Author- Shreya Kamath
Editor- Navya Om Agnihotri
THE BASICS OF MENSTRUATION EXPLAINED
Menstruation is the process in which a woman discharges blood and other materials from the uterine lining (through the vaginal canal) about once a month from puberty till menopause (the end of regular menstrual cycles), except during the time of pregnancy.
Menstrual flow can last anywhere from two to seven days and can occur every 21 to 35 days. Long cycles are frequent in the first several years after menstruation begins. Menstrual blood is made up of both blood and internal tissue from the uterus. The different phrases used to describe menstruation are period, menstrual period, and menses.
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SYMPTOMS & SOME USEFUL REMEDIES
Most women have moderate symptoms in the days leading up to menstruation and during the first few days of menstruation when the blood flow is heavier. Menstruation has been linked to over a hundred symptoms, varying over time and from cycle to cycle. Menstrual discomforts should, in most cases, be manageable enough to allow you to continue with your daily activities. Nevertheless, some women's symptoms are so severe that it is impossible for them to go about their regular lives.
1. Menstrual Cramps
Menstrual cramps can be extremely inconvenient and painful, but they are necessary. Your uterus tightens during your period, causing it to pinch or cramp. The lining of your uterus will come off the walls and exit your body because of this. When your uterus contracts, it aids the flow of period blood out of your vaginal canal. Nausea, vomiting, headaches, and diarrhea are all possible side effects for some women and girls.
Consult a doctor if you have severe or abnormal menstrual cramps, especially if they continue longer than 2 or 3 days. You can treat cramps regardless of the cause; thus, it's critical to seek medical attention.
Period Cramps can sometimes be relieved by taking over-the-counter pain medicines like ibuprofen, putting a hot water bag on your belly or lower back, taking a hot bath, etc.
Breakouts are most common the week before your period begins. Acne breakouts may occur during your period because of fluctuating hormone levels in your menstrual cycle.
Home remedies to treat period acne include applying turmeric, tea tree oil, and honey, etc. All this can help in reducing inflammation.
Heavy menstrual bleeding can make women feel exhausted, which is natural given the drop in estrogen levels at this time of the month. As your hormone levels begin to rise again, your energy levels will typically return to normal within a few days. However, tiredness may continue longer and be more severe in certain women.
If you experience severe pain for several days, this should be looked into because there could be a medical explanation for why you are so tired during your period.
Bloating before a woman's period can happen up to two weeks before her period. Stomach cramps, backaches, and other symptoms may accompany it. This can be inconvenient and negatively impacts their self-esteem because bloating can feel like swelling and weight gain, leading their tummy to bulge.
5. Tender Breasts
Many women experience breast aches before their periods begin. A drop in estrogen and progesterone hormones (which control a girl's menstrual cycle) causes aches. Some people might continue to have it till they have their periods, which is entirely normal.
Cutting off on salt, sugar, caffeine, and dairy consumption can help. Regular & Frequent exercises can also help reduce menstrual breast pain.
6. Lower Back Pain & Muscle Aches
During their period, some women may have severe lower back discomfort. Others experience slight pain or an annoying sensation in their back. A little heat can promote muscular relaxation, blood flow, and tension relief. If you’re still experiencing severe muscle aches, try relaxing in a hot bath, sitting with a heating pad, or taking a hot shower.
DID YOU KNOW THAT ONLY 36% OF WOMEN IN INDIA HAVE ACCESS TO PROPER MENSTRUAL HYGIENE PRODUCTS?
MENSTRUATION RELATED CHALLENGES FACED BY WOMEN IN INDIA
Lack of Access to Healthcare Facilities
Around 23 million girls in India drop out of school every year due to a lack of menstrual hygiene management facilities – clean toilets with running water and disposal bins – as well as a lack of access to sanitary napkins and awareness about the issue. Menarche is linked to a greater rate of school dropout among young women in several nations.
At least 500 million women and girls worldwide do not have access to basic menstrual hygiene management facilities. Lack of awareness about sanitation and hygiene facilities, especially in public locations such as schools, businesses, and health centers, can be a significant barrier for women and girls.
Menstruation has traditionally been seen as a taboo subject due to cultural and religious beliefs. In India, taboos surrounding menstruation impact the emotional well-being, mindset, lifestyle, and, most importantly, the health of menstruating people. The difficulty of tackling socio-cultural taboos and beliefs around menstruation is exacerbated by a lack of knowledge and awareness about puberty, menstruation, and menopause.
Girls and women are still socially humiliated during their periods; their movement is limited, they are regarded as impure, and they are not permitted to enter religious buildings or the kitchen. They are put in a position of discomfort, pain, and tremendous distress due to their unfriendly social settings.
Mothers are also hesitant to discuss puberty and menstruation with their daughters, and many lack scientific understanding of the subject.
Lack of Access to Proper information
Just 48% of adolescent girls in India are aware of what menstruating is before their first period. Young people lack access to accurate and reliable information regarding their reproductive health and rights. Because of the shame associated with menstruation, parents, teachers, and other community members are hesitant to discuss periods.
In conclusion, women have been facing issues regarding menstruation for a long time, and it's high time the topic of menstruation gets normalized in society. All people should be treated equally in society, whether or not they bleed.