I know y’all might be wondering, ‘who does this guy think he is, telling us about menstruation, he doesn’t even have a vagina!’ But it’s cool as a guy, I gat one or two things I can share because of the training I got from the peer educator’s academy.
First of all, introduction – menstruation, or period, is normal (BTW, very NORMAL). It is the vaginal bleeding that occurs in every girl, woman of reproductive age as part of their monthly cycle. Every month, a girl’s body prepares for pregnancy that occurs if their egg (ovum) is fertilised by a sperm. Ideally, after fertilisation, the zygote sticks to the uterus lining and should grow into a full-blown child, but if no pregnancy occurs, the uterus, or womb, sheds its lining. The menstrual blood is partly blood and partly tissue from the inside of the uterus.
Menstruation comes with challenges whether you’re new to experiencing periods or this has been going on for you, but they are solvable and at Sauti, we gat you, boys, fill in, y’all got to learn about this!
Many cultures have beliefs, myths and taboos relating to menstruation. Almost always, there are social norms or unwritten rules and practices about managing menstruation and interacting with menstruating women. While some of these may be helpful, most of them have potentially harmful implications. Also, norms are not universal, so do not judge your neighbour if she does not conform to your beliefs.
Cultural norms and religious taboos on menstruation are often compounded by traditional associations with evil spirits, shame and embarrassment surrounding sexual reproduction. For example, in some cultures, women and girls are told that during menstruation they should not bathe or else risk becoming infertile. Most striking is the restricted control which many women and girls have over their mobility and behaviour due to the preconceived idea of ‘impurity’ during menstruation. In some cultures, women are warned not to cook during their periods or carry infants as it creates bad omen.
I believe that there are many more that you can share with us here. For now, let us explore how women and girls manage their periods. the next ?
Depending on where you come from and what you can afford, different people use varying material to maintain their hygiene during that period of the month. These, of course, have their own considerations.
Mud, cow dung & leaves
Wait wait, wait, wipe that disgust off your face. Please know that not everyone is as privileged as you are to afford all these modern products. Because Mud, cow dung & leaves are free and ever available, some girls opt for this especially in limited-resource settings While these are available options, they come with a high risk of infection and are difficult and uncomfortable to use.
For some people find using tampons better, they are convenient and comfortable to use and allow users to participate in rigorous physical activity like swimming, cycling etc. However, despite this, tampons are not available in many local communities largely because of their cost.
Cool about this is that the cup is reusable and only has to be washed and dried before the next usage. The challenge with a menstrual cup is that it may not be culturally appropriate for use, particularly for adolescent girls, as it also requires a need to be inserted into the vagina. Hygiene and availability of water and soap are particularly important, for washing hands and the menstrual cup. The spoiler alert is that it might be expensive for some people, especially in rural communities.