From a man’s perspective.
We are a part of some very promising times. People like Arunachalam Muruganantham exist and kudos to Bollywood for taking inspiration from his story and creating the movie Padman. Sometimes all it takes is to start a conversation. And this is exactly what the movie has helped us do.
While growing up, I’ve seen tampons and pads in my mother’s and sister’s wardrobe. We never spoke about it, but I’m glad they never tried to camouflage it either. Yet I feel it’ll do well for all of us (men) to know about menstruation and what women really go through during this time. And the onus of teaching us lies completely on the women in our lives! So if you are a mother and reading this, I request you to talk about menstruation with your son as much as you would with your daughter. This’ll make sure he grows up to be a better son, a better partner and then someday a better father too.
And the more I read about this (periods, of course), the more I find information that outrages, shocks me and I feel compelled to share.
A woman can spend upto ten full years of her life menstruating. The disposable sanitary pads and tampons that are commonly used contain shocking amounts of chemicals. From bleaching them white, to neutralising odours and adding artificial fragrances – Chlorines, dioxins, polypropelyn, polypropelyn glycol are just a few of them. These chemicals are known to cause hormonal disruptions, disturb embryonic development, cause infertility and can lead to multiple types of cancer.
Now it is true that we also end up consuming a lot of chemicals in our daily diet (sadly), but they still move with the food and can eventually be eliminated naturally. But unlike something you swallow, substances placed in and around the vagina may not go through the body’s typical elimination processes. Instead, they are absorbed by the vaginal lining and from there are able to pass almost directly into the bloodstream. And I’m certain we do not completely understand all the damage these chemicals do – physically, emotionally and mentally.
So what can you do?
After speaking with some of my women colleagues and friends on this subject, I’ve come to believe women need to be reminded constantly about how important their health and well-being is. If we men had to go through even an iota of what women go through, there would be riots by now! How synthetic pads are even allowed or considered safe with all the plastic, chlorine and scary chemicals in them?
The solution is simple. Choose health. Switch to Bio-degradable Organic pads, Cloth pads and Menstrual cups. What’s your type?
Biodegradable Organic Pads
A fantastic way to step into the world of sustainable, healthy menstruation, this one is as easy as a synthetic one. Except this one won’t kill you. These pads made with organic cotton and sustainable materials can be disposed or even composted. Makes for a great gift too!
Organic Cloth Pads
A lot of women, infact the majority I’ve spoken to, use cloth pads since it is easy to use, healthier and ideal for the environment. It’s comfortable and regulates the monthly blood flow and in some cases, their PMS has all but disappeared. Men, are you listening?
A little complicated and intimidating at first, but after the first few cycles it’s difficult to ask the cup women to use anything else. They love it! And it’s so ideal, you can swim, trek, do anything you like wearing this. Works out to be super economical as it lasts for over 10 years!!!
So ignorance is no longer bliss. It is said that the awareness level about sanitary pads amongst men is less than 1% in India. And I’m not proud of that. But by making small changes to what we consume, we can experience some very significant transformations. And the ripple of each such decision you make, dear women, eventually spreads through to your loved ones, in ways that none of us can imagine.