Period poverty is a phenomenon that many women experience throughout the world; they simply do not get access to the education, resources, or products to help them deal with their cycle each month.
One of the problems is that persons who are experiencing period poverty sometimes (but not always) do not have easy access to information and assistance regarding their menstrual cycles, what is considered normal versus abnormal, and how to receive treatment. In this article, we will look at ten things that you should be aware of.
1. Menstruation has a stigma - but it shouldn’t
For the majority of women, menstruation is a natural and healthy aspect of their lives. Roughly half of the women worldwide are of reproductive age, accounting for around 26 percent of the world's female population. The majority of women menstruate once a month for between two to seven days. Menstruation, despite the fact that it is completely normal, is stigmatised all across the world.
Girls may miss out on normal childhood experiences and activities as a result of a lack of awareness about menstruation, which can lead to harmful stereotypes and discrimination. Girls and boys alike are denied the opportunity to learn about menstruation and develop healthy behaviors because of the stigma, taboos, and misunderstandings that surround the topic.
2. Periods can come whenever they want sometimes - compounding the problem
Some people have short, light periods that arrive on schedule every 28 days, while others have heavy periods that arrive whenever they feel like it. This can exacerbate the problem of period poverty because it can be difficult to budget for something that is so unpredictable. Keep an eye out for things that are routine for you and make a note of when they alter.
3. Periods, on average, last between three and seven days
According to Planned Parenthood, the majority of periods last between three and seven days on average. You should not be surprised to observe a variety of colourful hues down there, ranging from bright red to dark brown and every shade in between.
4. Some people have heavier cycles than others
Clots are generally nothing to be concerned about, although if you are struggling with accessing period products we know that this can be particularly difficult. Your body releases anticoagulants (also known as blood-thinning agents) to prevent menstrual blood from clotting while you are on your period; however, when you are bleeding heavily, there is not enough time for them to get to work, and this is when you will notice clotting. It is possible that an overabundance of clots will make your period feel heavier or more painful since you will cramp more than if you were having a regular, continuous flow.
5. Your flow can be irregular
Your period can go from light to heavy to light to heavy in a matter of hours. While frustrating at the best of times, if you are trying to manage your periods without access to sanitation or menstrual hygiene products, it can be really quite difficult - but the fact that an irregular flow can be normal is one less thing for you to worry about.
6. Period cramps can and do happen
Periodic cramps occur when your muscles tense in order to break down the tissue that has built up in your uterine lining, and then expel that tissue from your system after it has been broken down and expelled. Over-the-counter medications such as Advil, Aleve, and Tylenol, as well as gentle exercise and sleep.
7. You need to be aware of toxic shock syndrome (TSS)
When you are struggling to access period products such as tampons, it can be tempting to leave a tampon in just a little longer than it is recommended on the box. However, this can be dangerous. Toxic shock syndrome, or TSS, while thankfully rare, can and does happen, and the main cause of it is leaving a tampon in for too long. This life-threatening condition is accompanied by flu-like symptoms, diarrhoea, muscle pain, and sometimes a rash.
8. It is unlikely, but certainly not impossible to get pregnant while you are on your period
People have the misunderstanding that you cannot become pregnant when on your period. This is incorrect. Contrary to popular belief, it is absolutely possible to become pregnant while on your period. Although it is less likely that you may become pregnant during your period, according to Planned Parenthood, the possibility is still there. If you are having sex while on your period, make sure you are using some form of contraception.
9. There are various period products out there
Once upon a time, the only options available to women were tampons and sanitary towels. These disposable items can cost a lot of money every month. These days, there are various other options available. Many involve more money to begin with, which can be difficult if you are already struggling, but are worth looking into if you can. These include period panties, cloth pads, and menstrual cups.
10. Leaks happen to everyone at some point
You may be worried about leaking, especially if you are finding it hard to access reliable sanitary products. While not something anyone relishes, rest assured that leakages happen to everyone at some point. If you do leak onto your clothes, soak the garment in cold water as quickly as you can and if you have salt, adding it to the water can help to lift the stain out.