Shashee Bhandari – Menstruation is a normal vaginal bleeding that occurs as a part of a women’s monthly cycle. Every month females body prepares for pregnancy . If no pregnancy occurs the uterus or womb sheds its lining. The menstrual blood is partly blood and partly tissue from inner lining of uterus. It passes out through the way of vagina.
Periods usually start between age 11 to 14 and continue until menopause at about age of 51. Menstrual cycle usually last from 3 to 5 days. A period happens because of change in hormones in the body. Hormones are the chemical messengers. The ovaries release the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. These hormones cause the lining of uterus to build up. The built-up lining is ready for a fertilized egg to attach and start fertilizations. If no fertilizations takes place, the lining breaks down and bleeds. Then the same process happens all over again.
“If there is no Menstruation, there is no new Creation ”
Despite being a natural phenomenon, Mensuration is still considered a taboo in Nepali society .Even till date, the cultural and social influences on people create a major hurdle in ensuring that the adolescent girls are given proper knowledge on mensuration hygiene. Menstruation is associated with the onset of puberty in girls and many a times, it brings with its rules, restrictions, isolation and changed expectations from the girls by the society. A women’s menstural health is crucial to her well being and also to the well-being of her family and community .But often mindsets, customs and institutional biases prevent women from getting the menstrual healthcare they need . The changed attitude towards girls such as restrictions on their self expressions, schooling , mobility and freedom has for reaching consequences on the mindset of women .
During the menstruating days, women are prohibited from participating in day to day activities . They are not allowed to enter every own house as she is considered impure during those days. She is prohibits to enter the kitchen or temple as she is considered impure.
“We are born from that, If that is impure our very birth is impure; Our creation is impure ” – Sadh guru
During those days people didn’t have pads, tampons, and even under wears. So blood was everywhere. Our ancestors also knew how difficult it is for women during her period. So our ancestors with a positive intention made this ritual so that women can rest and blood wouldn’t spill everywhere. But along with time , this ritual was misunderstood by people. They made us untouchable during this period.
“The blood she bleeds on her period is the only kind of blood which isn’t created by violence, yet is the one which disgust you the most” – Maia Shwartz Lozada
Menstrual hygiene management is an essential aspect of hygiene for women and adolescent girls between menarche and menopause. Despite being an important issue concerning females in the menstruating age group, menstrual hygiene is still in the shadow. The availability of material resources to absorb or collect menstrual blood, facilitate personal hygiene and dispose of waste, ideally with adequate privacy are the menstruation necessities. Females of rural areas of Nepal have low awareness on hygienic practices and lack culturally appropriate materials for menstrual hygiene management. The majority of adolescent girls and women face difficulty in accessing appropriate sanitary pads either due to unavailability or unaffordability. The preference of sanitary protection materials is based on personal choice, cultural acceptability, economic status and availability in local market. Along with basic sanitation facilities,one should also be provided with soap and menstrual absorbent to manage menstruation hygiene. The choice of absorbant varies among rural and urban females. In rural area, most preferred absorbent are reusable cloth pads and in urban areas women prefer to use commercial sanitary pads. Other than these, tampons, reusable tampons, menstrual cups, bamboo fibre pads, banana fibre pads and water hyacinth pads are been used. Along with these, personal hygiene such as regular bath, cleaning private parts, using clean clothes, using properly washed and dried underwears as well as proper disposal of sanitary pad comes with menstrual hygiene. Poor menstrual hygiene can also lead to reproductive tract infection, allergies and cervical cancer as well.
Menstural hygiene should be promoted by implementing a course on menstruation and menstrual hygiene management. Government should come forward to educate rural and backward people about menstruation, menstrual hygiene management, washing hands, disease related to reproductive tract due to poor hygiene and so on. Teachers should be educated and trained to convey knowledge about menstruation and MHM among students. Social and electronic media also plays an important role to make the girls and women aware about the menstrual products. Also, ignorance, misconceptions, unsafe pra.
1st Year BAMS
TU, IOM, Ayurveda campus, Kirtipur