Robyn talks World Menstrual Health Day

Friday 28th May 2021 is World Menstrual Health Day!

And the theme is one that is close to Endo South Coasts heart - Action and Investment in Menstrual hygiene and health. It's about tackling the stigma that surrounds our periods and what we deal with whilst menstruating.

Firstly - why menstrual health day? And a GLOBAL day dedicated entirely to celebrating it?

The world celebrates our menstrual health on the 28th day to symbolise the average length of a women’s menstrual cycle, during the 5th month to symbolise the 5 days we menstruate (if you are lucky..).

Menstrual hygiene may seem like a private issue or something that we must deal with individually but menstrual health and peoples lack of access to menstrual hygiene products only seeks to undermine our social status, our health and our education. Stigma, age old taboos and a lack of education are all at the root of the problem.

Additionally, at every decision making level, women are left out and excluded. This includes decision making for emergency relief plans, right down to a household level (House et al, 2012).

World Menstrual Health Day aims to bring together not for profit organisations, governments, agencies and companies within the private sector to raise awareness whilst trying to challenge negative social norms surrounding menstruation.

Since its beginnings in 2014, its reach has grown exponentially! In 2020, 411 Million people were reached online - a 30% increase from the year before - and 151, 000 contributions on social media.

Going forward, Menstrual hygiene day is putting pressure on the governments of the world to end PERIOD TAX.

They are also involved in multiple micro campaigns including aiming to increase education into menstruation in the run up to International Day of the Girl Child on October 11th!

As a charity that aims to increase awareness and push for better education surrounding our periods and health, these campaigns are super close to our hearts and so exciting to hear about.

It is estimated that 300 million people menstruate every day and we spend nearly 3000 days of our lives menstruating!?!? Being able to do so in a safe and hygienic environment is vital to our human rights, development and overall equality. Pre Covid, 500 million people did not have access to all they needed to manage their cycles.

Covid has gone on to disrupt access to menstruation education in schools and community centres as well as disrupting access to products and suitable washing facilities. The use of lockdowns to tackle the pandemic intensified the impact of taboos at households levels too. That's why there is now a growing call for period poverty and stigma to be included in the world's Covid 19 Pandemic response and recovery plan.

World Menstrual Hygiene Day conducted research across 160 countries during the pandemic and found the following:

  • 47% found it harder to get menstrual materials

  • 23% found it more difficult to get hold of pain relief (Don’t we know it!)

  • 14% found it hard to talk about their periods with the people they lived with

  • 6% lacked the privacy or access to safe toilets

  • 51% had less money to buy menstrual products

Our lovely trustee Staff, pointed me in the direction of the brilliant !

This is a brilliant campaign aided by City to Sea - an environmental organisation, campaigning to stop plastic pollution. It has a wealth of information around how we can improve our menstrual hygieneand health whilst also being mindful of theenvironment.

Their website includes a brilliant FAQ section on period products available that benefit the environment too! Here is brief overview of some of those products:

Menstrual Cup

  • A soft, flexible cup made of silicone or latex.

  • They last 5 - 10 years and cost £5 - £30.

  • They hold more blood than the usual tampon.

Reusable Pads

  • Used the same way as disposable.

  • Come in a range of sizes and shapes.

  • Can be washed and reused for 10 years!

  • They cost £4.50, with some kits costing £30 - Some people make their own!

Period Pants

  • So many on the market but they vary in absorbency

  • They hold 8 tampons worth!

  • Just wash them and reuse them!

  • Primark have recently launched some that are more affordable!

Organic pads and tampons

  • 100% organic cotton is the way forward! Less of the chemicals!

  • Using an organic menstrual pad at night will also reduce your risk of toxic syndrome.

Ways to maintain hygiene during your period:

  • Change your pad every 4 hours. Don’t wear them longer than 8 hours.

  • Clean reusable pads often.

  • Do not DOUCHE! You will upset the Ph balance of your Vagina.

  • Avoid heavily perfumed products

  • Never use 2 pads simultaneously

  • Wear comfortable, cotton underwear.

For more information: Look for the Hashtag - #itstimeforaction and find out about LIVE streaming events going on today on social media.

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