Bollywood film Pad Man has opened up discussions around menstruation, but there’s still a long way to go. It’s important for young girls to be aware of periods before their first one, advise experts.
According to a survey conducted by everteen® for Menstrual Hygiene Day, menstruation is no more a hush-hush topic. The survey had participation from 2,400 women – working women in the age group of 25-35 years – from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. As many as 67.7% of women believe that a popular Bollywood movie made people talk about menstruation openly.
Experts say a girl must be prepared for their first period. Here’s what Gauri Singhal, Founder and CEO of FLOH tampons and Shelly Singh, Obstetrics and Gynaecology Consultant at Momspresso, suggest how to make your daughter’s first period comfortable:
Tell her not to shy away from periods: Repeat this as many times as you can — ‘periods are not a taboo’. While pregnancy is celebrated in India, periods are treated in a hush-hush manner. It’s about time we break out of this regressive socio-cultural mindset. The next generation should be that of the trailblazers who finally break the shackles and speak out freely about menstruation.
Make sure it’s an impactful and an empowering one, for she might be the one who changes the way women perceive their periods. In doing so, she might just change the world!
We bleed red, not blue: Leading brands that use blue ink to depict period blood are essentially attaching a message of shame to periods. Let your daughter know that we bleed red, and that there’s no need to be ashamed of it. Periods should no longer be a secret between moms and daughters but can and should be discussed with brothers and dads too.
Personal hygiene is very important during this time: Tampons and pads must be changed every 4-8 hours depending on the flow. And she must wash herself every time she uses the washroom, and keep herself clean since menstrual blood can lead to infection and bad odour. During the period, it is easier to contract bacterial infections or vaginitis.
Disposal of sanitary products must be taught to your young one: It’s important to wrap it in a newspaper and dispose this in the bin rather than flushing it down.
Different women experience period pains at different intensities: Tell her this is part of a normal growing up process. There may be cramps, backache, thigh pain and headaches that may happen. You should opt for herbal period pain patches that discreetly yet effectively soothe the cramps. Exercising may also help to take care of all this.
Make her comfortable: Comfort her by telling not be scared of ‘leaking’ and if it happens, she can just throw that underwear panty away and use a fresh one. Also, apprise her that other girls in her class are also going through similar changes and they can watch each other’s backs.
You can run, jump and even swim if you want to: Tell your daughters that they don’t have to shy away from pursuing their passions even during those days of the month. With new innovative feminine hygiene solutions, girls can run, jump, swim and exercise without worrying about stains.