Menstrual Hygiene Day: Expert debunks 5 myths about menstrual hygiene and health prevalent in Nepal

menstrual cramps
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There are many social taboos and myths relating to menstruation in Nepal. For instance, it is believed that when a menstruating woman touches a plant, it dies. Likewise, they are considered impure and thus untouchable, they are restricted to touch male members of the family, go to the kitchen and worship room, temples and a lot more. 

Such myths have been brought into discourse time and again through various media platforms. However, there are some more misconceptions, especially regarding menstrual health and hygiene, which are barely talked about.

Today, on the occasion of Menstrual Hygiene Day, Prof Dr Bhola Rijal, a pre-eminent gynaecologist and obstetrician in Nepal, explains such myths prevalent among menstruating individuals in Nepali society and debunks them.

Myth 1:  Period blood is dirty and impure

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Many people consider period blood dirty and impure. They are conditioned that all the dirty and impure fluids from the body come out in the form of period blood, therefore, the one who is bleeding is also tagged impure in Nepali society.

 But, there is no such thing as pure blood and impure blood. Period blood is not a way of throwing out toxins. It is a vaginal secretion that contains endometrium (mucus lining), uterine tissues, and very few amounts of blood.

Myth 2:  Dysmenorrhea medicine affects women’s fertility

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It is widely circulated that consuming medicine for relieving menstrual pain is considered to have a lot of side effects on reproductive health including contribution to infertility and problems in conception. Many women and girls, hence, avoid using medication for period pain even if the pain is unbearable.

But, period pain, also medically named dysmenorrhea, is treated by prescribing various medicines. When a woman has this condition, she should consult their gynaecologist and follow the medication accordingly.

Myth 3:  Period must be regular

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Most menstruating people consider that the standard menstrual cycle lasts 28 days. However, this is not it; it is just an average number. There can be +- 7 days on that. It can be shorter or longer depending on the woman’s body conditions and activities.

Menstruation cycles and periods of days can vary from one individual to another as every individual’s body is unique. Also, this can change every month.

Myth 4:  Menstruating individuals should not consume tangy and spicy food

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Many women and girls avoid pickles and many other tangy and spicy dishes during their menstruation thinking it will make the period days more difficult, physically and mentally, disturbing the menstrual flow.

But, that is not true. One can continue consuming their food that they regularly have on other regular days. 

Myth 5: Menstruating individuals must avoid any form of physical activity

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It is seen that most women skip their regular exercise routine and other forms of physical activity during period days. They do so because they are conditioned that doing such activities harms the body.

In contrast, doing exercises can ease menstrual cramps, and feel better. Moreover, menstruation is a natural phenomenon and a regular process. One should continue following their regular schedule until any complications occur. In case of some complications, one should immediately visit a gynaecologist.


Originally published on May 28, 2021.

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Budhathoki was a correspondent at Onlinekhabar from February 2020 to February 2022.

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