Quest for Dignified Menstruation in North America

Menstruation is a natural phenomenon among mature females and transgenders who experience shedding of blood for 1-7 days every month from the age of maturity until menopause. Menstruation, the periodic vaginal bleeding that occurs with the shedding of the uterine mucosa is one of the signs of puberty and occurs one- or two-years following appearance of secondary sexual characteristics around the age of 11-14 until the age of 45-50. Menstruation cycle varies from person to person but in a healthy menstruator of reproductive age, the normal cycle has been described as having 28 days, combination of different phages including the period of bleeding, the menstrual phase. The menstrual bleeding can be light, moderate or heavy.

Even though, it’s a natural phenomenon occurs in every menstruator during reproductive age and essential factor for reproduction; because of gender inequality, discriminatory social norms, misconception, cultural taboos, poverty and lack of basic services to maintain good health and hygiene during menstruation often cause unmet needs for girls’ and women’s menstrual hygiene and health. The gap between needs and service availability for maintaining dignity, good physical and psycho-social well being of a menstruating girl/woman through proper care during menstruation is the major challenges found everywhere in the world including North America. Especially, adolescent girls face stigma, harassment and social exclusion during menstruation because of lack of knowledge at the time their menstruation starts as it’s not the topic of discussion in family and most of them don’t get adequate information regarding menstruation and menstrual hygiene. All of this has far-reaching negative impacts on the lives of those who menstruate restricting their mobility, freedom and choices; affecting attendance and participation in school and community life; compromising their safety; and causing stress and anxiety. The challenges are particularly acute for girls and women in humanitarian crises.

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