Menstrual hygiene is the most important subject but one of the least discussed on consumer platforms. It is the need of the hour that we provide a safe space for social discussions and equitable access to education related to sexual health. In India, there has been a blatant silence around adolescent sexual health and hygiene. Talking about sex and menstruation is considered taboo. The prevalence of taboos around menstruation and menstrual hygiene in social settings is a key reason that prevents adolescent girls from seeking medical advice or care because they fear judgment and ostracism. After shattering that stereotype and taking a small step forward to provide a safe space for women to talk about menstrual health and hygiene, we had a conversation with Sujata Pawar, the founder and CEO of Avni-focused startup. on holistic menstrual care.
Menstrual hygiene is important. The silence that surrounds it can be damaging for teenage girls. How can we as individuals end the silence?
Studies have shown that 71% of girls are unaware of their period until their first period. In many parts of the world, women are subjected to isolation, which leaves them oblivious to the ideal way to cope. This lack of awareness and isolation has resulted in girls being expelled from schools. This discrimination is the first thing to be resolved and it can only happen when society ceases to regard this concept as unclean or taboo.
As individuals, we should take the first step to openly discussing with our friends, family, daughters, and sons. Menstrual education for pre-adolescents and adolescents must be a priority. Parents should make a conscious effort to talk about periods with their sons and daughters. Such an inclusive and supportive environment will increase positivity around the topic and end widespread taboos.
What is the best advice for maintaining menstrual hygiene?
Menstruation is a common occurrence. Alas! He has been turned into a secret subject over the years. Because of this, people avoid talking about it, which ends up leading to a lack of awareness in the society. The first tip for maintaining menstrual hygiene is to talk about it and have the right information. Discussing the same, with all individuals in society – brothers, sisters, mother and father to reduce the stigma and make them understand the fundamental challenges of this aspect can allow a lot of change in mindsets.
Which is the best option: sanitary napkins, tampons, menstrual cups or period panties?
Each of these products is safe to use and has its own advantages and disadvantages. Most importantly, choose a product that is made of materials that are safe for the skin, breathable, and needs to be changed frequently and that suits your lifestyle. Your best bet is to choose a good quality product that is tested on essential parameters. Sanitary napkins are a widely used product due to their easy access and affordability. New age reusable cloth tampons may seem like a good option because they are skin-friendly, economical, and accessible
Are menstrual cups safe?
Menstrual cups are probably the most economical and safest menstrual hygiene product. They can benefit from it for more than 7 years, and be used countless times. It should ideally be folded in half and inserted into a C shape. Its basic component is medical grade silicone which is completely safe and leaves no harmful residue behind. In fact, for those with skin problems, menstrual cups are a good choice.
The cups should be washed at least twice a day when in use. It is not yet the most popular choice and there are some myths about this particular product. However, once women start using them, they find it to be the most convenient product for a smooth period.
How can women protect themselves from vaginal infections?
- Poor management of daily menstrual hygiene can lead to fungal and bacterial infections of the vaginal tract.
- Failure to wash the anal and urethral area while using the toilet can lead to urinary tract infections.
- Periods are a period of fluctuating pH in the vaginal area which is a breeding ground for pathogens. It helps to choose a breathable vintage product like good quality cottons
- Often, women avoid using public toilets during the trip and stay there for long hours. This practice, which is done on a regular basis, can cause urinary tract infections.