Healthy Periods: Tips for Better Menstrual Health and Hygiene in Adolescents | & nbspPhoto credit: & nbspiStock Images
New Delhi: As we grow older, we begin to realize and better understand our body, its needs and desires. We also learn to take better care of it, both in terms of hygiene, but also of what we feed and how we keep it. However, when we are teenagers with little knowledge and guidance, we may not have the means to do it. A teenager’s body goes through many changes – and one major change in the case of young girls is the period. Teenage girls usually start their monthly period between the ages of 11 and 13, and this is all too new to be treated. At the same time, given the taboo on the subject in society, they may find it difficult to access knowledge about menstruation, or ask their elders about the biological process and seek more answers.
The way these biological processes are used to make you feel can also affect your view of your body and change the way you look at it, especially at a young age. If little girls feel “dirty”, “unacceptable” and “sick” when they have their period, it can affect how they view the very natural biological process and move away from it throughout their lives. “If your first period makes you feel scared, anxious, confused, angry, and even dirty, there is a good chance that these feelings will continue in subsequent cycles. This is why some cultures, especially in southern India for example, celebrate menarche as a rite of passage and entry to women. These customs can help shape a positive outlook on menstruation, ”said Purnima Khandelwal, senior program manager) and Riya Thakur, senior program manager at the Population Foundation of India.
Tips for better menstrual hygiene and the health of young adolescents
For many teenage girls, their first period can be a confusing time. Underlined by feelings of not belonging, neither of identification as a child nor as an adult. It is also a transitional phase where we go through physical, emotional and psychological transformations and it can be frightening and overwhelming for many, especially when we do not have a social support system.
But are we doomed to misery because no one threw a party for us when we bled? Not enough. The key is to recognize that at any point in your life you have the power to change your menstrual experience and set a positive tone, and the earlier in life the better, say Ms. Khandelwal and Ms. Thakur, although they do share some advice. which can help teenage girls have an easier and safer menstrual cycle.
- Listen to your body – The way we bleed – color, texture, flow, smell, pain – indicates whether we are living in a healthy or unhealthy body. Menstruation is a natural cleanse or detox, which in turn helps girls and women maintain their overall well-being.
- Nourish your body Understanding the meaning of what we eat is a big part of our transformation. Acne, bloating, cramps, loose bowels during menstruation can be an indication of a distressed digestive system. Consuming easily digestible foods such as fruits and eating a balanced diet ensures that your body is getting the nutrition and nourishment it needs before and during your cycle.
- Move your body – Exercise helps release happy hormones, it helps reduce mood swings, pain, and bloating. Exercise is also known to counter some of the effects of advanced hormonal disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The choice of exercise will vary from person to person, depending on what your body is used to.
- Know your body – Women all over the world, especially teenage girls, have a very poor understanding of their bodies. Understanding and appreciating your body and its peculiarities and characteristics are essential steps on the path to self-love.
- Love your body – Maintaining hygiene and using menstrual products that meet our requirements is crucial. Every girl should be free to decide and have access to the product of her choice – be it biodegradable sanitary napkins, reusable cloths, menstrual cups, tampons, menstrual discs, etc. Knowing how to use the menstrual products of your choice as well as a basic understanding of keeping your genitals clean and dry will help maintain a healthy and happy body.
- This also includes being aware of what we are consuming – Do you know what your menstrual products are made of? Are they biodegradable or non-biodegradable? Do you know where they go when they are thrown? Menstruation is an ongoing process of learning, questioning, experiencing, and identifying your needs at different stages of your cycle.
It’s okay to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to seek out information about your menstrual health and hygiene, normalize conversations, whether with parents, teachers, doctors, the Internet – trust the intention, but always check the facts. And know that what works for other menstruators may not work for you and that’s good.
Taking care of your body and mind is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. And by becoming Period Positive, we have the chance to rewrite our stories. Make a conscious effort for your next 3 menstrual cycles and follow the tips above and see if you feel a positive difference.
Disclaimer: The tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or healthcare professional if you have specific questions about a medical problem.