Menstruation, unfortunately, can be a very difficult topic of discussion among families and friends. This difficulty can also sometimes extend to between a female patient and her doctor. Lack of awareness about menstruation-related issues has led to a set back in the right personal hygiene for many young girls, especially those living in rural areas.
There are many mothers today who find it very uneasy to talk to their young teenage daughters about menstruation and most teenagers, likewise, may not find the courage to approach their mothers (or parents) to discuss when they are having their periods. Studies also show that even some adults feel reluctant opening up about their periods to their spouses, friends or health professionals.
Till date, menstruation remains a social taboo in certain cultures in Africa and other continents in the world, compounding the difficulty for many young girls and mothers to talk freely about their menstrual challenges.
This article highlights some few reasons why discussing about periods among families, schools and hospital settings is important and what you can do as a young teenager, a parent (mother and father), or an elder sister, to foster healthy talks about menstruation in the family or hospital setting.
Benefits of Discussing About Your Period
As stated above, lack of awareness of menstruation-related issues among young teenagers has led to a set back in improving their personal hygiene when menstruating. This challenge is faced more by young girls living in rural areas, but even in urban towns, it can also be seen among some teenagers.
When parents, mothers more preferably, an elder sister, or school teachers, are able to freely talk to these young teenagers who have just started their menstrual journey, they can pass on relevant menstrual hygiene information that can equip them to improve their personal hygiene, especially during their periods.
There are also several female health conditions that can be picked up early from the changes in a woman’s period and can be treated before it results in unwanted complications like infertility. This remains one of the top reasons why it’s important for you to talk about menstruation at the right time to the right people and your doctor. When you notice any unusual changes in your period and are bold to discuss it with your parents or elder sister or doctor, It can help in the diagnosis and treatment of such conditions.
The very first period for an 11 – 15 year old girl can be very frightening. Talking to your daughter or younger sister in good time about menstruation will help prepare them psychology for that “big day” for as long as they will be actively menstruating. There are studies that suggests that having such discussions with your daughters or younger sister helps to strengthen your relationship and they can trust you about other personal issues they may have in the near future.
Finally, adequate understanding of the menstrual cycle can be very beneficial to couples who are looking to get pregnant or are opting for natural contraceptive methods. Pregnancy is linked to your period and discussing your period with your spouse can help both of you prepare for when to have sexual intercourse or not to have any sexual intercourse as the case may be.
Steps to Take to Improve Healthier Talks About Your Period
In the recent years, there has been various advocacies at national and international levels, in collaboration with several private interested organisation and social groups, to encourage more ease in the community and breaking the social taboo in some cultures for young and adult women alike, to be able to talk more freely about menstruation-related issues that threaten personal, social and community health.
As an individual, you can take the following steps in improve healthy talks about menstruation with the right people;
Read up educative materials on menstruation and the menstrual cycle to improve your understanding about the subject. It will help clear your fears and anxieties as a teenager, and as a parent, it will help provide you with the right information to explain to your daughters.
Ask the right people the right questions. Sometimes as a young teenager, you will need to be more courageous to ask questions you may have about your period to your parents, older sister, or teacher. When necessary, every woman should be bold to open up to their health professionals about their periods. Most doctors will ask you about your periods during some of your hospital visits, don’t feel shy to respond appropriately.
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