The Link Between Menstrual Health and Overall Well-being: A Comprehensive Guide

The human body is a fascinating piece of art. All our systems work interdependently in harmony. So when one part of our body experiences a threat, all others bear the brunt, too. It should not be surprising when we say menstrual health contributes to women's overall well-being.

It is quite a simple link if we look at it! Ignoring menstrual health leads to compromise in accessibility of sanitary products. As a result, women turn to lesser hygienic means to manage their periods. And eventually fall prey to infections and vaginal complications.

The menstrual hygiene initiative is not seeking equality; it is about the medical rights that women deserve. Without such drives, women may experience severe medical emergencies. Threats to reproductive health, such as infertility and birth complications, are some extreme consequences of poor menstrual health.

Studies maintain that using sanitary napkins reduces sexually transmitted diseases significantly. On the other hand, the lack of such necessities and infrastructure results in discomfort. Girls experience psychological stress in the absence of essential menstrual hygiene initiative management.

Menstrual health doesn't function in a vacuum!

Health is multifaceted. If your physical health takes a hit, your mental health is likely to face consequences, too. This goes for both men and women, of course! When women get their periods, their overall health is more sensitive to changes.

The frequent experience is how mental health and mood are subject to fluctuation during periods. Although it is essential and shared knowledge, people are more likely to make a sexist joke about it. We overlook it and cannot seem to fathom the effect on women's well-being.

Worldwide, there are approximately 1.8 billion menstruating women and girls. This means that at any given time, there are 800 million women who menstruate each day. The number indicates around 26% of the world population. Girls get their first period after hitting puberty. Most of them start at 10 to 16 years old. The process goes up to 50 years, 50% of one's lifetime.

So, for some bodily functions that are crucial for 50% of one's lifetime, one can at least expect proper sanitation, water, and infrastructure. However, unfortunately, 35% of the global population struggles to access these basic needs.

Periods and their effect on our overall well-being

When girls feel like doing nothing when on periods, why is it like that? Maybe because they feel lazy? Most people might think that. But no, it is so much more than that.

The feeling of exhaustion and sadness is just an indicator of how overall well-being depends on menstrual health. We cannot emphasize the importance of caring for menstrual health enough to preserve overall well-being.

  • Menstrual health and physical health

Menstruation is a natural biological occurrence that women experience. However, it is not always a cakewalk. During periods, women tend to share several distressing symptoms like pain, blues, and other discomfort.

Prioritising menstrual health means preventing future health complications. This is why menstrual hygiene initiative programs are the need of the hour. Only a proactive approach can ensure the prevention of any medical adversities.

  • Menstrual health and reproductive health

Periods are an indicator of health and well-being. It is essential to the women's reproductive system. So, menstrual health is not restricted solely to the menstrual cycle. Ignoring menstrual health concerns can lead to overlooking medical issues like infections, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), etc.

Having an open dialogue about periods ensures awareness among people. Women can visit hospitals if they experience any deviation. However, they must have proper menstrual education to understand it might be an emergency.

  • Menstrual health and mental health

There is a lot of stigma and taboo around 'periods’. Society loves to treat periods as if it were a disease. This perpetual shame that makes us whisper about a healthy and normal bodily process is unfortunate.

The shame surrounding menstruation inculcates low self-esteem and feelings of humiliation in young girls. So when mood swings and irritability disrupt functioning, women are likely to blame themselves. And, of course, people help, too, in blaming girls for not being able to 'manage their emotions.'

Today, mental health is a popular topic. So, if you feel passionately about destigmatizing mental health, open conversations about its effect on menstruation are essential.

Menstrual hygiene and health come under fundamental human rights

It is crucial to recognise that menstrual hygiene is not an extra benefit women seek. It is a primary medical and healthcare right. When girls and women have to compromise on such basic needs, it is frustrating.

Moreover, the threat that it poses is real. Instead of using proper sanitary products, they turn to clothes, newspapers, etc. Girls miss school because of the absence of menstrual hygiene initiatives and infrastructure. Women face discrimination in the workplace.

Women need to realize their full potential, given such shortcomings. But it is high time to bring about change. The future expects better, and we ought to do so!

No one should be fighting or begging for basic needs and rights. It is unfair. Dismantling the myths and stigma around periods can only lead us to focus on what is essential.

The discussion should be around the consequences of poor menstrual health. With better sanitary products and hygiene access, women wouldn't have to deal with cascading medical complications.

To Wrap Up

It is the 21st century, and periods are still taboo. A process as simple and every day makes women shameful. A fundamental part of any healthy woman cannot be just hushed conversation. It deserves attention, open dialogue, and support. That is the least young girls and women ask for!

Menstrual health as a topic fell prey to societal taboos and patriarchal ideologies. Such shackles promoted a culture of 'silence and shame' around periods. It isn't kind to women!

Only open dialogue can break some perpetual taboos, misconceptions, and stigmas. It is time we do justice to the women of our society. Stand by them and help them realize their fundamental rights!