WHY DO PERIODS HAPPEN?
Every month, women of child-bearing age release an egg from their ovaries (where eggs are produced) to their uterus. Before this happens, the lining of the uterus (which is also called the womb) becomes thicker. This is so that, if the woman were to have sex and the egg was fertilised, there would be a soft lining to protect and nourish the baby. However, in most months, the woman will not get pregnant. When the egg is not fertilised, the uterus lining needs to become thinner again. Therefore, the blood and muscle that made up the thick lining are shed. This blood and muscle is then released through the vagina, causing bleeding. This is a period. It is a natural part of a cycle that every woman goes through, every month. However, there are many beliefs about periods that are not true, and can be damaging to women and society.
PERIODS CAN VARY IN LENGTH
Most women’s people’s periods will last around 4 or 5 days, however, this is not true for everyone. Some people have longer periods, lasting up to a week. Some people have shorter periods, which last only three days. If a period lasts longer than a week, it is usually a good idea to ask a doctor about this. Otherwise, it is nothing to worry about, if a period does not last exactly 5 days.
PERIODS DO NOT MAKE WOMEN UNCLEAN
There is nothing unhygienic about being on your period. This is because it a natural process for women’s bodies, not a disease. Periods do not make people unclean, or contaminated. This means that women should be able to live as normal while on their periods, unless they feel unwell and prefer to rest. This includes interacting with other people exactly as they normally would, and going everywhere they normally would.
WOMEN CAN LIVE A NORMAL DAILY LIFE, EVEN WHEN THEY’RE ON THEIR PERIOD
In some cultures and communities, some people believe that women might harm plants or animals if they touch them while on their periods. However, a person’s period does not affect anything they touch – it only affects them. This means that being on a period does not need to stop women from doing anything they would normally do.
If women feel they have to act differently while on their periods, this can make them feel less valued by their communities. It can also make it more difficult for them to contribute fully to their communities. Therefore, it is very important for men and women to understand why periods happen, and why periods are nothing to fear.