Common Menstruation Myths in India

What is Menstruation?

Menstruation is a natural phenomenon particular to women. It is a part of the women’s reproductive cycle and this cycle occurs at the onset of puberty. During menstruation, blood and tissues of the uterus is discharged from the vagina that lasts for 3 to 6 days.

Despite being a natural process, menstruation is highly stigmatized. Merely pronouncing the word ‘Menstruation’ which is commonly known as periods is considered as a taboo. This natural, biological process is trapped in myths which directly or indirectly create obstacles in the socio – cultural life of women. A menstruating woman is treated like an impure and unwanted being. The taboos regarding menstruation has been circulated from one generation to another since a very long time and unfortunately even now, people still have misconceptions regarding this natural process.

Common myths regarding Menstruation

1. MYTH – A menstruating woman cannot enter a place of worship.

FACT – Menstruation is purely biological and has nothing to do with religion.

2. MYTH – Menstrual blood is impure.

FACT – Menstrual blood is not impure. It is the blood that sheds from the lining of the uterus when the egg is not fertilized during the menstrual cycle.

3. MYTH – A menstruating woman is not allowed to enter into the kitchen and are also not allowed to touch pickles.

FACT – In the earlier days, women during their periods used cloth which was extremely unhygienic that led to many dieseases and infections. In that case, it was not preferred for a bleeding woman to enter into the kitchen and touch pickles or any other things in the kitchen. But now when women are using sanitary pads during their periods which is safe, it doesn’t lead to dieseases and infections and this is why there is no need to impose such restrictions.

4. MYTH – A menstruating woman should not come into contact with any family members because she is considered to be in an impure state.

FACT – Because menstruation is a biological phenomenon, there is no way that a woman can be considered to be impure. There is no harm if she come into contact with her family members when she is on her periods.

5. MYTH – Women on their periods should not go near plants as it will kill the plants.

FACT – Plants survive on sunlight, water, manure and good care and their lifespan is not effected if someone goes near them.

6. MYTH – A menstruating woman should refrain from engaging in physical activities like exercise.

FACT – Engaging in physical activities does not harm a menstruating woman rather it helps them to get rid of menstrual cramps.

7. MYTH – There is nothing like PMS.(Pre Menstrual Syndrome)

FACT – PMS is a real thing. A woman on her periods often goes through mixed emotional feelings, anxiety, gets disturbed at little issues etc. Women should consult a doctor if they face these conditions severely during their periods.

8. MYTH – A woman on her periods should not take bath or wash her hair

FACT – It is completely safe for women to take bath during periods. In fact, it is essential for a woman to keep herself clean and maintain hygiene when she is in her periods.

9. MYTH – A woman on her periods should not indulge in sexual activities.

FACT – There is no health problem associated with indulging in sexual activities when a woman is on her periods.

10. MYTH – Do not talk about periods publicly.

FACT – Young girls should be educated about their bodily changes and menstruation right before the time they attain puberty. Also, there is nothing to be embarrassed to talk about periods openly rather it is important to create awareness among people regarding this natural process to swipe away taboos.

Myths relating to menstruation effect a woman’s mental, social and emotional state. Adolescent girls should be made aware of menstrual health and they should be educated enough to distinguish between myths and facts. Awareness should be created among people regarding menstruation so that people stop believing in myths that will help in improving the reproductive health of women.