Periods

Girl wearing a dress holding her stomach with one hand to indicate pain owing to periods and with a calendar in the other hand with the period days marked in red.
There is still considerable shame associated with periods

What are ‘periods’?

As part of the natural reproduction process, women’s bodies go through a menstrual cycle. This cycle lasts on average for 28 days (although it differs slightly for everyone). Every month, this cycle involves:

  1. thickening of the uterus lining with tissue in preparation for pregnancy; (the tissue lining helps with pregnancy by protecting and nourishing the egg),
  2. the growth of an egg,
  3. the release of the egg from the ovary through a process called ‘ovulation’, and
  4. finally, if the eggs are not fertilized in time, release and shedding of the uterus lining through the vagina
Diagram indicating the menstrual cycle
A diagram representing the menstrual cycle
  • The uterus lining, accompanying blood, and bodily secretions are exited every cycle. This process is called menstruation or periods.
  • Women menstruate or have periods from puberty to menopause (around the age of 50 but this also differs from person to person).
  • This blood is shed through the vagina for an average of 3 to 5 days a month. But 2 days and 7 days of bleeding are also normal.
  • It’s important to note that women are not alone in experiencing periods. New research has proven that transgender men, non-binary, and gender-queer individuals can also get periods. At the same time, there are transgender women who may not have periods.

Are periods painful?

The experience varies from person to person. While some have no pain, others experience severe cramps. These cramps may be in the stomach and lower abdominal region. The pain could even extend to the back and thighs.

What is PMS and does everyone have it?

Many people feel irritated or notice major mood swings during this time or before their periods. This is when people may ask if they are ‘PMSing’.

So what should I do when I am on my periods?

The most important thing during periods is maintaining hygiene. Staying clean ensures that we don’t get any bacterial or fungal infections.

Illustration showing different menstrual hygiene products such as pads, cups with the label zero waste to encourage using sustainable products during periods.
Environment-friendly choices that minimize menstruation waste are the need of the hour
Infographics of menstrual pain. Illustration of a cute girl. Symptoms, treatment and disease statistics.
Various measures can be taken to help relive discomfort during periods

What NOT to do during periods?

During periods, the estrogen levels go haywire which may reduce our endurance to pain. It is recommended to avoid waxing during this time for the same reason.

Is there a parallel of periods for men?

Men do not bleed like women, but changes in their hormonal levels affect them as well. The term coined for this is Irritable Male Syndrome or IMS.

  • stress,
  • changes in diet,
  • lack of sleep, and so on
Testosterone effects Infographic image isolated on a light grey background. Male sex hormone and it s role in human body. Scientific, educational and popular-scientific concept.
Testosterone plays a very significant role for males

Are periods impure?

NOT AT ALL! Periods are a natural phenomenon. Many cultures consider this time in a girl’s life as impure, but that is far from the truth.

Girl holding a calendar to indicate the days on which she has her periods, marked with red hearts. Having a positive and accepting approach to periods is important.
It’s important to accept periods as a regular part of life of certain groups of human beings

To conclude…

Let’s normalize this very human, biological process. If you are someone who menstruates, look after yourself and others. If you are someone who doesn’t menstruate, have empathy and compassion for those who do.

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Arnold Mascarenhas

Arnold Mascarenhas

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Lokyatha is an education focused initiative to enable young adults to live better, more fruitful lives by delivering real world life skills.