EMBRACE WOMENHOOD – PERIOD TABOO

Having binged on my favourite web series, I slept happily only to be awakened by my uterus smirking at me. “Wipe that smug smile off your face”, I yelled. Aaah.. Why me? Who gets these weird nightmares? Guess I had read far too many fairy tales in my childhood . My Sadist uterus grinned ,” Time for your little punishment”. I groaned. Oh no! Not again !

When I was young, I use to wonder Why blood of all things, Of course later I learnt in one of my biology class that bleeding is caused due to blood vessels disintegrating when the lining in womb detaches itself. If only the pain burnt calories, it would still be worth it !

(Pic Credit :Google image used for illustration purpose. I Do Not own this pic)

So last week, I decided to conduct a survey to see if I was the only one suffering. I typed a few questions and sent it to a sample size of 40 women. Well, 16 of them said it affected their ability to work, which constitutes almost 40% of the sample size.

Out of 40 women who took this questionnaire, 72%, that is, 29 women said they tend to binge and crave for certain food items like sweets or meat when their periods are due. When asked about PMS, 71% said that they feel irritated and experience mood swings in the week leading up to their period.
23 women revealed that their body showed physical changes like bloating and breast tenderness during periods, which constitutes almost 57% of the sample.
43% also confessed to feeling tired and have difficulty in concentration.
When asked to rate their monthly period pain on a scale of 1-10, 11 women said they don’t feel any pain during periods which constitutes only 15%, Rest 85% responded to having moderate to severe discomfort.
According to this survey, 57% suffer, 28% feel moderate discomfort while only 15% do not feel discomfort.

The worst part is when you are moaning during periods and someone in vicinity asks how are you feeling, and you say ‘I am fine ‘ and try to put up a brave face while your inner voice whispers As fine as giving birth to twin dinosaurs.

Only 10% of working women said they feel comfortable asking their manager for leave during periods. I remember one of my male manager long back asked me why do I take a day’s leave every month. How is it possible that only you fall sick monthly while we don’t. Of Course I curbed my tongue from saying I have a uterus and You don’t. So please Do Not voice your opinion about something you have no idea about.

There is a need to sensitize men about menstruation. Pain varies from one person to another. Around 80% women suffer from PMS. Heard of PMS? Premenstrual Syndrome occurs between ovulation and till the period ends, Generally it starts few days before periods. Our body goes through a lot of emotional and physical changes. It is common to have mood swings, irritability, crying spells, during that time, Other than bloating, breast tenderness, acne and fatigue.

There is no cure for PMS but your doctor can help with the symptoms. My Gynaecologist said that every women should take one Vitamin D sachet and Iron supplements after your period ends for 10 days (10 tabs a month ).

  • Vitamin D (once a month ), Iron (once a day) and calcium supplements
  • Drink lot of water. No milk and dairy during Period as it can trigger menstrual cramps.
  • Eat healthy. Stay away from salt and processed food to avoid bloating.

So it is important to educate people about the distress and discomfort faced by women. People generally feel discouraged from speaking about periods and related topics due to societal shaming and cultural factors.

Even today in India, in the 21st century, despite being a progressive country, women are considered impure during menarche and are discouraged from entering temples and other holy places.

It is a natural biological occurence . Let’s stop being ashamed about it and stop labelling it with names like impure, Not Well, Stomach pain , chumming etc . Let’s embrace womenhood. We are not weak . And all those who think of us as ‘weak’ , try bleeding for a week continuously while carrying your day to day activities.