The statistics in India about menstrual hygiene are alarming. Only 18% of the population has access to sanitary hygiene. Additionally, menstruation has been a taboo in India since the beginning of time. Many homes in India still follow the beliefs of the past that include not going to the temple or touching the pickle and some even don’t allow ladies to enter the kitchen when they are having their cycles. These beliefs are rampant in the urban areas as well and not just limited to villages.
Looking at the present state of sanitary hygiene amongst women in India and saddening stories about removal of uterus due to menstrual tract infection of a 12 year old, does make the picture of this state clear. Today, there are millions of women in India who have no access to sanitary napkins because they are expensive thus choosing low standards of hygiene. Over 88 percent women go for using cloth, ashes or even husk during menstrual periods.
Here’s a run through the adverse effects of poor sanitary hygiene.
- Using unclean pads or cheap alternatives can lead to urinary infections, urinary tract infections or fungal infections.
- If you don’t change your pad for a long time it can cause vaginal yeast infections and rashes.
- Using cloth and bigger size shapes can lead to rashes due to friction between the thighs.
- Using the same pad for long can also lead to bad odor.
- Many of us don’t know that in an effort to keep the vaginal area clean, you tend to wipe and rinse frequently. This can lead to the bacteria’s from the pot reaching your body and causing infections of the urinary tract.
- Many women think that having an intercourse during a period is a good idea because there is no risk of getting pregnant. But, the fact is, it is risky because you are highly likely to contract sexually transmitted diseases like Herpes, Hepatitis B or STD.
- Not washing hands properly after touching sanitary napkins also leads to infections like Hepatitis B and that of yeast as well.
- Poor Menstrual hygiene can also cause cervical cancer. India produces over 70,000 victims every year and is one of the top ranking cancers in women in India.
Well, this is a problem that has a solution and as per the gynecologists in India awareness around menstruation through education is the key. There is a dire need to educate women on how using sanitary napkins can help prevent many infections and side effects besides maintaining body hygiene and shunning away the blind beliefs and taboos around it.