Women Health Sanitation and Hygiene Education is one topic that is hardly spoken about among women.
When it comes to discussing about issues of mother in laws or cooking, it is very easy for women to communicate and discuss it for hours together. But seldom do women speak or seek guidance about their menstrual or health related issues.
This initiative by Umang Foundation Trust has helped to bridge the gap between women and doctors.
When I started talking to some women, there were many shocking revelations about how they feel about menses.
Most of them still believe that it is the body’s impurities and toxins that are thrown out during the cycle and this makes them impure.
Right from their menarche, they were always told of all the things that are not to be done during menses, although never any guidance of how to take care of their health during these days was given.
At an early stage, the young apprehensive girl is given a message that this is something dirty in her body.
Through these informative session, we aim to help people understand not only about basic menstrual hygiene but also about what actually happens during menses, about female reproductive organs and explain how menstrual bleeding is the unfertilized ova which is released as a result of absence of pregnancy rather than any impure blood.
Every month or so, the uterus lining gets thicker to prepare for a fertilized egg if the woman becomes pregnant. If the egg doesn’t get fertilized, that lining is released from the body as blood through the vagina. This monthly process is called menstruation or a period.
With these sessions, women felt more free to discuss about their menses among each other, not to treat this topic as taboo and more importantly, to take right medical guidance whenever they feel there is something different from usual.
After these sessions, many women finally discussed about their health. The lack thereof would be a serious cause of concern to their health. One such astonishing example that we came across was when a 34-year old woman revealed that she was not getting her menses since the past 6 months. She reported to me saying that she is very happy as she feels she can be pure throughout the month.
Orthodox beliefs and norms make women ignore something as alarming as absence of menses, abnormal weight gain and growth of facial hair. That which was clinically a case of PCOS was being referred to as a mark of purity. She also felt that it will help her get pregnant and kept trying just to fail again and again without treating the underlying cause.
Another important aspect is keep oneself clean to avoid infections during their periods.
This establishes the significance of even one small initiative for the awareness and guidance about women’s health.
Young girls should be guided by the mother before they get their menses, so that it does not come like shock or surprise which makes them low and drop out from school. When they are well aware, they will handle it well.
Dr Faiza Khan
B.H.M.S , FCAH
Fellowship in Advanced Homeopathy