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Menstruation, sanitary napkins and everything related to periods are still taboo topics in India. I talked to doctors about how men in the country are never truly told about menstruation. No, I don't mean that men should be made to sit across and told that periods are natural (which is not a bad idea!) but rather be explained about why this happens- so that the myths around periods can be completely wiped out!
Here is why it should matter to men:
Compassion -'Boys should know about periods (menstrual cycle) in fair detail. They should understand what a period entails and that it is not gross or dirty. Every boy at some point or the other will come in contact with someone in her periods, dealing with cramps, headache, tummy pain etc. if he has the knowledge, he can be understanding. There are so many damaging, dangerous, or just plain irritating misconceptions around menstruation,' said Dr Manjiri Mehta, Consultant Gynecologist, Obstetrician & Laparoscopic Surgeon, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi.
There s the idea that periods are inherently gross and dirty which isn t true and creates shame around something perfectly natural. There s the belief that Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) makes women so emotional that they can t make good decisions or be trusted in leadership positions; which is not true. Oh boy, we all know how it seems very gross to think about blood pouring out of vagina but believe me, the pain we entail is worse!
Stigma- 'It is very important for the boys to know about menstrual cycle through proper channels. They need to be educated about the same because if they are unaware or get to know from other sources they stigmatize girls and women and make fun of them. So they need to know that this is a normal phenomenon occurring in each girl when she reaches adolescence,' says Dr Priyanka Mahajan, practicing psychiatrist from Mumbai.
'Teaching boys about periods, both at home and in schools, will mean they re comfortable talking about periods with their peers. It ll reduce the number of stupid, upsetting jokes made at the expense of girls on their periods. Teach boys about periods, because there s no reason they shouldn t learn about something that half the population goes through each month,' added Dr Mehta.
It is purely scientific- Well, there are just so many notions that sometimes we forget that mensuration is the most scientific process that human body can ever face. 'A deeper understanding of the associated moods and mind-set of the woman, while going through her menstrual cycle will help boys and men to be more empathetic towards them,' said Dr Fabian Almeida, Consultant Psychiatrist, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan.
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