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Ten Basic Things to Tell Your Son about Periods

[vc_row full_width=”stretch_row_content”][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]Periods or the menstrual cycle, the body’s natural way of preparing for pregnancy, the changes in the woman’s body that happen every month once she attains puberty, is a natural and healthy process but still requires insight that educates men and even women. It becomes a necessity to grasp how periods occur. It is essential for every human to understand the changes that a woman’s body undergoes when it prepares itself for pregnancy. Talking to kids especially a son on menstruation can sound uncomfortable, but the education regarding the same is a necessity as reliable information is a must for him to have a basic awareness. This will help him make the right choices regarding the health of the women in the family and break social taboos associated with menstruation.

Breaking the myth

Enlightening the sons in the family is seldom done. Awareness of the menstrual cycle becomes essential to break the social taboos that exist in our society. For generations, menstruation has been viewed as impure as it involves blood and smell. Therefore, it becomes a necessity to explain to the sons that the process is as natural as breathing and that there are hygienic methods of addressing the issue.  It means that a woman’s body is healthy and functioning well. The progression is so dynamic that the girl can go through her busy day with not even an inkling of discomfort on the physical level. It is also needed to imply the fact that this is nature’s way to keep life thriving on earth.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator el_width=”50″][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”12107″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Why menstruation?

As a boy grows up and before he matures sexually, girls who belong to his age attain puberty and thus arises the need to explain to the child from a young age of 10 to 12 years or so. It is necessary to make your son understand what biological changes his female friends or siblings would undergo. When children are too young, it is enough to provide them with basic understanding which can be elaborated later on. Your son should know what behavioural and physical discomfort the girl child his age will undergo when she has her periods. It should be notified as to how he is supposed to handle her when she is withdrawn during such times. It can be explained in such a way that your son can conceive the idea then and learn more on it as he grows.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]What happens?

The female child attains puberty when hormonal changes happen in her body. The ovaries release the hormones estrogen and progesterone that cause the uterine lining to become thicker in preparation for a pregnancy. When an egg is fertilised it results in a pregnancy, else the lining breaks down releasing its contents as blood. The male child should be educated with such details so that he will know the difference between stigmas and science and will learn to treat this naturally and cautiously at the same time. Most girls happen to have their first periods between 10 and 15 years. Boys her age playing with her should be educated too on the basics and also the health risks in periods.

Pregnancy

Menstruation happens when a young girl matures physically, and her body becomes responsive to pregnancy. The male child at an appropriate age should be educated on safe sex to avoid getting a female pregnant. When the awareness is created at a very young age, the male child will have the maturity to get himself educated further on the topic which will further aid in safer sexual practices. It will also help the male to understand the difficulties faced by a pregnant woman when he turns into an adult and decides to have a child with a partner. When one male child is educated about menstruation, he can create awareness in his surroundings.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator el_width=”50″][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Pre-menstrual syndrome

Pre-menstrual syndrome or PMS is a very important physiological and psychological condition that a girl child will undergo when she has her periods. The syndrome includes mood swings and depression before and during the duration of her menstruation. She will be moody and ill-tempered and will feel sadness, anxiety, and nervousness. All these symptoms will be on the psychological level. The child can also have bloating sensation, acne on her skin, persistent diarrhea and so on. It is necessary for the man or male child surrounding her to respect this period that she undergoes and understand it by not providing her any further discomfort. If the male child gets educated when young, he will grow up to be an understanding man providing the woman in his life with all the necessary support mentally and physically.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”12109″ img_size=”full” alignment=”right”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]Sanitary napkins

It is necessary for the male to understand why the napkin is being used and how it will be disposed and carried around. This knowledge can be imparted at a very early stage unraveling the mystery behind the napkin advertisements shown on television and availability of sanitary napkins online. The ability to grasp the use of a napkin at a very early stage helps the male child develop a matured overview of the entire menstruation process. Boys should also be educated on the need for women to change napkins at regular intervals and the discomfort the absence of a napkin can cause in a menstruating girl.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator el_width=”50″][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”12108″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Pain and medicines

During the time of her periods, the female child is bound to develop pain ranging from mild to severe. The doctor can put her on medication when the pain gets unbearable, or she would just need to relax and sleep for the pain to subside. When she is surrounded by a male sibling or a friend or a partner, it is always a boon when the male person has a clear understanding of the existing condition and stands to her aid.

Educating a boy on menstruation is a responsibility and necessity. The education does not have to stop with the male child alone but can also extend to men and women alike who are indulged in beliefs that menstruation is unhygienic and the person undergoing that should be shunned. By creating awareness among your sons, you will be helping several women in his life.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_separator el_width=”50″][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Why Do We Want Our Workplace to Be Period Friendly?

[vc_row full_width=”stretch_row_content”][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]While governments across the world are working fervently towards upliftment of women folk, right to safe periods is still a dream at infancy. The dedication of women who dared to challenge societal norms regarding periods paved the way for equal education and work rights for women. The thought that women were physically and mentally incapable of rational thinking due to periods, was nailed in a coffin.

Improving economic conditions and access to sanitary napkins have helped girls and women across the world to study, work and travel conveniently. WASH program has been launched worldwide to provide women the right to menstrual hygiene and comfort.

Even with extensive implementation and intervention of social organizations, millions of girls in Asia and Africa are forced to skip schools due to lack of water, sanitary napkins and privacy. As per Water Supply and Sanitation Council (WSSCC), 350 million women menstruate on any given day.

The pressure for mobilizing the access to facilities for management of menstruation is high, considering the social stigma attached to periods. The question remains that how much period benefits do women at work receive in their workplaces. Everyone is aware of the elephant in the room, but very few men and women treat this topic as the need of the hour.

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator el_width=”50″][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16329″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]The Need for Healthy Management of Menstruation

WSSCC, 2013 considers sidelining of menstrual hygiene needs of a woman, at any sphere of life, to be a violation of her rights. Management of menstruation in a healthy manner requires women to have access to knowledge as well as basic sanitary facilities.

  • Socio-cultural influence and education play important roles in molding and preparing a girl for periods. Taboo surrounding periods force women to suffer in silence and their period rights are denied conveniently. Menstrual awareness instills confidence in women to manage periods properly.

 

  • With awareness, comes the need to make safe absorption material easily accessible. Disposable sanitary napkins for Periods allow women to stay active without having to worry about stains and drying dirty rags.

 

  • Sanitary napkins, tampons and menstrual cups need to be changed as required. Without clean and separate facilities for changing and safely disposing used sanitary products, going to school or work becomes unfeasible.

Clean water, soap and basic facilities for washing and bathing are crucial in preventing infections and making periods manageable.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]Period Friendly Workplace- Need of The Hour

The rate of contribution of women’s workforce across the globe is 48.5%.Menstruating women population aged 12-49 years present a significant portion of the 1.2 billion strong global women workforces.

This mandates the availability of provisions for menstrual hygiene in all workplaces. Not only is this helpful is solving the problem of reduced work performance due to period problems, it also saves female workers from fear of shame and stigma.

There are several spheres of Menstrual Hygiene Management, which workplaces should try to work on for providing a better work environment for women. With a little effort, women can feel safe in case of unexpected period visit or an extremely difficult period.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]1. Hygiene Matters Most

From staining embarrassment to suffering from infections due to prolonged use of sanitary napkins for Periods, women have seen it all. Heathy management of periods is an overlooked matter in moderate- and low-income nations.

Inadequate WASH facilities compromise women’s health and affect their work productivity negatively. The situation worse in small industries like textile, which predominantly rely on women workforce. Women workers are forced to use discarded waste clothes from the factory as sanitary napkins. These are doused with chemicals and pose serious health threats.

A clean and private place for women to change sanitary products and clean themselves allows women to be stress-free and concentrate on work better.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16330″ img_size=”full” alignment=”right”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16332″ img_size=”full” alignment=”right”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]2. Free Access to Sanitary Products

Period poverty is an overrated term. It stands for the lack of access to sanitary products due to financial constraints. This is one the prime reasons, why girls and women skip schools or work during periods. Rags are unhygienic, clumsy to use and cannot prevent stains.

Women workers can benefit from free sanitary napkins dispensers or tampon dispensers in workplaces. This gives them an opportunity to be encouraged to come to workplace and add to the productivity.

In urban working population, women can save their dignity in case of unexpected periods. Availability of sanitary products provides them the convenience to manage their periods without the need to carry them all the time in their bags.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]3. Convenient and Discrete Menstrual Waste Disposal

Menstrual waste management is a pressing issue. Those using synthetic tampons and sanitary napkins for Periods need to dispose them in regular intervals. But lack of separate sanitary bins or waste collection methods can pose health and environmental hazard.

In India alone, 12 % of disposable sanitary product users generate a whopping 9000 tons of non-biodegradable waste every year. Most of this waste ends up being flushed in toilets or strewn in land-fills.

Bins to collect sanitary wastes is a necessity of WASH facility in any workplace. These should be collected and emptied regularly by garbage collecting body. Incinerators are a superior option when it comes to sanitary waste disposal. It burns the sanitary waste at high temperatures, reducing waste load and risk for spread of infections.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16331″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]Periods can be difficult in some cases. Some even require a visit to doctor’s clinic. Disorders like menorrhagia, dysmenorrhea and PMS can cripple women during menstruation. It is estimated that 14-25% of women suffer from menstrual irregularities. Debilitating cramps, mood swings and heavy flow can cause stress as well as low work productivity.

Symptoms related to difficult periods are overlooked in many workplaces. Inability to speak up or inadequate support from workplace results in women suffering in silence.

Period friendly policies like period leaves and work from home flexibility are small but significant steps to alleviate the pain of women employees. This makes them feel included and cared for.

 

Equality driven workforce requisites addressing the topic of menstruation with priority. Breaking the taboo surrounding periods at workplace diminishes the pressure on women to hide or cover their periods instead of moving ahead. Women need care and protection during periods, as much as they need it when they are sick.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Which Menstruation product should I choose for my teenage daughter?

[vc_row full_width=”stretch_row_content”][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]Every mother with a daughter is well aware that at some point in time her little girl will attain puberty and start transforming into a woman like her. It is natural that her daughter will eventually undergo the process of menstruation at an age ranging between 9 and 15 years. Your lean girl or sporty and active daughter may be initiated into the cycle a bit late, but it should not be cause for worry because every individual’s physiology is different. However, if your daughter has not gotten into the process by age 15, you would require the advice of a professional medical healthcare provider.

What is menstruation?

As a girl reaches puberty, the hormonal changes in her body triggered by the pituitary gland in her brain effects physical as well as physiological changes, the physical changes are manifest in the growth of breasts and pubic hair. The physiological change signals the secretion of estrogen. This prompts the release of an egg from the ovary to lodge in the uterus. After a fortnight, if this egg is not fertilized by the sperm, it is discarded along with the now thickened uterine lining to ooze out of the vagina in the form of blood that lasts for four to five days. It is also called period, menses and by a host of other names. This cycle is repeated once in 28 days for a healthy individual.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator el_width=”50″][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”10864″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Initiation of the girl into puberty:

One’s mother is the most important individual to ease your daughter into her menstrual cycle. You need to prepare her as to what to expect and how to cope with this natural phenomenon hygienically without fear and apprehension. In the Indian context, it is more pertinent because of the stigma attached to this biological process. The taboo imposed on the girls is so severe that a majority of girls drop out of schools during their menarche. It is all the more necessary that the mother inculcates in her girl child the inevitability of this as an important and natural part of procreation. Proper education and awareness to instil menstrual hygiene can go a long way in ensuring a healthy growth of the girl child.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]Why is menstrual hygiene important?

Menstruation in India is considered to be a taboo. All-pervading gender inequality does not help the matter. On the contrary, a menstrual process which consumes about six to seven years of an entire female life needs proper menstrual hygiene management to ensure the fundamental dignity of women in the country. It is a girl’s right to basic sanitation, reproductive health, and hygiene.

How do you cope with menstruation?

With the onset of puberty, your daughter is not required to be restrained from all her activities. For her schooling, sports or extra-curricular activities; menstruation need not be an inhibiting factor. It is in this situation most mothers are in a predicament as to what would suit her daughter best during this time. A menstruation product guide would be most handy to a mother at such time.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator el_width=”50″][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

What is the classification of period products?

Essentially the period products are broadly divided into two basic types; external protection and internal protection.

  • External protection: These are aids that absorb the menstrual flow outside the body Eg. Pads and liners.
  • Internal protection: These are products placed within the vagina to absorb the fluid before the menstrual flow leaves the body. Eg. Tampons and cups.

What are the readily available period products?

There are many period products in the market, both of the External and Internal protection types that may suit your teenage daughter depending on the nature of her activities and affordability.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”10865″ img_size=”full” alignment=”right”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]

  • Pads: Commonly called sanitary napkins, might be the number one choice for your daughter’s first period. They are designed with highly absorbent material to stick in place inside the panty with an adhesive and may turn out to be the most convenient for her using the trial and error method. There are many varieties of pads including sizes, material, and shapes to add to the comfort level of the user. With the invention of biodegradable pads, a healthy option for your daughter is available.
  • Cloth pads: These are reusable fabric pads with the same features matching regular disposable pads. If you do not have anathema towards menstrual blood, this type of pad is economical and environment-friendly because you can simply rinse and reuse it.
  • Liners: They are smaller and leaner versions of pads worn by girls like regular pads when the flow is not heavy. Some prefer them for daily use also as a safety measure. But it should be remembered that it is not wise to do so as the artificial material used in liners pose a health risk of vaginal infections. Biodegradable liners are a great healthy alternative that can be worn every day.
  • Tampon: This is an internal protection menstrual product that is inserted within the vagina, with a little string hanging out for extrication at the time of casting off. They are available in different sizes, shapes, flexibility, and absorbencies to suit your daughter’s specific needs and preferences. This is ideal if your daughter is active in sports, but it takes time to get accustomed to. So it is better that she gets used to pads first and then switches to tampons gradually.
  • Menstrual cup: These are spongy cups placed within the vagina to collect the menstrual flow. These are difficult to use and needs some practice before your daughter gets the hang of it. It is therefore not the first choice for your daughter.
  • Sea sponge: This is a natural sea product used moist as a substitute to tampons and menstrual cups. However, young girls are best dissuaded from using these.
  • Period panties: These are new products suitable for the teens which have absorbent polymer support within the inner wear.
  • Period kit: Make sure your daughter is equipped with this period kit with her chosen menstruation product inside her school bag to give her the confidence that will stand her in good stead.

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Are there biodegradable menstrual products?

Most of the pads available in the market are made of extremely absorbent polymers and chlorine bleached, which harm the environment. But now biodegradable pads are available which use plant cellulose which is fully compostable like Heyday sanitary napkins made from corn and bamboo fibre.

Conclusion:

When a daughter attains puberty, the mother requires immense equanimity to overcome her predicament to impart awareness and guide her with the right choice of menstrual product to cope with her blues with the first step into womanhood. Thankfully, there are a plethora of menstrual products to guide and lead her teenage daughter to cope with the experience of menstruation.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_separator el_width=”50″][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Choose biodegradable sanitary pads over the cancer-causing plastic ones!

[vc_row full_width=”stretch_row_content”][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]Feminine hygiene and menstruation are interminably linked. During the lifetime, a woman’s active reproductive period lasts for about 36 years, of which the menstruation period alone spans 6 to 7 years.  Imagine the quantity of menstrual products used by a woman during this phase. Notwithstanding the rampant lack of access and awareness about sanitary products among Indian women, the accumulation of disposable menstruation products in our landfills is mind boggling.

The environmental disaster looming on the horizon seems all the more critical considering that only a small percentage of reproductively active Indian women can afford or have the means to use sanitary napkins or other equivalent menstrual products. It is worth mentioning that most of these products are primarily manufactured using artificial by-products of petroleum i.e. plastics and are not biodegradable. Presumably, the plastic component in the pad may take anything up to 500 years to break down fully in the natural process. This is only indicative of the magnitude of the problem at hand.

What are the menstruation products generally in use?

There are many menstruation products in the market, and it is to your benefit that you learn about a few important ones.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator el_width=”50″][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”10670″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

  • Pads: They are also called disposable sanitary napkins which is the most popular off the shelf product used by the menstruating women. These pads mainly contain plastic and a superabsorbent polymer (SAP). Biodegradable disposable sanitary pads are a recent innovation that is a healthy alternative in this segment.
  • Tampons: These are made up of a blend of rayon and cotton, which when inserted within the vagina, expands by absorbing the menstrual fluid and is thus held in place.
  • Menstrual Cups: Menstrual cups are mostly made of medical grade silicone and rubber. It is used in lieu of tampons by inserting it in the vagina and may be useful for up to about 12 hours at a stretch.
  • Reusable Pads: These pads are generally made up of cloth and some absorbent material and are economical as compared to disposable sanitary napkins. You can wash and reuse them to last a considerable period of time.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]Health hazards of the popular menstruation products?

The health hazards associated with menstruation products manifests only on long exposure and you do not face immediate issues. Some of the risks you carry are:

  • The cellulose gel that forms the bulk of the absorbent material can cause cervical cancer with prolonged exposure to it.
  • The chemical composition of the plastics used in the pads may lead to embryonic damage and its development.
  • The absorbent material is composed of rayon, which when bleached releases dioxin, the presence of which in the pads, make them both health and environmental hazards.
  • The pads if not replaced at regular intervals, make you prone to rashes, allergies, and infections.

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Why choose biodegradable sanitary pads?

Considering the ill-effects of regular menstrual products, the search of a biodegradable sanitary pad began in right earnest. The further intent was to make it widely available to the Indian women, especially in the rural areas at an affordable cost. Moreover, biodegradable sanitary pads are safer for periods as they are made from harmless organic substances and are free of any chemicals, making it soft for your sensitive skin.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”10673″ img_size=”full” alignment=”right”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]How are biodegradable pads advantageous over plastic ones?

The biodegradable pads are mostly made of organic materials such as bamboo, corn, jute or banana fibre with no use of harmful chemicals. These products have been made affordable to the target clientele in the Indian market. The pads are compostable, saving the country from the humongous problem arising out of the disposal of used pads and other menstrual products. Incineration creates the problem of additional air pollution with the release of poisonous fumes which is avoided in the case of using biodegradable sanitary napkins.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator el_width=”50″][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”10671″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

How to reach the biodegradable sanitary napkins online?

The production of biodegradable pads in India is still in the nascent stage with a few entrepreneurs coming forward to fulfil a dire social need. As a measure to popularize the use of these and reach it to the different corners of the country, they have been made available for purchase online. Though the reach is encouraging, the widespread use of these napkins will need much more time.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_separator el_width=”50″][vc_column_text]Conclusion

The Indian society poses a challenge to the adoption of menstrual hygiene as even now a majority view periods as a taboo topic. The girls at puberty are initiated into the routine of poor hygiene by the mothers who remain ignorant of the available options of personal care. With the introduction of proper guidance in schools and the safe, biodegradable sanitary napkins, the path has been set. A sustained effort is sure to bear fruit in future and menstruation and its hygiene management will no longer be taboo.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][/vc_row]