World Menstrual hygiene day is observed on May 28th. The day has a special significance as an average menstrual cycle is 28 days long and people menstruate for five days each month on an average. This day is celebrated to destigmatize the ideologies revolving around the menstrual cycle so that the people can menstruate without feeling left out due to their vulnerabilities or fear or shame. Before we discuss how to remove the stigma around menstruation, let’s get to know what is menstruation.

The Uterus

What is menstruation?

Menstruation is the monthly shedding of a woman’s womb or technically, the uterine lining. The menstrual cycle represents the cycle of events that occur every month. The first day of a period marks the start of a menstrual cycle.

Even though the average cycle is 28 days long, cycles can last from 21 to 35 days. The rise and fall of molecules in the body called hormones, drive the menstrual cycle’s stages. At specific moments during the menstrual cycle, the pituitary gland in the brain and the ovaries in the female reproductive tract produce and release hormones that drive the reproductive tract’s organs to respond in specific ways. During the menstrual cycle, the following events take place

1. The menses phase

The menses phase lasts from day 1 to day 5.  The uterine lining is shed out through the vaginal opening if no pregnancy has occurred during this phase. People with a uterus most commonly bleed for two to seven days.  

2. The follicular phase

The follicular phase begins on day 6 and lasts until day 14. The level of the hormone estrogen rises during this time, causing the uterine lining (called the endometrium) to thicken and develop. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulates the growth of follicles in the ovaries. This hormone is secreted in the posterior part of the pituitary gland. One of the growing follicles will mature into a completely developed egg between days 10 and 14.

3. The ovulation phase

The ovulation phase occurs around day 14. The ovary releases its egg as a result of a sudden rise of the luteinizing hormone (LH), another hormone secreted in the posterior part of the pituitary gland, in the body.

4. The luteal phase

The luteal phase lasts from day 15 to day 28. The egg travels through the fallopian tubes to the uterus when it gets released from the ovary. Progesterone levels rise in order to prepare the uterine lining for pregnancy. The lady becomes pregnant if the egg gets fertilized by sperm and attaches itself to the uterine wall. If there is no pregnancy, estrogen and progesterone levels diminish, and the thicker uterine lining is removed during menstruation.

What is menstrual hygiene?

Menstrual health is the virtue of being physically, mentally, and most importantly, socially well during the menstrual cycle and the absence of any disease or disorder related to the menstrual cycle. Menstrual health can be achieved by practicing proper menstrual hygiene practices. This can be attained by,

  • Access to information about the menstrual cycle that is timely, accurate, and age-appropriate.
  • Self-care, hygiene practices, and the changes experienced in the process.
  • Caring for their own physical well-being by maintaining good hygiene, privacy, comfort, and safety which also includes access to affordable and effective menstrual necessities.
  • Access to early diagnosis of various menstruation-related disorders and diseases including access to healthcare and resources.
  • Creating a positive and stigma-free environment along with the psychological resources and support they need to take care of themselves throughout the cycle
  • Creating an environment where the individual gets to participate in all spheres of life like social, cultural, etc., which is free from all discrimination, restriction, violence, etc.

In a country like India, menstruation is taboo and is always seen as something impure. People who menstruate are often asked not to do certain things or asked not to step into certain places just because they are menstruating. Menstruation is a normal biological process, just like breathing, digesting food, etc. This process indirectly results in the creation of life and a sign of the existence of next-generation which proves that menstruation shouldn’t be seen as something disgusting. People who don’t mensturate shouldn’t avoid this topic as there is nothing wrong in knowing about this. By taking small steps like this, the stigma around menstruation can be broken down, thereby helping to achieve perfect menstrual health.


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