Popular rules for menstruating women in India

New Delhi, April 14: Avni, a menstrual hygiene startup, figured out the real-life facts about women and menstrual hygiene practises in India after surveying more than 1,000 women. The survey with a thorough analysis of the responses received from individual women, in order to share the unspoken findings about periods, which have been a taboo subject for centuries.

The survey confirmed that menstrual hygiene is still a taboo topic in society, as more than 33 per cent of respondents said they had no knowledge of periods prior to their first menstruation. While 35 per cent of women had no idea what the phenomenon was. This is concerning because more than 47.4 per cent of women experienced severe abdominal pain during their first menstruation. Dealing with menstruation for the first time and having no knowledge highlights the society’s wide persistent gap.

Following the first menstruation, a whopping 88 per cent of women said that their mother was the first person they contacted to discuss their first period. While 8.2 per cent of women sought assistance from a friend first.

Uncovering the hidden demon in society, 28 per cent of women reported being isolated during their periods. In fact, the survey found that 32.6 per cent of women have purposefully made excuses to avoid admitting that they are menstruating at some point in their lives.

“The survey has brought a lot of existing concerns of the society related to menstruation. We are in 2022 and women are still advised isolation instead of care during their periods. More importantly, the majority of the women were left hung out to dry when they experienced their first menstruation when they had no clue about what their body was going through. Needless to say, they were still in their tender age. Proper knowledge would have helped them prepare mentally and physically. The situation demands for an accelerated approach towards wider spread of information, and social evolution,” said Sujata Pawar — Co-Founder, Avni — Conscious menstrual healthcare startup.

Many misconceptions about what a menstruating woman should do were shared in the survey, including: women on periods must avoid holy practises or even entering a holy place, must avoid touching pickle, should not workout, should not enter kitchen or touch common food items or common utensils, should not wash hair, must not have sex while menstruating, must not touch Tulsi plant or else it will die, the woman becomes impure during periods, must avoid dairy products etc.