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
What are the factors that affect the pattern of mensuration?
- Genetic factors
- Age of menarche
- 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.