Menstruation: A Taboo in India

menstruation taboo in india

Menstruation: Myths & Facts

Don’t have pickle! Don’t enter the kitchen! Don’t touch other people! Don’t spread your impurities. Ssshhh! don’t even talk about it. In a country with over 67million women, we know surprisingly little about menstruation. In fact, we are so secretive about it that most girls don’t know anything about menstruation until they are caught by surprise when they begin their periods. In order to avoid this we at Stay Sure attempt to bust a few menstruation related myths.

Myth 1: A Woman on Her Period Contaminates her Surroundings

Nothing can be further from the truth. Menstruation is a completely natural physiological function of the body much like digestion or breathing. In fact, if a woman is not menstruating it could indicate a larger issue with her reproductive health. There is no scientific evidence to show that a menstruating woman contaminates the food, plants or people she touches.

Myth 2: Being on your Period is Shameful

It’s not. As mentioned above, it’s a completely normal, natural body process. There’s no need to be shy about buying sanitary napkins. You don’t need to hide them in newspaper. There is also no shame in asking the men in your family to get them for you. They don’t shy away when asking you to buy them shaving products, do they?

Myth 3: Women on Their Period Don’t Exercise

On the contrary, exercise is one of the best things a woman on her period can do. Exercise can elevate your mood and help you combat painful periods. There is also a belief that certain exercises should be avoided during your period. Again, this is not true. A woman on her period should do the exercises she is comfortable with. There is no form of exercise she needs to avoid, not even swimming (done with the right period protection)

Myth 4: Women on Their Period Shouldn’t Wash Their Hair

There is absolutely no scientific evidence between shampooing your hair while on your period and developing a serious disease. In fact, a warm shower can actually relieve the pain you might feel while on your period. In some cultures, it is also believed that menstruating women shouldn’t bathe. These beliefs probably developed due to common bathing areas in olden times. Now however since most people have private bathrooms, a woman on her period should bathe regularly.

Myth 5: People Can Tell When you’re on Your Period

Actually, they can’t. You don’t smell different, look different or walk different when you are menstruating. Nobody will know unless you tell them. However, there is no shame in telling people. In fact it may make your friends (male or female) a little more sensitive to your needs.

Myth 6: You can’t Have Sex While on your Period

You may not be comfortable with the idea, but as long as you and your partner are safe, sex on your periods won’t harm you. There is a higher chance of contracting a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) so do use protection and clean up well after. Also having sex while on your period may even ease your menstrual cramps.

Myth 7: You can’t Get Pregnant While on your Period

The chances of pregnancy are reduced when you are on your period, but they aren’t eliminated altogether. People with irregular cycles are at greater risk of becoming pregnant as their fertile window may overlap with their periods. Unless you are using some sort of contraception, it is better to assume that there are no safe days to avoid pregnancy.

Myth 8: PMS is Not Real

Cramping, bloating, irritability, fatigue etc.; just try telling a woman it’s all in her head! These are some symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome. It is true that not all women will feel the same symptoms nor will they feel all the symptoms every single time. This has given rise to the question of whether PMS is real or not. However, there is no denying the fact that when you are on your period your body is going through hormonal fluctuations and as of now there is no evidence to disprove PMS.

Some of these myths may have been a reality in the olden days but with changing times they need to evolve as well. So the next time somebody tells you what to do when you’re on your period, ask them why. Their explanation may still be stuck in a time warp.