Mensuration And Mensural Hygiene

Sep 24, 2023
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What is mensuration or periods?   

  • Menstruation is normal vaginal bleeding that occurs as part of a woman's monthly cycle  
  • The onset of menstruation is a sign that a female body is prepared for normal reproductive function  

What is menarche?

  • Menarche is the occurrence of the first menstrual period  
  • It usually starts between the age of 11 and 14 and continues until menopause at about age 51  
  • The length of a normal menstrual cycle is around 24-38 days with bleeding around 4-7 days  
  • It is the result of the interaction between various hormones, that is the hypothalamic, pituitary, and ovarian hormones  

How does mensuration happen?  

  • When ovulation is not followed by fertilization, the endometrium sheds its functional layer. The process is called mensuration.  

Does a girl undergo physiological changes at the age of menarche?  

  • Yes. Physiological changes occur at the age of menarche
  • Generally, the first experience would be fear, shame, or embarrassment
  • Pain and severe cramps
  • Heaviness in the lower abdomen
  • Hygiene issues, infection
  • Anemia due to heavy bleeding
  • Lethargy  

What are the factors that affect the pattern of mensuration?  

  • Genetic factors  
  • Age of menarche  
  • Nutrition  
  • Race, Geographical location, and Environmental conditions  
  • Health status, Psychological factors  
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)  
  • Socio economic status  
  • Education and occupation of parents  
  • Loss of parents  
  • Child sexual abuse  
  • Physical stress and Smoking  

Does mensuration hold a sociological relevance?  

  • It is very important in health planning  
  • Studies indicate that the average age of menarche has reduced significantly in the last few years  
  • There’s a trend of early onset of menarche in developing and developed countries  

What is the Indian scenario?  

  • About 50% of girls in India know nothing about their period until they start their periods  
  • Only 18% of women of menstruating age have access to sanitary products  
  • 82% lack awareness about menstrual hygiene  
  • Disposable pads are costly and not always available in rural areas. Only 5% of rural women can afford to buy disposable pads.  

How can we create awareness of menstrual hygiene?  

  • Every girl should be taught about menstruation before their first period  
  • Girls should be educated by their mothers and teachers  
  • They can be taught about menstrual hygiene from the time of thelarche or the appearance of breast buds, pubic, and axillary hair  
  • Girls should be taught the need to change sanitary napkins every 4 to 6 hours  
  • They should know how to properly discard used sanitary napkins  
  • They should know to wash, wear clean and dry undergarments  
  • Those using clothes should know how to use clean clothes and change these at frequent intervals  
  • The clothes should be properly washed, dried, and stored in a clean and dry place  
  • Provide a separate storage facility to keep these clothes  
  • If clothes are not maintained properly, it will lead to the growth of microorganisms that cause infection  

What is the role of schools?  

  • Do not consider it a taboo subject  
  • Provide sufficient facilities to change and dispose of their menstrual products and clean themselves  
  • Provide sanitation facilities that are safe. Ensure privacy  
  • Provide access to clean water, soap and dustbin  
  • Create an environment where a menstruating girl is treated respectfully  
  • It is prudent to integrate sex education into the school curriculum  
  • Create an environment where girls and boys learn about it at a very young age  
  • Schools can make facilities for sanitary napkin vending machines  

Menstrual hygiene tips  

  • Change your pads frequently  
  • Try to use cotton sanitary pads  
  • Clean reusable pads properly  
  • Keep the perineal area clean  
  • Wear comfortable, clean underwear  
  • Use correct washing techniques  
  • Discard used sanitary pads properly  
  • Consult a gynecologist in case of irregular or heavy bleeding  
  • Menstruation should be considered normal  

Consult your doctor at Amrita Hospital for a detailed medical examination and treatment.  

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