According to the survey by Avni, a menstrual hygiene startup, taboos like women on periods must avoid holy practices or enter a holy place, should avoid touching pickles, should not work out, must not enter the kitchen or touch common food items or utensils, should not wash hair, must not have sex while menstruating, must not touch the tulsi plant, etc., are still commonplace.
Over 33 percent of respondents of the more than 1,000 women surveyed said they had no knowledge of periods before experiencing their first menstruation while 35 percent of women had little idea about it. This became grave as over 47.4 percent experienced severe abdominal pain on their first menstruation. Dealing with menstruation for the first time, and having no knowledge highlights the wide persistent gap in the society, the survey noted.
The survey also highlighted that 28 percent of the respondents said they were put in isolation during their periods. In fact, the survey revealed 32.6 percent of women have “deliberately made excuses to avoid admitting that they are menstruating”.
“The survey has brought a lot of existing concerns of the society related to menstruation. We are in 2022 and women have 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 at their tender age. Proper knowledge would have helped them prepare mentally and physically. The situation demands an accelerated approach towards the wider spread of information and social evolution,” said Sujata Pawar, co-founder, Avni.
It also reported the physical challenges that women face beyond cramps, with around 50 percent of the women saying they face skin issues including rashes, and irritation using the regular chemical-based sanitary pads.
Around 49.9 percent of women tried over three different sanitary pad brands before settling for their current. Following the foray of new-age organic healthcare products, the survey brought to light the scenario wherein women have tried eco-friendly menstrual products with over 58.9 percent of women trying organic cotton pads, over 19.2 percent of women trying menstrual cups, 16.3 percent of respondents saying that they tried antimicrobial reusable cloth-based pads.