The ABC of Menstruation; Explaining the Process & Debunking Myths
Menstruation is a natural biological process, just like any other. We break it down for you.
Camera: Mukul Bhandari
Editor: Puneet Bhatia
(On 8 August, one of India’s biggest food delivery companies, Zomato, introduced up to 10 days of period leaves a year for its menstruating employees. FIT is republishing an explainer on menstruation in this light.)
Chums, period, 'that' time of the month, crimson tide, menstruation.
ALL these names for ONE biological process. Obviously, we are obsessed with it. And this obsession is not always good news. Take for instance, these pearls of wisdom by Swami Krushnaswarup Dasji of Swaminarayan Bhuj Mandir,
“If menstruating women cook, they will be reborn as kutri (bitch) in next life.”
He also added that if a man were to consume the food prepared by a menstruating woman, his ‘next avatar would definitely be that of a balad (ox)‘.
Seriously, STOP. What will it take for this to stop?
A biology lesson, I hope? So here’s the ABC of menstruation, because really, we’ve had enough.
Menstruation: A Natural Biological Process, Like Any Other
When a female reaches puberty, her body starts to prepare for pregnancy. Each month, blood and tissue build up in the uterus to prepare for a fertilised egg in case a woman becomes pregnant.
Now what happens when she doesn’t?
If the egg isn’t fertilised, the lining leaves the body through the vagina. Hence, the bleeding - that awful, painful, exhausting experience that goes on for 3-5 days.
A woman experiences this until she reaches her menopause, which usually occurs between 46 to over 50 years of age. All this is controlled by hormones like estrogen and progesterone. We are not even getting into PMS, endometriosis and other painful conditions most men won’t be able to handle.
As you see, it’s ALL biology.
It’s as normal as a male growing facial hair when he reaches puberty. Haven’t heard any crazy stories about that now, have we?
Period Myths That Just Refuse to Go Away
But well, for menstruation, the myths are endless, and with time, they are only getting more and more absurd. So here’s clarifying a few:
- A menstruating woman can eat and drink whatever she wants.
- There is absolutely NO problem in exercising while menstruating. It's not an illness, people!
- You can TOTALLY have sex while you're on your period (But contraception is still important).
- A menstruating woman can enter the kitchen, the temple or wherever the hell she wants!
- And no, you wouldn't be reborn a bitch if you cook while menstruating. Because hey, when you die, you DIE.
And FYI, bitches menstruate too.
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