The Silent Health Crisis:

Photo by Wadi Lissa on Unsplash

Menstruation is a natural and vital part of a girl or woman’s life. However, the experience can be marred by the lack of proper menstrual hygiene management, which poses significant health risks. Inadequate menstrual hygiene not only affects physical health but also has far-reaching consequences on emotional and psychological well-being.

  1. Infections and Diseases: Inadequate menstrual hygiene can lead to various infections and diseases. Using unclean materials or improper hygiene practices during menstruation can introduce harmful bacteria into the reproductive tract, increasing the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs), vaginal infections, and even conditions like cervical cancer.
  2. Skin Irritations: Prolonged use of unclean or ill-fitting menstrual products can cause skin irritations and rashes. These skin issues can be painful and may result in open sores, further increasing the risk of infections.
  3. Anaemia: In some cases, girls and women who cannot afford menstrual hygiene products resort to using old rags, leaves, or other unhygienic materials. This can lead to excessive bleeding and increased vulnerability to anemia, a condition where there’s a shortage of red blood cells.
  4. Mental and Emotional Health: The stigma and shame associated with menstruation, coupled with the challenges of managing it in inadequate conditions, can have a profound impact on mental and emotional health. This includes feelings of embarrassment, isolation, and low self-esteem.
  5. School Absenteeism: Girls who lack access to proper menstrual hygiene products may miss school during their periods. This can have a long-term impact on their education, limiting their potential and opportunities in life.
  6. Economic Consequences: Inadequate menstrual hygiene can also lead to economic consequences. The costs associated with treating infections and buying medication can be a heavy burden on families, especially in low-income communities.
  7. Maternal Health: Poor menstrual hygiene practices can persist into adulthood and affect maternal health. Women who have not been educated on proper hygiene may carry these practices into pregnancy and postpartum, risking complications and infections.
  8. Social Isolation: In some societies, women and girls are isolated during their menstruation. This segregation can lead to a sense of alienation and negatively impact their social life.

Inadequate menstrual hygiene is not just a matter of comfort; it’s a public health concern with far-reaching consequences. Addressing this issue requires a multifaceted approach, including education on proper hygiene practices, access to affordable and hygienic menstrual products, and the destigmatization of menstruation. By acknowledging the health implications of inadequate menstrual hygiene, we can work towards a world where all women and girls have the resources and support they need to manage their menstruation safely and with dignity. It is a matter of both public health and human rights that must not be overlooked.

We at Phothiza Holdings have an on-going sanitary pads drive in an attempt to eradicate period poverty. We can not do it alone and need every form of help we can get.

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