Tips to Talk About Periods: Breaking the Period Taboo

May 28, 2021

No matter how old a woman gets, they cannot get used to periods. Agreed? Let’s talk about it some other day. Now, why not try to understand the fact why discussing periods is essential? Why must more and more people properly know about the period cycle? Although periods are a prevalent thing in women’s lives, we feel awkward discussing them publicly. When someone tries to make us aware of periods, what we do is shy off or smile, the speaker feels uncomfortable to continue.

Why is period a crucial subject for discussion?

The point is that even though the world is changing, periods are still a taboo subject to talk about, and no one likes talking about it.

Usually, girls experience their first periods at an early age. That’s where most of them don’t know what’s happening to their body. Lack of education about it makes everyone uncomfortable to talk about it in public. Even if she has a stain in her dress, people tend to stare and decide to make faces or looks away(even women) without making her aware of it. During those days, girls might have several queries, but they keep themselves numb. First periods can be scary and daunting; if more people are aware of it, there will be fewer chances for girls to be worried as they can take advice and support from others.

There are several myths around menstruation that hold a girl back from doing several activities during those days. Many communities in India still believe that women must not enter the kitchen and worship places during those days. As people consider the food would rot and girls are impure during those days, they cannot go to temples.

periods

Why is it important to talk about periods?

It’s always been a rule that if you want to dispel taboos, what you have to do is talk about it. If periods are seen as a secretive and shameful thing, those who have them will also feel ashamed of having a natural life cycle. These will also negatively impact society, but you must understand how helpful someone can feel while periods are discussed openly.

6 essential tips to know while talking about periods

It is a crucial matter to attract more people into this conversation. Getting ideas from more people or letting them become comfortable with your words is vital while you transfer your speech about any topic.

  1. Put your shame aside: While you discuss any topic, especially about periods, you have to be confident about what you are saying as it is a thing that matters. People will feel awkward or embarrassed, too, if you think the same and reflect it through your speech, making them very uncomfortable. Whenever you are discussing periods, act regular but bold, have a positive attitude towards the discussion. When you are with your friends, try to talk about some unexpected or weird things that happened during your last period or how was your experience for the first-period expertise, and then ask them too what was their experience.
  1. Try to communicate with the opposite gender, including brother and father: Girls are always close to their dad, but while discussing periods, they feel ashamed. It’s not that fathers are not aware of periods; of course, they are adults. It is imperative to consult with family members, too, as periods are not for keeping within those menstruates. For a better chance, it’s essential to include everyone, including dads. Adults can be supportive, and they can also provide more knowledge about it, or you can also let them know more while discussing menstruation with them. Even though they are not the same generation of us and might be uncomfortable, you can break the taboo by adequately making a move.
  1. Use the correct term while communicating: At schools, after students learn about the menstruation cycle, they feel awkward to say periods or blood after the topic ends. Even though they got proper education and knowledge, any teacher never instructed them not to feel ashamed about it and publicly discuss it. When we see people avoiding words like menstruation or blood, they take it as a gross or lousy word. Do not avoid those words while you discuss. Try owing it and see how confident you’ll be while you spread good vibes. Always reply boldly whenever someone makes an inappropriate joke about bleeding. Keep staring at the one who did it unless he/she feels awkward about it, or you can also try playing dumb with them or can ask them to say again.
  1. Remember that the period’s cycle for everyone is not the same: Periods are probably something most girls have to experience in their lives. Still, you must know that not all the female body structure ate similarly. So, I mean, everyone has a different body structure, so there will be differences in the experience. Maybe you have a terrible experience with periods, but someone else could have experienced the worst. So, while discussing, try to ask others about their experiences too. Listening to more and more people will enhance your knowledge also.
  1. Be inclusive at your discussion: Periods are not just for good looking or are models; it is for everyone. So, be inclusive while you give a speech or communicate on the topic of menstruation so that every person can share their full attention and participation in your discussion without feeling left out.
  1. Parents must know the correct time to discuss periods with their child: It’s quite natural that a four or five-year-old child while watching a tampon advertising on television, asks their parents what’s that. Most parents tend to ignore that lies about it. But, you have to provide a little information about it to your child like that’s a tampon that women need every month as a bleed and the tampon catches the blood so that it doesn’t go on the clothes. By the coming years, you can provide more information when they are ready. Whenever your child asks about puberty or where a baby comes from, including the menstruation cycle in that discussion.
talking about periods

Menstrual hygiene

Poor menstrual hygiene is caused by a lack of education due to persisting taboos and stigma resulting in limited access to adequate menstrual products. This delicate issue negatively effects educational opportunities, health and social circumstances of many women and girls all over the world preventing them from fulfilling their full potential.

Reusable feminine hygiene brand Bloom & Nora highights the issues and benefits of reusables versus disposables as well as the ease of using and caring for reusables:

The Issues

During her menstruating year, one woman can use up to 15,000 products most of which end up in landfill.  The pads used today will still be around 500 years from now. To make matters worse, the ones that don’t end up in landfill, often end up on beaches and oceans. In 2013, the Marine Conservation Society held a beach clean across 96.7km of UK coastline and collected 428 tampons and tampon applicators per 4.4km and 1291 sanitary pads, panty liners and backing strips per 13.3km. In addition, the process of manufacturing these products i.e. turning wood pulp into soft, cotton-like fibres, is both heavily resource and chemical intensive and wasteful.

There’s also a massive cost-saving reason to switch to reusable. The cost per reusable sanitary pad change is approximately 3p per change compared to 12p per change for disposable pads and tampons, leaving a savings of £2,000 over the course of a women’s lifetime cycle.

A good way to switch to reusables is with the Bloomer Trial Kit that has four super-soft bamboo-fabric pads in various sizes for different flows all held in a portable organic cotton pouch for £30. The switch to reusables doesn’t need to be all-or-nothing. Bloom & Nora advises starting by trying a reusable pad at night-time or when the flow is light. Small changes add up to make a big difference.

The Barriers

A Bloom & Nora recent study shows that concerns about hygiene are the biggest barrier to trying out reusable sanitary products. The main worry is about storing and washing used pads and a fear about a lack of cleanliness. 

The truth is that reusable pads are in fact more hygienic.  Here’s why:

  • CHEMICAL-FREE: Many disposable pads contain known carcinogens, allergens, and endocrine-disrupting chemicals. As well as being bad for your health, these chemicals can irritate skin and unbalance pH. In fact, due to the chemicals that they contain, 30% are allergic to disposable sanitary pads.
  • NATURAL FABRIC: Bloom & Nora pads are made from Oeko-Tex certified fabrics which means there are absolutely no harmful chemicals in the product, just natural fabric next to skin. The natural fabrics used in Bloom & Nora reusable pads avoid clammy, sweaty situations, which can cause odours and bacteria to build up.  A quick change every 3-4 hours is all that’s needed for the fresh feeling all day.
  • BACTERIA-FREE: Used disposables create a breeding ground for bacteria, especially when put into bathroom bins.  If cloth pads are rinsed within a few hours of being used, it avoids bacteria build-up and odour.
  • STERILE: Period blood is sterile and is one of the most natural things on the planet.  Rinsing pads under the tap and then popping them in the machine will become a monthly habit.
  • PERFORMANCE: Compared to flimsy disposable pads with adhesive strips, soft and ultra-absorbent reusable pads are so well made that they can be used up to 150 times before you need to dispose of them.

Period Poverty

Period poverty is the inability to access menstrual products due to limited finances. To help tackle this, free period products — including Bloom & Nora reusable pads — are now available to all schools and colleges in England. All learners in schools and 16-19 organisations should be able to access period products if they need them. This includes people who have forgotten their period products, cannot afford products or have started their period unexpectedly. Other learners are eligible too, like those under 19 in the current academic year.  

PHS stock and deliver all the free period products and they offer lots of free support. Schools and colleges can order a range of period products and have them delivered free of charge using the PHS portal.

Takeaway Points

There is always so much to learn about periods so, try following a few periods of positive leaders or any good organisations on social media. I hope this article has inspired you to stay positive, and the tips mentioned here will be a great help to you. Further, it would be best if you stay motivated to spread good vibes and awareness to others. It’s time to break the taboo and start to talk about menstruation publicly. You might have to face many troubles while giving a speech on this topic publicly, so do not lose your confidence in the minor happenings.

Win a Bloom & Nora Bloomer Trial Kit

To help you make the switch to reusable period pads, we are lucky enough to have partnered with Nora & Bloomer to offer two readers the chance to win a Bloomer Trial Kit.

PRIZE: Bloom & Nora Bloomer Trial Kit (2x winners)

To enter simply complete the Gleam widget below, all entries are optional and each one completed will gain you more entries into the random draw.

Bloom & Nora Bloomer Trial Kit

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