Menstruation is a phenomenon that is restricted to women across the globe. Starting at a young age of around 11 or 12 years old, it continues till a woman reaches menopause between the ages 45 and 55. But, what exactly is menstruation? In the simplest terms, menstruation refers to the process where women shed blood and uterus tissues through their vagina. The 7-day cycle takes place at a regular interval of 27 days. It is the body's way of preparing for pregnancy. When the eggs remain unfertilized for a month, they shed post the range.
What are some of the most common problems that women face because periods are taboo?
Women need to be "purified" after each cycle
After each cycle is women, women are told they need to purify themselves. It is usually done with a cold shower in water from the holy river. But, the reality remains that the sacred river is extremely polluted, and directly bathing in its water can lead to frequent infections. Some households do not allow the menstruating woman to wash in the shared bathroom, and that can further aggravate diseases and germ build-up.
"She is possessed by an evil spirit"
Though it sounds funny to new ears, sufferers have been driven to the point of committing suicide because they are alleged to be possessed by an evil spirit when they are menstruating. They lead a confined life, and no one goes near them. Imagine a situation when your family members look at you with disgust, and everyone maintains distance from you.
Innumerable dietary restrictions make life miserable
Another myth is that menstruating women should not eat curd, sour items, or spicy dishes. Thus, they are given bland food that does not have any spices or taste. It will ward off the evil spirit and clean the lady's body from within. But there is no scientific reason behind this. It is a mere assumption that is now the reality of millions of sufferers. To put it across merely, it deprives menstruating women of basic living and human rights.
Women are not allowed to exercise
Menstruating women are not allowed to engage in any physical exercise. However, for the uninitiated, activity is one of the best ways to get quick relief from menstrual pain and cramps because it releases serotonin in the body that is the happy hormone. There is practically zero access to tampons and sanitary pads.
What can you do?
Dr.Padmalatha V V, Consultant Obstetrics and Gynaec, SPARSH Hospital, Bangalore, shares some tips to deal with such misconceptions. One of the most common questions that women ask is what they can do. If you are prepared to give birth to a child from your womb, then you can challenge these age-old thought processes and myths. Women understand each other best, and this suffering is familiar to so many. Awareness is the best key to fight injustice. You must educate every woman about menstruation and teach every man that it is a natural process. Emphasize how the female body is the life force on this planet.
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