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Stories of #GoodChange

June 2024

Busting 5 Menstrual Health Myths

Period Poverty | Menstrual Health Myths| Better Life for Girls | ID: Two girls in light green school uniform happily walking together while holding a lavender balloon

Menstruation, though a completely natural phenomenon, is often shrouded in  secrecy, myths and misinformation, leading to girls and women in some cultures being excluded from aspects of everyday life during their periods.

In rural Bangladesh, for example, periods are often perceived as a curse or punishment, leading to forced restrictions during menstruation. This is just  one of many myths that our Good Neighbours team in Bangladesh is addressing in its menstrual health management (MHM) education sessions, targeting adolescent girls in remote and rural schools. 

Here are a few more myths and facts covered in our ‘Better Life for Girls’ MHM program in Bangladesh, which we’re rolling out from July 2024. 

Myth 1: Girls are impure during their periods, so they should not cook or touch sour foods like pickles.

Menstruation is a natural process that does not, in any way, affect the places she visits or the things she touches. No scientific test has shown that menstruation is the reason for spoilage of any food.

Myth 2: Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is all in the mind

PMS symptoms are related to the way a girl’s hormones change through their monthly cycle. Symptoms can be emotional (like irritability, depression or fatigue, and physical (cramps or headaches). 

Myth 3: Exercise and playing sports can disturb the menstrual flow

Physical activities are actually great ways of relieving pain such as cramps and bloating because it increases the supply of oxygen to the muscles.’ When a girl feels like exercising, there’s no reason we should stop her from doing so.

Myth 4: Girls having their periods should sleep in a different space.

Menstruation is not contagious and does no harm to anybody.

Myth 5: Menstruating girls should drop out of school.

41% of Bangladeshi girls are absent from school during their period, which leads to poor performance at school. It is important to encourage girls to stay in school and feel good about themselves. We can do this by providing them the support that they need and access to proper restroom facilities.

Help put a ‘period’ on menstrual myths and misinformation

Our ‘Better Life for Girls’ project educates girls and their communities about menstrual and reproductive health while also providing access to essential sanitary products and facilities, especially at school. Through your support, we aim to create a ‘Better Life for Girls’ for 3,000 beneficiaries in Bangladesh in 2024, delivering:

 

  • School-based education programs on menstrual and reproductive health, to shatter the stigma around periods
  • Distribution of reusable menstrual health kits
  • Building of Safe Spaces for girls at schools – restroom facilities to help them manage their periods
  • Creating Girls Clubs to empower girls to be changemakers in their communities

 

Help put a *period* to period poverty and make a tax-deductible donation before the EOFY.

References:

  • Good Neighbors Bangladesh Menstrual Health Management (MHM) Booklet
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4408698/
  • https://www.unicef.org.au/stories/busted-eight-myths-about-periods