From menarche to menopause, a woman may undergo around 450 periods in her lifetime, which is over 1800 days of bleeding (roughly 4.5 years). There are cramps, spotting, leakage and headaches, to cite the least problematic issues. Mood swings and lacklustre aside, current menstruation issues also pose health and environment issues that is complex.
The most widely used products that have been made available easily are disposable sanitary napkins (DSNs). They used to come in simpler forms, where the plastic could be easily stripped off from absorbent filling cotton inside, and disposed off separately. With all sorts of innovation that DSNs could have lived without, we now see compactly layered materials that can survive natural disasters themselves. Women who say no to DSNs get labelled as privileged elitists or tree hugging hippies, who if are incidentally unmarried or without children then also get looked down upon for not understanding ‘real women’ challenges. While I respect the roles we juggle and march on with, those are all choices we have made ourselves, in most instances. Such choices are sadly lacking in our market shelves...
References and more information:
1. Why are we pretending that there isn’t a growing mountain of menstrual waste we need to deal with?, Nidhi Jhamwal, 9 January 2015
2. Innovations in sanitation: the challenge of menstrual waste management, Michelle Baumgartner, 23 February 2016
3. The Manly Guide to Menstruation, Mike LaVigne, 26 September 2016
4. Sanitary Napkins | Things They Wouldn't Let Me Say, Aditi Mittal, 4 March 2016
5. Masika, Eco Femme, 12 August 2014
6. Junking the sanitary napkin, Cinthya Anand, 13 August 2016
7. A Question for Women's Health: Chemicals in Feminine Hygiene Products and Personal Lubricants, Wendee Nicole, March 2014
8. Sustainable Hygiene, 2bin1bag (Website 2014)
9. Period of Change, The Kachra Project (Website 2014)