“I bet you were worried. I was worried. I was worried about vaginas. I was worried about what we think about vaginas, and even more worried that we don’t think about them.”
― Eve Ensler, The Vagina Monologues
A vagina , a word not heard often in normal conversation. We women have loads of things to discuss & comments on . Have you ever heard a discussion regarding the most vital part of the human anatomy that has the power to create new life ?? Because I have not . We protect our eyes , take care of our skin , pamper our hair but I am sure 95 % of women living in big cities or rural area have no concern or idea about how to keep one’s Vagina healthy .
Some years ago I had a chance to live in some small towns in Rajasthan . I was stunned at the ignorance Of women about their health & hygiene. Also some disturbing myths about Female body parts & menstrual cycle ( it is considered impure in many religions). These are age old theories still practiced in most of the rural India. Here are some of those
- The vagina is a dirty organ , not to be talked about or taken care of .
- Woman in her menstrual cycle should not perform regular household work . She should not enter the kitchen or worship area .
- A woman should not come in contact with male members . She should remain confined to a room .
- A piece of cloth is used during menstrual cycle which is washed & reused practically ignoring all the possibilities of infections .
- Women are highly ignorant about the cleanliness of their private parts .
- Most of women don’t use proper innerwear . They refrain from spending money of inner garments considering it a waste of money .
- Physical intimacy is prohibited . If a couple copulate during this time period, it is said to cause illness in the male partner.
- Women should not take a bath or wash hair during the periods .
- Blood lost during menstrual periods is impure blood .
“It’s long past time we started focusing on the solutions that actually keep women healthy, instead of using basic aspects of women’s health as a tool of cultural, moral, and political control.” – Martha Plimpton
The situation is no better in cities . Women in cities treat the subject with equal callousness . You can find the similar situation in masses in bigger town or cities as well . Overall women health & hygiene is an ignorant subject that needs immediate attention. So why women don’t pay attention to their own health ? Why family , kids , husband or a job in the priority list but health is not even included ? I happen to discuss the issue with some women around my area . They came up with varied answers
- Mind make up , They are brought up in such a way that they pay less attention to the matter regarding self .
- Lack of awareness & information , Many don’t have access to proper information & facts . Like polio and Aids campaign, our government should start an extensive campaign for women’s health . National health targets can’t not be achieved until & unless the “lady of the house” is all healthy & well informed .
- Embarrassment , Women often feel shy to discuss these topics . They are embarrassed to reach out to people who have correct information like health care representatives or medical professionals . They rather discuss it with their family & friends who provide nothing but half baked information .
- Money constrains . Many women think sanitary pads are expensive . They would rather spend money on something important than spending money on “luxury” ( It is far more convenient & economical to use home made pads )
The same practice is passed on to generation after generation . The result is pretty evident . Poor women health & alarmingly high rate of nasty infections. So how to avoid its occurrence ?? Its not as hard as it seems . Regular health check ups & proper hygiene routine can avoid a number of diseases .
Time for some Facts & Care routine
First of all ready made sanitary pads are not at all expensive . Stayfree , one of the leading brands of sanitary products , has a wide range of products that suits every requirement .
- It comes in many sizes & shapes for regular , light or heavy flow .
- It is quite convenient to use & ensures better hygiene .
- Unlike homemade pads , Stayfree napkins prevent rashes , leakage , staining & odor . You can remain tension free for a longer time .
- It is easy to carry & convenient to dispose .
The menstrual cycle is a biological process . It is neither impure or unnatural . It is just like breathing , eating or digestion process. There is absolutely no need to isolate yourself during these Five days . Although a good hygiene routine can avoid many infections . Taking a bath or cleaning your private parts is the best way to keep infection & odor at bay . ( Normal odor is fine but check if there is any foul smell . Immediately consult your doctor . It migh be a vaginal infection)
Use a good quality sanitary pad as per your requirement . Keep changing the pad at regular interval depending on the amount of blood flow . Using Sanitary wipes or just cleaning the area with normal water is recommended . ( Excessive flow of blood could be a sign of some major problem .Don’t ignore it .)
Physical intimacy during periods is an individual choice . It doesn’t have any ill effect on any of the partners . In fact some couples prefer this time to get intimate as the chances of pregnancy is very less .
Finally have a nutritious diet & be regular with your health check ups . Prevention is always better than cure . Your little effort can avoid many major health related problems . The female body is a beautiful creation of god .Accept it the way it is . There is nothing wrong , dirty or impure about it .
“The vagina is an important body organ . Take care of it as you take care of the rest of your body . Educate yourself & your daughter about the women health & hygiene . Clear all her doubts . You r support will make her feel good about herself . She will accept the changes It is imperative to pay attention to yourself if you want a healthy family & Nation . ”