Why do Women Menstruate?
Menstruation is normal vaginal bleeding that occurs as part of a woman's monthly cycle. Every month, in response to reproductive hormones – mainly oestrogen and progesterone – a woman's womb gets ready for pregnancy. The lining of your uterus gets thicker as a preparation for nurturing a fertilized egg. An egg is released and is ready to be fertilized and settle in the lining of your uterus.
If the egg is not fertilized, your body no longer needs the thicker lining of the uterus, so it starts to break down and is eventually expelled, along with some blood, from your vagina. This is your period, and once it is over, the process starts all over again.
While researching, we found that little, inaccurate or inadequate knowledge about menstruation is a great hindrance in the path of the individual and menstrual hygiene management. Girls and women have very less or no information about reproductive tract infections caused due to the numbness of personal hygiene during menstruation time. Check the video and know why women menstruate.
Are Young girls who yet to menstruate informed earlier?
A 2016 study titled – ‘Menstrual hygiene management among adolescent girls in India’ involving nearly 100,000 girls in India found that about 50,000 didn’t know about menstruation until they got their first period. The examination further explains how many girls even think that they are dying or have caught a horrible disease, the first time they menstruate, due to the pain and blood.
Women actually manage menstruation in different ways when they are at home or outside; at home, they dispose off menstrual products in domestic wastes and in public toilets, they flush them in the toilets without understanding the consequences of choking. So, there should be a need to educate and make them aware of the environmental pollution and health hazards related to them. Implementation of modern techniques like incineration can assist to lessen the waste. Check our previous blog and learn how important it is to maintain menstrual hygiene ( https://www.himalayanhemp.in/post/importance-of-menstrual-hygiene)
Know what to eat and avoid during menstruation
All the hormones in your endocrine system that work together to carry out vital functions and promote homeostasis (the state of equilibrium) in the body, are influenced by many factors, including what you eat. So, yourdiet can have a major impact on your menstrual cycle. The food you eat and your menstrual cycle have a complementary relationship. Your diet can affect how your reproductive system functions, while menstruation affects your need and use of micronutrients (i.e. vitamins and minerals).
Menstruation lowers the amount of iron in your body. Iron is of particular concern for menstruating people as approximately 30% of premenopausal women are iron deficient, and the levels of iron deficiency are much higher in young females as compared to young males. Iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia develop in menstruating women for many reasons. For example, those who experience heavy menstrual flow are at greater risk of iron deficiency, as are those with a vegetarian or vegan diet.
It’s fascinating when we look at the symptoms food that can help us with it.
Protein provides amino acids – the raw materials needed for making hormones.
Calciumis extremely important for women and is needed regularly. If women do not get enough calcium it can cause painful cramping and may also cause hormonal imbalances. Some great natural sources of calcium include sesame seeds, dark green leafy vegetables, quinoa, and beans.
Foods such as kale and broccoli can help support detoxification processes including helping in the removal of excess estrogens.
Vitamin C, found in foods such as dark leafy greens, citrus, and parsley, is a key to help the production of cortisol, which influences our stress response.
Vitamin E can help to relieve period symptoms and it can be found in foods like avocados, egg yolks, spinach, seeds, and broccoli.
Women lose about 1-2 ounces of blood during a regular period, so you would need to keep drinking water to replace your body’s loss of fluid.
Magnesium-rich foodssuch as leafy green vegetables which may be beneficial for mood, water retention, breast tenderness, and insomnia.
Try eating balanced meals filled with fibre and proteinat regular intervals, and being mindful of the types of sugars and carbohydrates that we are eating which contributes to overall hormone balance, helping to reduce mood swings and better manage weight, and cravings.
Iron, as we mentioned above, is a common nutrient deficiency in women. We lose iron every month with our menstrual flow and so it must be replenished. There are many natural sources of iron such as chickpeas, lentils, seafood, cooked spinach, pumpkin seeds and beef to provide the iron that is needed for our bodies.
During your period your body is hard at work as hormone levels rise and your uterine lining sheds. Conserving energy with an extra bit of sleepis an excellent way to help you feel better during your period.
Remember, this is about supporting your body. It will not make your periods completely painless but it will reduce some the pain and discomfort.
Now let’s observe some food to restrict for a healthy reproductive cycle and better nutrition overall.
Sugar. Eating sugary foods will cause your blood sugar levels to go up and therefore the higher your blood sugar goes, the more severe your period symptoms could also be. It’s important to keep them at a gentle level and so we recommend natural sugars carefully.
Caffeine. The ol’ morning motivator can cause heightened anxiety and can cause sleep deprivation, which successively can cause PMS symptoms. Though it’s worth noting that some people may find that a little bit of caffeine can help with period cramps.
Smoking. Smoking can be very dangerous because it can disrupt and cause irregularities to your cycle.
Alcohol. A depressant that often makes PMS symptoms worse.
Know what sanitary pad does to you
While removing the stigma and ensuring menstrual hygiene for each woman is certainly a step within the right direction, sadly, there is still not enough awareness or education on the problems and dangers related to the usage of synthetic sanitary napkins.
As these are considered a medical product, companies don’t need to list the components on the pack. Hence, most of the people are not aware of the items used to manufacture this product. A sanitary pad is made up of multiple layers. Typically, the napkin contains SAPs (super absorbent polymers), rayon, and viscose. SAP is added due to its capacity to hold water and rayon is used in bleaching the cotton/wood pulp (which is used for making an absorbent core) to make it look whiter and hence, more appealing.
But all these end up causing more harm than good. Rayon when used for bleaching, releases dioxins in low levels. Dioxin is responsible for causing pelvic inflammatory disease, infections, impaired fertility.
The World Health Organization lists dioxin as one of the dirty dozen- a group of dangerous chemicals referred to as persistent organic pollutants.
There are many potential health hazards associated with using sanitary napkins for example:
Cancer in the ovaries
The pads are scented which can cause infections in the vagina.
Prolonged contact with SAPs has been also linked with skin reactions such as rashes.
Synthetic and plastic restricts air flow and traps heat and dampness, causing yeast and bacteria growth in the vaginal area.
Damaged immune system
Ailments related to the endometrium
But the matter doesn’t end here. According to Solid Waste Management (SWM) rules, sanitary pads waste comes under the division of Domestic Hazardous Waste. Environmentalists have stressed on the very fact that used sanitary pads and tampons pose an enormous threat to the environment. This is often due to the chemicals that are present in them. If they’re harmful to the environment, how can they be good for you? Check the link below and find out how they can be dangerous and get introduced to safer alternatives. https://www.instagram.com/p/B24SsGlBoYS/?igshid=hnffhr3gsdyd
Also, get introduced to a safer alternative with our flagship product ‘Himalayan Hemp reusable sanitary pads’ which are 100% organic, affordable, and can help reduce your carbon footprint. https://www.instagram.com/p/B26ipTCBV-t/?igshid=12g3k4828xkd5
Next time, you educate someone on menstrual hygiene; make sure you also mention about the other side of it, the one which will soon be a problem. You can join the Himalayan Hemp organisationand help spread the word and protect your loved ones from falling prey to the risks of chemical-infested sanitary pads and tampons.
Like what you read? Recommend and share it with your friends and family. Happy periods.