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Breaking the Silence; Menstrual Hygiene Matters

By: Ruth Tang

With nearly 2 billion girls experiencing menstruation worldwide, the natural process is marred by inequalities, including period poverty and societal stigma. World Menstrual Hygiene Day, observed annually on May 28th, highlights this often-neglected issue. It emphasizes the necessity of ensuring access to proper menstrual hygiene resources and education for all individuals, irrespective of their socioeconomic status.

Menstruation, a universal phenomenon, is plagued by myths, taboos, and insufficient access to resources, leading to health complications and social stigma. The day serves as a reminder of the urgent need to confront these challenges. In many cultures, menstruating women face stigma and restrictions, reinforcing harmful beliefs about impurity and bad luck, as seen in Nepal and India.

Dispelling myths surrounding menstruation is crucial. Facts reveal that tampons do not affect virginity, and conditions like Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) are real and impact many women. Additionally, despite cultural misconceptions, period blood is no different from any other blood and does not pose health risks. Encouragingly, exercising during menstruation is safe and can even alleviate symptoms.

Acknowledging Menstrual Hygiene Day entails more than raising awareness; it requires tangible actions. This includes providing affordable menstrual products, ensuring sanitation facilities, promoting education, and supporting underprivileged communities. Bridging the gap in menstrual hygiene is essential for social justice, as evidenced by the detrimental impact on education and health, particularly in marginalized areas.

Advocating for policies and programs that prioritize menstrual health is imperative. Concrete evidence underscores the link between poor menstrual hygiene and adverse health outcomes, such as reproductive tract infections. By breaking the silence, advocating for change, and providing support, there will be a world where menstruation is no longer a barrier to health, education, and dignity, ensuring that every individual can manage their menstruation safely and confidently.

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