28th of May is celebrated as the World Menstrual Hygiene Day.
For a woman, menstruation is practically a life-partner, isn’t it? No wonder then that we refer to our Periods as “Chums”! And, these chums can be a big pain in the…you know what! But, it’s these very chums that we need to be grateful for giving us the ability to carry within our womb a life–a blessing the species of the opposite sex is deprived of.
And, it’s these chums that deserve to be celebrated on World Menstrual Hygiene Day!
It’s, indeed, a great platform to also share menstrual care and hygiene that we need to follow.
MENSTRUATION AND SUPERSTITION:
We have heard of customs in our country as well as in certain foreign countries, about how menstruating women are considered impure.
Instead of considering Periods as just a physiological process, like any other, happening inside the human body, they are regarded with disgust, and a woman on her period, impure.
It’s only awareness about the process, and education, that can banish such age-old myths and superstitions and help women lead better lives.
So, yes, thanks again to the Menstrual Hygiene Day, we can openly talk about this “taboo” topic, and express the need to accept it as a natural process and help women get the support they so need.
PERIOD PRODUCTS AND THEIR AVAILABILITY:
If you are reading this post, you are one of those blessed ones who have access to period products of the best quality, without having to make any adjustments in your monthly budget. But, as you know, there are millions of women out there who have no such access to any products that can take care of them during those five days of the month.
I am sure you must have read about how women belonging to the poorer sections of our society have to make do with anything they can find to protect themselves during their periods.
Rags dirtier than the dusters used to clean floors, leaves, ash, paper, mud…my fingers tremble as I type these words, wondering how these women go through their entire lives living in such squalid conditions when they actually deserve better.
Thankfully, we do have some kind samaritans who, through the sheer goodness of their heart, have made affordable sanitary napkins available for these women. May their tribe increase!
We could also lend a helping hand to women, like our domestic help, for example, with period products that they might find unaffordable. It could make a world of difference to them!
ECO-FRIENDLY PERIOD PRODUCTS:
Today, the focus is on sustainable living and women are opting for products that are manufactured from natural fibres that do not pose a threat to either our health or our environment.
Reusable sanitary napkins made from cotton, disposable sanitary napkins that are bio-degradable, intimate washes made from oils and rose water and without any harmful chemicals can be bought online or from stores that stock up on such products.
These products are skin-friendly, do not cause rashes or irritation to the intimate areas as they are made specifically keeping our skin in mind.
These also do not put our environment at risk, considering a sanitary pad takes almost 800 years to decompose!
Do check out such websites that speak about sustainable sanitary products.
MENSTRUATION AND SELF-CARE:
Today, at the age of 46, I am not so bothered about the PMS or my periods. It is definitely a painful period, no doubt, but I have learned to take care of myself and manage it well with certain lifestyle changes.
However, there are many youngsters who suffer from lack of information about self-care during periods and find it difficult to handle the PMS as well as the time during the periods. And, hence this post.
Mood swings, body ache, tenderness of breasts, stomach cramps, giddiness, fatigue, irritability are all problems that we face before and during periods. Around 10 days before our period starts, ovulation takes place, and the hormonal changes that take place in our body bring about the symptoms that announce that our periods are just round the corner.
Our moods swing from ecstasy to irritability, and we can shed tears at the drop of a hat! Our anger too can shoot through the roof if we don’t control it in time. It’s really a tough time to handle. But, there are certain changes that you can make in your daily life, diet and lifestyle that will help you manage the symptoms better.
SELF-CARE TIPS FOR A HAPPY PERIOD:
1 First of all, breathe. And, the first instant you start feeling like you are not yourself, know that you are PMS-ing.
2 Our diet plays a huge role in managing our moods, so eat well. Include vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs in your daily diet.
Flaxseeds are known to reduce depression and irritability thanks to the Omega 3 fatty acids present in them. Dry roast and grind flaxseeds and fenugreek seeds and have a spoonful of this powder every morning on an empty stomach. Follow it with two glasses of water that has lemon juice, grated ginger, tulsi leaves and carom seeds. Just boil the water for 5 minutes and drink it when warm.
3 If you are suffering from unbearable stomach cramps, use a hot water bag to give yourself some relief. Check with your family physician or your gynaecologist for painkillers.
4 Take it easy when you feel too tired or sore. Sleep for some more time (if you can), or try and reduce some workload if you can’t take a leave from work/college. You deserve all the rest you can get.
5 Try practicing Yoga asanas that give relief from backache, stomach ache, and pain in the legs. Breathing exercises or Pranayam (learned from a Yoga teacher) will definitely help keep your moods under control.
6 Do visit a counsellor or a psychiatrist if your mood swings are uncontrollable. There is really no need to feel ashamed. It’s for your health, my dear!
7 Do go for a walk in the evening to fill your lungs with some fresh air if you have been sitting cooped up at home all day. It will do you a world of good! Your need the exercise because sitting for long hours does more harm than good.
8 During PMS, one does crave chocolates or spicy, junk food. Whenever I start craving chocolates, pizza or chaat, I know my chums are just round the corner and I go indulge myself without any guilt. Do not bother about calories on such days; just pamper yourself. it’s an advice given to me by my gynaec friend!
9 Call up or meet your girlfriends to share your PMS woes.Your girls will understand you better than anyone else, coz they too go through it all and know the exact words that will soothe you.
10 Pamper yourself on days when you feel morose and/or melancholic. Opt for your favourite comedy TV series or movies, and not something tragic or depressing. But, if you do feel better after shedding some tears, then stock up on a handful of tissues and just have a good cry. It can be quite the therapy you need! I do it…all I have to do is watch dog videos or read something sentimental and I cry a bucketful! It does give me a lot of relief.
Your Periods need not come in your way as you work towards building a Life for yourself. A little bit of TLC (tender loving care) is all it needs to live a healthy and happy life…even during “those five days”!
Looking after yourself (before, during and after your periods) is your duty and your responsibility towards yourself. For, if you don’t, no one will. Trust me!
Our face doesn’t often reveal that we are on our periods, except when we are cranky or fatigued. And, even then, we have to continue working–at home or at the office–for no one’s going to sweep us off our feet, lay us on a bed and offer to do our work for us! All they will say, is, “Come on, it’s just something that happen every month! What’s the big deal?”
Forgive them, for they are ignorant. Take extra care of yourself and shower yourself with loads of love, ‘coz you are worth it!
A note to men:
If you are reading this…those five days of the month when we aren’t ourselves are tough on us. We aren’t enjoying a picnic–it’s all because of the hormones, you see, that we “go crazy” (as you like to call it). So, some amount of sympathy, and empathy, with a dollop of caring words will help us a lot.