Mar 17, 2023

From Menstrual Taboos to Menstrual Rights

Breaking these cultural stigmas and breaking down the negative emotions linked to menstruation requires concerted efforts through education, open communication, and accessibility to resources and support.

Menstruation is a natural part of the female anatomy, yet in many societies, it is still considered a hush-hush topic. Consequently, girls who experience it are often left feeling ashamed and embarrassed, leading to negative emotions such as low self-esteem, guilt, and insecurity. This can be intensified by a lack of open discussion and resources, making the young girl feel like she is the only one going through this experience. The societal taboos surrounding menstruation can result in further isolation and exclusion, with girls being barred from participating in regular activities or events while they are on their period.

Breaking these cultural stigmas and breaking down the negative emotions linked to menstruation requires concerted efforts through education, open communication, and accessibility to resources and support. When girls have the necessary information and support to manage their periods, they can feel more confident and in control of this significant aspect of their lives. By working to challenge these cultural taboos and providing girls with the resources they need, we can help to create a more inclusive and accepting world where everyone feels comfortable discussing and managing their periods without shame.

The first menstrual cycle of a girl's life is often a perplexing experience, marked by confusion and fear as they navigate unfamiliar territory without adequate support or information. This is further exacerbated by a lack of comfort in discussing menstrual health with family or peers, creating a daunting and isolating experience.

The ramifications of inadequate access to menstrual information and resources are severe and far-reaching, ranging from poor health practices to even the onset of infections. For instance, girls may be forced to resort to unsanitary makeshift menstrual products, endangering their health and well-being.

As a natural biological process, menstruation can be a confusing and intimidating experience for young girls, particularly if they are not equipped with adequate knowledge or understanding of what is happening within their bodies. This apprehension can be further amplified by the lingering stigmas and taboos surrounding this bodily function, eliciting shame and embarrassment.

Access menstrual products

Access to menstrual products plays a vital role in both menstrual health and hygiene. A lack of access forces girls to resort to using unsanitary materials, such as old cloth, that increase their risk for health issues, including infections. Consequently, managing their periods with comfort and dignity becomes difficult, leading to further discomfort and embarrassment. For instance, missing school or other activities due to an absence of menstrual products, or enduring leaks or stains which causes shame, are just a few examples.

Lack of proper hygiene

Inadequate menstrual hygiene puts girls at peril for various reproductive health problems, including infections. Menstrual blood can provide an incubator for bacteria and other harmful microorganisms, leading to infections when not managed properly.

For instance, when girls use unsanitary materials to manage their period, they become vulnerable to infections such as bacterial vaginosis or toxic shock syndrome. In addition, the absence of clean water and adequate sanitation can prevent them from properly cleaning themselves, further escalating the risk of infections.

It is crucial for girls to have access to adequate menstrual products and a sanitary environment to manage their periods. This encompasses access to clean water, sanitation facilities, and education regarding menstrual hygiene and reproductive health. By providing girls with the resources and support they require, we can reduce the risk of health problems and empower them with the tools necessary to maintain good menstrual hygiene and reproductive health.

Psychological issues arising from this

Puberty brings about a multitude of transformations for girls, and among these, menstruation can prove to be a confusing, intimidating experience, particularly for those lacking proper education. The physical symptoms, from cramping to bloating to mood swings, can leave them bewildered and uncertain of what is happening to their bodies.

This lack of comprehension can spark anxieties surrounding leakage, odours, and the proper use of menstrual products. Further exacerbated by cultural taboos and the stigma attached to menstruation, girls may feel insecure and ashamed.

To mitigate such psychological distress, it is crucial that they have access to accurate information, resources, and support. Education on menstrual health and hygiene, access to menstrual products, and guidance from trusted sources like parents, teachers, and healthcare providers can help girls confidently navigate this transitional phase.

Low self-esteem:

The Menstruation-Low Self-Esteem Connection: Navigating Shame, Stigma, and Inadequate Information

When it comes to menstruation, shame, stigma, and lack of information can prove to be a toxic combination, leading to a decline in self-esteem and negative body image for some girls. Inadequate education and resources leave them feeling embarrassed or ashamed of their bodies and the changes they are undergoing.

For instance, cultural taboos and stigma can make them feel like there is something inherently wrong with them, leading to feelings of being dirty or unclean. This can drastically impact their self-worth and confidence, making them feel as if they are inferior. Similarly, girls who lack access to menstrual products may experience embarrassment or shame surrounding leakage or odours, further fuelling negative thoughts about their bodies.

It is crucial that girls receive the education, resources, and support they need to mitigate these harmful effects. By reducing shame and stigma, and providing accurate information, girls can navigate this transformative time with a positive self-image and self-esteem intact.


Despite being a natural biological process, menstruation is often shrouded in cultural taboos and stigma, exacerbating the already-existing challenge of access to adequate menstrual products. For some girls, this can result in a vicious cycle of isolation and disconnection from their peers and community.

Picture this - a girl who is unable to procure proper menstrual products is compelled to confine herself to the four walls of her home during her period. Not only does this prevent her from engaging in routine activities, but it also leaves her feeling isolated and estranged from her peers. In such circumstances, the physical limitations imposed by menstruation, coupled with societal stigmas, can prove to be overwhelming, resulting in feelings of loneliness and disconnection.

Moreover, in societies where discussing menstrual health is taboo, girls may find themselves struggling in silence, unable to talk about their experiences with anyone. This perpetuates the cycle of isolation, compounding the already-existing emotional toll of menstruation.

Anxiety and stress

The tumultuous upheaval both physically and hormonally during menstruation can trigger feelings of unease and stress for some girls, especially those who feel insufficiently equipped or unsupported. The monthly cycle can be a daunting, bewildering experience for girls, particularly if they remain uninformed about the alterations taking place within their bodies and what to anticipate.

Cramps, headaches, bloating, and mood fluctuations are among the symptoms they may endure, and if they feel inadequately prepared or lack sufficient support, they may struggle to manage these symptoms, leading to greater anxiety and stress. Regrettably, the persistent stigma and shame surrounding menstruation only exacerbates their stress and anxiety, instilling feelings of self-consciousness and shame regarding their bodies and the transformations they experience.

However, it is crucial for girls to comprehend that menstruation is a normal phenomenon and should not evoke fear. By furnishing girls with comprehensive information, including what they can expect during their menstrual cycle and the proper methods of management, such anxieties can be mitigated and their menstrual journey can be navigated with confidence.

Prasad Amore
Prasad Amore

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