Menstrual Hygiene Day is celebrated internationally on May 28th each year. It is supported by the World Health Organization and many NGOs on a national and global level. It was launched by WASH United, a Germany-based non-profit organization that has been trying to end the global sanitation and hygiene crisis since 2014.
Why on 28/05? The average length of the menstrual cycle or monthly period is 28 days, and the menstrual flow lasts about 5 days. That is why this date was chosen.
Aim of this campaign: To end menstrual stigma and period poverty in the world by 2030.
The need for awareness and celebration of this day: Menstruation or monthly periods have not only been associated with many social, cultural taboos in third world countries including India. More than 300 women and teenage girls menstruate daily, and 500 million women worldwide cannot have facilities to menstruate hygienically and to maintain their privacy and dignity.
What is Menstrual Hygiene Management?
Women and teenage girls use clean menstrual management materials to absorb or collect blood that can be manipulated in privacy during the menstrual period. They use soap and water to wash the body as needed and have access to facilities for the disposal of used menstrual pain management materials.
Common menstrual cramps:
a. Poor menstrual hygiene: We often hear that failure to observe clean period health and available practices can have serious consequences for women’s health. But is there a risk here? Every person – man or woman – should be aware of the diseases that can be caused if a woman does not have access to menstrual hygiene products. The problem can make a woman more likely to develop reproductive tract infections, hepatitis B infection, various types of yeast infections, and urinary tract infections, to name a few.
b. Menstrual irregularities: This is mainly due to hormonal imbalance due to weight gain, stress, anxiety, and depression. It is very likely that this is the case with this current pandemic. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and staying in touch with family and friends are keys to addressing these issues.
c. Painful periods: This is a common problem, especially among young girls, that is overlooked and managed by over-the-counter drugs. For this recurring problem, you can opt for tele-advice.
d. Heavy Menstrual Bleeding (HMB): Heavy menstrual flow can result in a flow that lasts longer than 5-7 days. This can lead to low hemoglobin levels and may require the hygiene pads to be changed every 2 hours. It is imperative that it be examined and treated in conjunction with oral iron replacement therapy.
Contributions from Vaishali Joshi, Senior Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Kokilaben Ambani Hospital, Mumbai