This week, we had ChildFund India’s senior health specialist, Pratibha Pandey as our guest for HZ Women Of The Month. We spoke about period health, lack of awareness around periods, and period essentials in detail among others. Here are excerpts.
Updated – 2023-02-21, 18:06 IST
It is 2023 and periods continue to be a taboo in India. Women hardly talk about menstruation, even in urban areas. Though periods are an all natural process, they are associated with shame in the country. A natural bodily function like periods in India is stigmatised to a level that it holds back girls and women to talk about it. This leads to a lack of awareness around period health and negatively impacts the health of a woman. This week, ChildFund India’s senior health specialist, Pratibha Pandey made it to our list of women achievers and we had a quick interaction with her around periods.
Lack Of Awareness Around Periods
Since women hardly talk about menstruation, there is a lack of information about periods and this leads to period myths, discrimination and a lot more, making it a difficult experience for all those menstruating. We asked our health expert what leads to a lack of awareness around periods. She said, “Period health is very important because there are many malpractices culturally, and women face a lot of challenges. When women are menstruating, our uterus is open more than usual and if proper hygiene isn’t followed, women undergo multiple health conditions like infections, and infertility among others.”
Period Health Basics
Our expert shared that every young girl and women should follow these basics while menstruating –
- Use a clean cloth/sanitary napkin/reusable pads
- Pads/cloth should be changed every two hours
- Keep your private parts clean
- Follow basic hygiene, take a bath everyday
There are a lot of myths surrounding periods which further adds to the stigma. One of our live viewers asked if eating turmeric or pepper could increase blood flow during menstruation. The expert cleared that these are all myths. Every woman should consume a healthy and balanced diet during her periods. She further shared that there are a lot of misconceptions about eating hot and cold food during periods, however, that is a myth too.
How Can We Do Our Part?
Period poverty continues to exist. We asked our expert what we as a society should do to help girls and women falling under this category. She shared that it is important for us to make women around us aware that period hygiene is important for their health. Even if they use a cloth during menstruation, they should use a clean cloth every single time and this should be replaced every two hours. Also, it is crucial to bust myths around menstruation. For instance, if a woman falling under this category isn’t aware of menstruation basics, she might teach her daughters the same things, and might prevent her from bathing or eating certain foods which might prove to be unhealthy for them later.
If you missed watching the live interaction on HerZindagi’s Instagram handle, watch it here –