Periods are just periods. Period!
There are thirty days in a month and women spend about half of them worrying about periods. Almost half a month is spent on preparing and thereafter, bearing periods. But as much as one may suffer, both before the onset and duration of the period, it is the most natural process that a woman endures and experiences. Indeed one regrets those punches and cramps, oh and not to mention the agony! But it can only help to prepare for the metaphorical monsoon season that knocks at our door regularly.
And despite the regularity, periods still face a lot of taboo. Menstruation is a word that is still spoken about in whispers. Periods are a taboo topic in major parts of India, while lesser so in urban India.
Before one wonders why can’t periods be openly talked about, let’s try to establish why periods are called so.
- Most women have varying period cycles, ranging from four to seven days. Considering this denotes a specific duration of time, it could help one to deduce the origin of the word period.
- Most women are also fed up of all the misconstrued notions and stigmas that surround menstruation. Considering the English language also defines a full stop or the end of a sentence as a ‘period’, one can take the liberty to understand it as the extent of one’s patience to allow hypocrisy. Hence, it could help deduce why women would choose to call menstruation cycles as periods. While they might actually be trying to say that please stop with the taboo. Period!
It seems befitting to question the hypocrisy of black packets and Chinese whispers that still surrounds a natural process like periods. It also seems baffling that today one still cringes and complains at the sight of a bloodstain.
Myths and stereotypes are products of how a society function and evolves. They are representations of certain customs that were once followed but are presently applied, often without context or reasoning.
These taboos and myths affect women psychologically and anatomically. Most importantly, they affect a woman’s wellbeing. Sadly, many parts of the Indian culture hold women responsible to take care of their periods and the accompanying, though occasional blood stains.
The truth is, almost every woman, goes through this experience. It is high time that periods are spoken about loudly and unapologetically. Imagine how much women would benefit, if they were able to share their experiences with each other without any stigmas attached to them. Oh! The abundance of information may just lead to miracles of cure and comfort.
As one hopes for a more accessible and progressive future, the increase in options available in the market today, are fascinating. Tampons, cups, pads etc. are just a few that women use for aid; while many more are being innovated.
To help you further, let us look at a list of tips that could potentially help create a safer, unapologetic and carefree environment for all the women out there.
- Take a bath or shower once a day:
Maintaining regular overall hygiene continues to be the most basic, yet unavoidably the most essential step.
- Keep the pubic area clean:
Periods can be messy. It does not help if one has pubic hair that traps some of the blood as it flows out of the body. Before the period begins, clip the pubic hair as close to the skin as possible and clean afterwards with an antiseptic.
- Pads are shifty characters
Pads can often shift and cause stains on the undergarments. To avoid such problems, and maintain hygiene, try switching to more convenient options like tampons.
- Keep the area between the legs dry:
Subsequently, after a thorough clean up, dry out the area with a clean tissue paper, and complete the process by dabbing the area with an absorbent talcum powder to prevent rashes. Moist skin can often lead to chafing.
- Do not use vaginal cleansers:
It is very important to remember that the vagina has its own self-cleaning mechanism and an external cleaning agent like deodorant or soap should not be used inside it.
- Change sanitary products regularly:
While tampons must be changed every 6-8 hours, sanitary pads on the other hand, must be changed every four hours (especially during heavy flow) to prevent irritation.
- Let it breathe
Sanitary pads prevent skin from breathing, so they can irritate the skin or deteriorate the vagina, if used constantly. When such problems persist, one should explore other sanitary options or consult a doctor for advice.
Every woman bears the brunt of this monthly cycle of emotional turmoil and fatigue. However, what matters the most, is to help out a fellow woman or a man to empathize better with this phenomenon, and acknowledge this as a part of womanhood without much ado.
Hope this list helps you to look out for yourself better, for your next menstrual cycle.
We sincerely urge you to try and add to the list as you learn more about menstrual hygiene.
Also, stop worrying, it is just periods. Period!