Are you on your period? Oh! Don't go to any sacred place; you will make it impure.
Don't eat anything acidic or sour(pickles), as it might disturb your menstrual flow. Stay away from the kitchen. Don't tell anyone you are bleeding. From suppressing ourselves under these myths to hiding sanitary napkins in a newspaper or black polythene, we, as menstruators, have been through a lot.(To make it clear, most of these misconceptions are rooted in the Indian culture and from their perspective, but awareness should be created all across the world)
But what is the primary cause behind this? Why do we resist discussing periods even though it is entirely natural? The answer is the lack of period education — especially among males. As a result, this section of society needs to be made aware of what a woman goes through every month.
While many men know about menstruation and try to be there for the women in their lives when it comes to menstruation, there are many things they don't completely understand. Other than biological changes, there are also other factors to consider: accessibility of period products, maintaining hygiene, experiences in public restrooms and general discomfort.
Biological Changes a woman undergoes
Moodiness often becomes a joke, and physical pain is all that they get. However, women's experiences and periods come with various other issues like changes in hormone levels, breakouts, PMS, post-menstrual cramps, and conditions like PCOS.
1. PMS basically means pre-menstrual syndrome. It happens a week (or two) before the person actually bleeds.
This can cause a roller coaster of emotions, including anxiety, sadness and, worst of all, may even lead some women into depression. Some face cramps and various aches in their bodies. That's not it!
2. Many women even undergo post-menstrual cramps after completing the bleeding cycle of 7-8 days.
3. PCOS refers to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. It has a variety of symptoms, including weight gain, irregular cycles, oily skin, acne, darkening of the skin, excessive hair growth on the face and body etc.
Educating all genders
Some people will have contradictory thoughts about teaching their boys about periods, saying that it is not essential. But do you know a 30-year-old man in India killed his 12-year-old sister when she had her first menstrual cycle, blaming her sister for being enrolled in sexual [censored]? Such a petrifying incident!
Understanding and talking about periods is a basic necessity. During their teenage years, girls have usually been separated to teach them about menstruation and are even asked to hide the pads in their school bags.
However, there is an equally urgent need for giving this education to the male gender. Boys, when not taught, do not get to understand the intensity behind this natural phenomenon and usually take it for granted.
All genders should be equally trained from the early age of 8-10. Schools and even parents should be responsible for raising awareness of this sensitive yet vital topic, such that children are aware of the rights of all. Teaching it at an early stage also makes sure that they will not have to abandon their curiosity or look for answers elsewhere. Being given the information from the right source will make them grow into a responsible person.
How can men support females during their periods?
Men are often told that periods are messy and females usually overreact. But various medical agencies (including Medical News Today) have claimed that period cramps cause pain as much as a heart attack. Women complaining about having painful days is not an excuse to get rid of their duties. As a male, be it a father, a son, a friend or a brother, supporting your loved ones during their tough times will make the person feel better. You can show care by the following gestures:
1. Providing a hot bag
2. Helping them fulfil their cravings
3. Being caring and patient
4. Bringing them sanitary napkins/tampons/ menstrual cup.
5. Taking time to be considerate and complimenting her
6. Giving her a warm hug
In a nutshell, periods are not a means to discriminate, or make girls feel ashamed of themselves; it is just a natural bodily function.
Being more aware and careful of menstrual hygiene will definitely boost the confidence of women and will help them live a healthier life with dignity.
Remember, do not ever feel ashamed of providing support to females during their periods. In fact, you should be amazed by the sensible and accountable human you are!
And for those who still make fun of women bleeding, you definitely need to upgrade your thinking! (Grow up:))