Menstruation and Me

Ours is an inclusive family system, but we have more of distance and less of inclusion when it comes to menstruation because of social and religious stigmas.

Menstruation is a monthly exercise, and a necessity for women. Sanitation in the times of those five days has been a challenge even though we live in the age of tremendous innovations- largely because of the stigmas associated with a natural exercise.

As a girl, all of us know that one day we will get our period. It is a monthly exercise to cleanse our bodies, when they prepare the placenta to receive the child.

My grand aunt, who is a proud dog owner, told me that bitches (female dogs) have it at a way less frequency than women (female humans) {just wanted to be species equal, nothing else}.

My grandmother had no pads. She received a torn cotton saree, which she would cut in pieces and stuff with cotton. By the time my aunt was born, in the 80's they had Carefree pads- which had an elastic and the pad could be attached to the two loops. It costed a lot- and was used only when women had to go out. In a country where stigmas were huge and communication in spouses wasn’t as open, mothers could not explain where the money went, or what the need was- think that if she cannot provide for her daughter, what about herself?

I am a Delhiite, and even my aunt and dad were born there. I freak out when I imagine what the state of villages would be.

Be it BuzzFeed or YouTube channels these days, they give a liberal outlook on how women can upgrade to a healthier lifestyle using innovative products, Sirona being one company that offers them.

I believe many of us were told that Periods are supposed to be painful. You have to bear with it. We would consume Meftal after Meftal, be scolded by mothers for not being ‘adjusting’ or ‘too careful’ as we complained all day about a problem our brothers and classmates had no idea about and fathers never completely understood, because of their own oblivious childhoods faced with the ‘secret’ they read and giggled about in books, but never expressed their curiosity about- partly because of the system, and partly because they were not interested after a point.

Women kept heating pads on their back or abdomen, but in summers that is impossible; while school or work that is not practical.

I remember having a painful period initially, and my friends would know seeing my face that something was wrong with me no matter how normal i would try my day to be- they would say, you look white as a zombie!

I wish I had come across Pain Relief Patches from Sirona earlier.

Infused with menthol and eucalyptus, these patches are natural and relax the muscular abdominal pain caused by Menstrual unease. I never took Meftals because I didn’t want to have a habit of pills, and hot water bottles left rashes on my skin.

It is ideal for our travel days because we get maternity leave, but not menstruation leave from work. Why should life stop, when periods are our partners of 40 years!

These patches last for 8–12 hours on a stretch. They can be worn under office clothes, applied on back or abdomen or spasm area, and they don’t leave any mark, hence non-messy and convenient.

A perfect answer to the nasty pulling sensations, it is a multipurpose patch and can be used during regular muscular pain as well.

My exposure to menstrual cups was two to three years ago. I saw about it on feed, and immediately got interested.

Menstrual cups are a phenomenon in themselves. They are the pioneer of eco-feminism, I’ll say. They save the environment, they save your trips to the chemist, but that’s not all.

Use it to feel it.

I’ve been using menstrual cups for a year now. You select your size, I guess it’s small to medium for girls my age and large for those who have given birth, but check the guide or talk to an executive on thesirona.com.

So when the first time I used it, got a mini shock- where’s the blood? It was so comfortable. There was no staining, no leakage, no constant elbows to friends to check if there were stains, no washing the bedsheet because slippy pads always meant I’d inform the household I’m down.

You know, you don’t have to fix your beach or pool date according to your menstrual calendar. This cup just fits into the vaginal cavity and collects the blood flow. It’s got a 15 ml capacity, now even on my second day I don’t have it till 7 ml also, so you are sorted. It holds the flow for 8–10 hours on average.

It’s too good to be true. And I know your buts- one is Toxic Shock Syndrome and other is the breaking of the hymen. I’ll address them here only.

TSS is a reality where women forget their tampons or cups inside for days because it’s so comfortable. But it’s generally hard to ‘forget’ seeing that we have a thread in tampons and the cup gets heavy once it has flow, plus there’s a stem that will lower down and remind you to make the washroom trip before you go to sleep. It’s not going to get lost there, come on, even babies don’t get lost after staying 9 months! This is just 8 hours. If you are at home, check after 4. You’ll be fine girl.

Well hymen is a big issue in India, but let me tell you that you might have already broken it while cycling or dancing or running. Not a big deal! Comfort and practicality should come first, you have to go work.

I tried finding companies that offered affordable sanitation, and comfort. My search ended at Sirona. A venture by women for women, it almost seems like a woman I know, my best friend. Their products, from the mini travel kit to intimate washes, menstrual cup washes to intimate washes, are a luxury it seems, but actually a necessity for our needs. Compact and inclusive, their catalog is unique.

I wish I could give back more to society, because I have the privilege to have a trip to the chemist and afford sanitation, but millions of girls like me don’t. No leading company is catering to that even though they are multinational and multi-billion. It takes will, and not money, to give back.

I love the fact that Sirona contributes parts of its proceedings to Aaan- a social initiative that caters to the menstrual and hygienic needs of sex workers and trafficked women. They are as women as me, and deserve more care.

Innovation is the principle of life, and what I’ve learnt from my journey which can be your take-away is that, we have to come out of our stigmas- be it religious or societal, so that not only our sisters and daughters have a comfortable period, but so do each girl out there who cannot afford this care.

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