This past summer I had the amazing opportunity to go to Thailand, and teach to villagers the advantages to living and practicing a healthy life style. While there I mostly taught about oral hygiene, but as a group we talked about feminine hygiene, and how they deal with periods. A lot of the women there use pads as their main source of protection during their periods, but they are bulky, reusable, and fit like a diaper making it uncomfortable and noticeable to people around you what time of the month it is. There were no tampons in stores, and if you were lucky enough to find them, they were very expensive, and there were no applicators to make them easier to use. This started to make me curious about what it was like for other women around the world during this week every month.

According to Women’s Health Magazine people living in Afghanistan avoid using proper hygiene techniques because they are told it leads to infertility, and charge up to $4 for a singular pad. But many girls use strips of clothing instead to try and hide it from their families. While others living in Bolivia, can be found with many used pads in their backpacks, because they are told menstrual blood is so dangerous it can cause diseases like cancer if mixed with other trashes. Also in Kenya having menstrual products is a luxury to the women in their country, and is often looked down upon by the male figures. Because of this women resort to using leaves and sticks to absorb the blood, but many still miss an average of 4.9 school/work days every month because their periods.

No doubt, I have it very easy in America when it comes to finding tampons, and pads in stores, but the costs and stigmas are still affecting many girls throughout the United States. According to ABC News many girls are embarrassed of the sounds made from hygiene products, so they avoid using them at school or in public, and many citizens and international women said they didn’t know what menstruation was until their first period came, and when they got it they felt scared that they were sick or that something was wrong with them. When it is complete opposite. Women are supposed to have periods every month, in order to have reproduction. This stigma needs to end about menstrual health, and I think we need to start taking a stand when it comes to proper hygiene and care for women internationally. We were born this way, and without us women in the world there would be no natural way of creating more people in our world. Stand up for women rights in our world, we are humans too.


CC BY-SA 4.0 Stigmas with Menstruation by Caleigh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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Youth Voices is organized by teachers at local sites of the National Writing Project and in partnership with Educator Innovator.

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