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The Relationship Between Menstrual Health And Mental Health



By Ndueso Young 

Menstruation is a natural and biological process that affects women and girls around the world every month.

Menstruation is very normal. Normal for adolescent girls at puberty, normal for young women of child bearing age, normal for nursing mothers, and single mothers.

Even though menstruation is normal for women in general, it is however with exception of some women at middle adulthood to late adulthood, who are experiencing menopause.

It is recorded that 10% of women world wide suffer from health complications due to inadequate menstrual hygiene management. Also, in my country Nigeria, about 37 million girls and women miss school or work because they can’t afford sanitary pads.

Thus, the lack of proper facilities for period management and sanitation can have a significant effect on both physical and mental health of women and girls. This would be so because menstruation should be managed in privacy, and with dignity.

For the theme of this year’s International Menstrual Hygiene Day, “Together, for a period friendly world”, we are challenged to embrace the need for collaboration and support to ensure that every woman and girl can manage their periods safely, without shame and ridicule.

To further buttress the correlation between menstrual health and mental health, the fact that women and girls face a culture of stigma and shame because they menstruate, could have a negative impact on their mental well-being.

In some communities, menstruation is regarded as a taboo, and women and girls get ostracised from social gatherings and activities. In some cases, they are even stopped from attending worship in church, simply because they menstruate.

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Also, lack of access to clean and private bathrooms, as well as lack of water supply and comfortable spaces can directly lead to feelings of embarrassment, and isolation, which can in turn, affect the self esteem of women and girls.

Moreso, the physical discomfort and pain associated with menstruation can have a negative impact on mental well-being.

Studies have shown that women who experience severe menstrual symptoms, such as cramps, bloating, and fatigue, are more likely to report symptoms of anxiety and depression.

This shows that we all can and should advocate for access to proper menstrual hygiene facilities in our neighborhood so as to close the gap in period poverty, considering that the absence of adequate facilities can exacerbate mental health issues, and this can impede the drive for daily activities, plans and routines.

Therefore, for proper personal hygiene and effective menstrual management, we need to provide access to affordable and sustainable menstrual products.

We must improve sanitation facilities in schools, workplaces, and public spaces, and break the stigma surrounding menstruation.

By working together to build a period friendly world, we can address these challenges and promote both menstrual and mental health.

And by building a period friendly world and promoting both menstrual and mental health, we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for all. Together, we can continue to make a difference!

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