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The PadMan Effect - Why Menstrual Hygiene is Such a Big Deal In India!

Dr. Usha Yadav 85% (553 ratings)
MS - Gynaecology, MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
Gynaecologist, Varanasi  •  35 years experience
The PadMan Effect - Why Menstrual Hygiene is Such a Big Deal In India!

The Movie 'PadMan' is making waves much across India and is now attracting the attention of the international media as well, to a problem most women and girls have been facing in India. The movie is inspired by the life of Arunachalam Muruganatham, the inventor of a low-cost sanitary pad the manufacturing machine. He fought social stigma and faced social ostracization for trying to understand the fears and discomfort of women. He worked hard to come up with a low-cost sanitary pad that could be afforded by the poor women all across India.

Taboo:

The taboos, misgivings, and fears surrounding the menstruating women are not new, it is deeply rooted in our culture and its teachings. Such reservations exist in all the cultures whether it is Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity or Buddhism. There are several kinds of rules imposed on women like the prohibition of visiting a temple, physical intimacy, cooking and many more.

Present Condition:

India is a land of contrasts and while there are working women who do not think twice about pulling an 'all-nighter' at work, you also have women who have probably never stepped into a well-constructed or a clean bathroom in all their lives. What any woman of this generation would consider basic menstrual hygiene is probably grossly missing in the latter’s case.

Apart from having minimum water to clean themselves, they use sanitary cloths (really old and discarded cloth) which are washed and reused for every period. They have very less water to wash these sanitary cloths and they are forced to dry them out in a dark and dingy corner of their house lest anyone sees it. In fact, there are several reports of women in rural India using straw, ashes, and sand instead of sanitary pads.

Complications:

  1. Majority of such women in the rural areas report reproductive tract infections.

  2. Lack of awareness amongst men about menstruation makes them ill-informed. As a result, they follow the mindless rituals and beliefs which make the problem much larger than it already is.

  3. Lack of awareness about menstrual hygiene management has resulted in several young girls picking up infections thanks to the usage of hay, straw, and sand as a replacement for sanitary pads.

But, Bollywood's latest blockbuster 'PadMan' has broken the silence and stigma by starting out the conversation openly about sanitary pads. Having said that, below given are some of the basic hygiene tips that should be encouraged in every single woman.

Some Basic Hygiene tips

There are several small things women can do to prevent issues and problems. This can be done by following some simple changes in your routine:

  1. Make sure you change pads frequently to avoid infections.

  2. Soaps and Vaginal washes should be avoided as these can wash the “good bacteria” away.

  3. Avoid wearing jeans and tight-fitting clothes as this can cause excessive sweating.

  4. Make sure you dispose of the used pads correctly and wash your hands with warm water and soap to prevent bacterial infections.

While such awareness about menstrual hygiene is in its nascent stages, there is hope and that is thanks to men like Arunachalam Muruganantham. So, take a step forward and play your part in spreading awareness about menstrual hygiene and its effect on a female’s overall health.

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