening to know that about 87% women/girls in India remain completely unaware about menstruation health and its purpose as a biological process. Menstruation still remains a taboo and the stigma attached to it still prevails in almost every part of our country that women do not talk, discuss or share among themselves the health-related problems that they face and even if so,fails to implement the required measures.
For a girl/woman, the whole menstruating week is just too taxing, both physically and emotionally and above all, within adequate/insufficient health products at ease, life turns to be hell.Unfortunately, only 12% women avails hygienic products including sanitary napkins, tampons or menstrual cups. For a family with monthly income of 1000-5000, sanitary pads are just a luxury and the first item to be sacrificed in the monthly budget. No doubt, these necessities are replaced with ashes,dungs, grass and garbage resulting in school drop-outs for girls along with unwanted health-related diseases. Besides, a plethora of religious dogmas and stigma secludes a girl/women and leaves her all alone during those days of the month.
Here are some tips and measures to maintain hygiene during periods.
Sanitation methods: These days markets are overloaded with innumerable brands of sanitary napkins, tampons and menstrual cups. One has to be very careful while choosing brands in accordance to their needs. It is always better to go for pads if you are a starter. However, depending upon the flow, it is always advisable to change it from time to time and yes do not forget to wash your hands with soap before and after use.
Washing regularly: It is very important to use soaps and clean those areas during periods but preventing it from entering inside is also equally important. In case, water is not available it is advisable to wipe it with tissue paper.
Bathing: Not bathing on those days or not shampooing is just a myth. You know your body well than others, so if you need a hair wash, go for it and of course, don't forget to shower.
Carrying an extra-pack: It is very important to carry that extra-pack of napkin always. And above all, it very important to drink plenty of water and keep oneself hydrated.
Let us now discuss about disposing the used itineraries. Reused products including tampons and menstrual cups requires due sterilization before and after use but one should be very careful with disposal of sanitary napkins.
Cluttered with ignorance, women are often unaware about the environmental hazards caused by throwing sanitary napkins or burning it anywhere. The high percentage, almost 90% plastic and super absorbent polymers used in weaving sanitary napkins makes burning the disposables highly toxic giving vent to a plethora of diseases and harmful bacteria's.
Statistics reveals around 455 million girls and women in India are in menstruation age, of which around 121 million use sanitary napkins. In such a scenario, safe technologies and interventions to dispose and handle these garbage has become a challenging factor. In the words of Arundati Muralidharan, manager-policy (WASH in Health and Nutrition, WASH in Schools) at WaterAid India, an international charity that works in the area of water, sanitation and hygiene services, if we do not begin to address this issue now, we will have volume of non-biodegradable waste that will take hundreds of years to degrade.”
Posted By - Tulika Dey