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Breaking the Silence on Menstrual Health

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Breaking the Silence on Menstrual Health

May 28th marks Menstrual Health Day, an internationally recognized day to raise awareness and improve education about menstrual health and hygiene. Yet, for many around the world, comfortable access to menstrual products and education remains a challenge due to stigma, cost, and lack of infrastructure. This year’s theme, “Making menstrual health and hygiene a priority for all,” spotlights the work still needed to support women and girls everywhere in managing their periods with dignity.

Understanding the Menstrual Cycle

Menstruation periods often run anywhere from twenty-one to thirty-five days. The uterus lining thickens during this time in preparation for a potential pregnancy. If fertilization does not occur, the membrane of the uterus degrades and is expelled during menstruation, accompanied by cramps and occasional other PMS symptoms. For many, accurate information on what is happening in their body each month remains limited due to cultural taboos or inadequate health education.

Importance of Menstrual Hygiene Management

Proper menstrual hygiene management (MHM) involves using clean menstrual materials that can be changed in privacy and accessing safe spaces to dispose of or wash them. Without it, women face higher risks of reproductive tract infections and even school absences during periods. In developing nations, the high cost of pads significantly exacerbates problems, as does the lack of private bathrooms. This impacts a girl’s ability to continue her education once she starts menstruating.

Breaking the Taboo

Events like Menstrual Health Day aim to spark frank discussions that normalize periods as a natural part of life. With more open communication, women and men can better understand female health. Reducing the stigma around menstruation is critical to ensuring that all people, regardless of gender or economic status, can manage their cycles with comfort and safety and without shame or restrictions. Continued advocacy and support are crucial to progress on this critical public health issue.

 

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