Use of cloth causes them skin problems
According to the National Family Health Survey, 50 per cent of women aged 15-24 years still use cloth instead of pad for menstrual hygiene. These data point to a lack of awareness about menstrual hygiene, increasing the risk of health problems.
Menstruation is still considered a taboo subject in large parts of India.
Chandrakala, the owner of a small shop in Gollahalli, Kumbalgodu, was unaware about sanitary napkins until her daughter Lavanya made her familiar with sanitary napkins.
“Using cloth instead of pads for six years is causing pain in my stomach and legs. It is difficult to clean cloth. I have faced so many infections because of cloth,” she informed The Observer.
Lavanya, who got information about pads in her school, taught her mother to use pads instead of cloth.
“Girls are now given sessions in schools to spread awareness about menstrual hygiene, so that they do not face the same problems like their mothers,” said Lavanya.
Gayatri, 20, who recently shifted from a village to Bengaluru, shared: “Using cloth created problems of boils and rashes.” Her husband informed her about sanitary napkins. Irregular periods have prevented her from conceiving. This has also resulted in problems with her in-laws and led to self-doubt.
“Disposal of sanitary napkins is the major problem faced by women in rural areas,” Gayatri added.
College student Rashmita, who lives in Devagere, rued the unavailability of menstrual cups in nearby medical shops. Amazon does not deliver them because of her remote location.
Gynecologist Suhasini Inamdar said: “Using menstrual cups is the best, but it depends from family to family as it can break your hymen at times, which is an issue according to some families. Using cloth can cause diseases like bacterial infection, skin problems, and problems in the uterus. Washable pads are suggested only if they are washed with warm water and soap, and dried in the sun.”
“Women should use an affordable and convenient way to care for menstrual hygiene as it is an internal part of their lives. Ignoring it can cause severe problems to their health,” she added.
Aastha Bihar, a member of the Rotaract Club of Koramangala, said: “A young team of club members did a project named ‘Bleed Green’ which had the motto of creating awareness about menstrual hygiene and distributing sanitary napkins to 5,000 women.”
Braja Kishore Pradhan, Vice President of the NGO Aahwahan Foundation, shared: “We have adopted 205 schools and colleges, where they arrange various kinds of awareness sessions, projects targeting young girls…, and making them understand the process of menstruation. We visit schools, rural, semi-rural and slum areas and ensure proper consultation for under-privileged women and girls. We visit schools with experts in gynecology and with sanitary napkins. Proper treatment is given to women suffering from problems at an affordable cost.”
The NGO has provided 15,000 women and girls with sanitary napkins, he added.