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Survey Finds Women In India Had Irregular Gap In Menstrual Cycle During COVID-19

The sixth annual Menstrual Hygiene Survey by Everteen, a feminine hygiene brand revealed that more than 41 per cent of women experienced an unusually irregular gap in their periods

Survey Finds Women In India Had Irregular Gap In Menstrual Cycle During COVID-19
Highlights
  • The survey was conducted on nearly 5,000 women in the age group of 18-35
  • Only 13.7% of women who participated in the survey were infected with COVID
  • 29.2% of women respondents said they had more painful periods during COVID

New Delhi: The findings of a new survey suggest that during the COVID-19 pandemic, women in India faced irregular gaps in their menstrual cycle due to coronavirus, which brings a fresh supply of stress and anxiety every day. The 6th annual Menstrual Hygiene Survey by Everteen, a feminine hygiene brand, released on the eve of Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021, which is observed annually on May 28, was conducted on nearly 5000 women in the age group of 18 to 35 years from Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Kolkata. Among other aspects of menstrual hygiene, this year’s survey specifically aimed to gauge the impact of COVID-19 and lockdown in India on periods in women.

Also Read: Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021: Five Things To Know

The survey revealed that more than 41 per cent of women experienced an unusually irregular gap in their periods. This is startling because only 13.7 per cent of women who participated in the survey said they were infected with COVID-19. As many as 64.5 per cent of women said that the current COVID times had impacted their stress and anxiety levels, which could be a possible reason for irregularity in the gap between two menstrual periods in so many women. Out of all the women who participated in the survey, 34.2 per cent, or more than one-third, said that they even noticed a change in intensity of menstrual flow, while 20 per cent of women said they missed their menstrual period at least once during this COVID phase. 29.2 per cent of women respondents claimed that they had more painful periods during COVID time than normal, while 28.8 per cent of women said that they noticed an unusual amount of clots in blood during the menstrual period.

Speaking about this year’s survey, Chirag Pan, CEO of PAN Healthcare, said,

Menstrual periods in women are often ignored in the larger socio-economic fabric of our society in general. There is an acute need for the research community to study this aspect of menstrual health during COVID-19 on a much wider scale in India and globally.

Also Read: Book Excerpt: ‘What’s Up With Me?’ By Actor Tisca Chopra

Saying that governments need to increase the accessibility of sanitary products, he added,

Another significant takeaway from this year’s Everteen Menstrual Hygiene Survey is that the governments need to devise effective interventions to make sanitary products easily accessible to women all over India. Our survey found that almost one in every four women faced problems getting sanitary essentials during lockdown.

A disturbing finding was that 26.6 per cent of women did nothing about irregularity in their menstrual cycle dates, while another 35.4 per cent of women only discussed it with their mother or friends. Just 38 per cent of women chose to consult a doctor to evaluate why their menstrual cycle date was irregular. Similarly, 58.1 per cent of women said they had suffered from white discharge at some point in their menstruating life, but only 25.5 per cent of women consulted a doctor. 38.1 per cent of women said that when they got their first menstrual period, they did not know what it exactly was, and in fact, 36 per cent of women thought that it was some injury or disease. 79.8 per cent of women still preferred to discuss their first period with their mother.

These findings again highlight a need to create a more holistic IEC model to shift society’s perceptions of menstruation. Period cramps, cloth staining, and changing pads emerged as the top three concerns for women at 35.3 per cent, 30.8 per cent and 30.1 per cent respectively. Over 80 per cent of women admitted they had experienced staining during their periods. More than two-thirds of all women, 67.7 per cent to be exact, felt that girls avoid participating in sports or outdoor activities during their periods.

Also Read: Women’s Day 2021: Let’s Talk Menstruation Say Girls In This Bihar Village

These findings highlight a need for awareness and adoption of modern menstrual hygiene methods (MHM) such as menstrual cups in India. Hariom Tyagi, CEO of Wet and Dry Personal Care, the maker of everteen, and a PAN Heath initiative, spoke about how women are more comfortable today in buying sanitary products,

This year’s everteen Menstrual Hygiene Survey also has some very encouraging findings. For example, as many as 56.2 per cent women said that they buy sanitary products freely from a chemist or a shop, which shows that women are shedding their inhibitions and guilt on the subject.

Talking about the need to increase awareness regarding the subject, he continued,

However, another 43.8 per cent of women still feel uncomfortable while buying such products from a shop, either always or in the presence of a lot of customers. So, there is still a need to create even more awareness and acceptance on this subject in our society. It is also reassuring to note that one in four women feel free to roam out of home as usual even during periods.

Also Read: Adolescent Girls In Varanasi Slums Overcome Lack Of Sanitary Pads During COVID-19 lockdown 

Among other findings, the survey showed that 90.9 per cent of women still prefer to use sanitary napkins in India, while 7.3 per cent of women have switched to menstrual cups followed by 1 per cent tampon users. In line with the trend in recent years, this year’s survey showed that menstrual hygiene continues to shed its taboo image and is moving towards becoming a mainstream subject in Indian society. As many as 52.9 per cent of women felt that menstruation is perceived as a positive or neutral subject in India. However, nearly 36 per cent of women said that it was still considered taboo. Sharing their personal experiences, 58.1 per cent women said that they took it positively, while 1 per cent still found it a nuisance. A growing 16.8 per cent of women felt that there is no difference in perceptions about menstruation among men and women, although a majority 58 per cent still felt there was a difference in perceptions on the subject.

Also Read: “I Have Never Owned Underpants, So How Could I Use A Sanitary Pad?”

A healthy 40.2 per cent women said that men in the Indian society are able to relate to this natural process of the menstrual cycle, while another 48 per cent said that while men understand it, they are not able to relate to it fully. 64.4 per cent women still feel cautious about hygiene and sanitation at public toilets in offices, malls and cinema halls, and said that they have rarely or never used them for changing sanitary products during periods. 74.5 per cent of women felt uncomfortable if they had to use a public toilet for such purposes.

Everteen has been conducting these annual Menstrual Hygiene Surveys since 2014. As a pioneer in complete feminine intimate hygiene, it has also been actively creating awareness on feminine and menstrual hygiene through numerous campaigns such as #FixYourPeriods and #SheNeedsPad.

Also Read: Here’s How France, New Zealand And Scotland Are Aiming To Eliminate Period Poverty And What Can India Do

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

24,33,49,378Cases
20,48,57,171Active
3,35,48,605Recovered
49,43,602Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,33,49,378 and 49,43,602 have died; 20,48,57,171 are active cases and 3,35,48,605 have recovered as on October 24, 2021 at 3:48 am.

India

3,41,75,468 15,906Cases
1,72,5941,134Active
3,35,48,605 16,479Recovered
4,54,269 561Deaths
In India, there are 3,41,75,468 confirmed cases including 4,54,269 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,72,594 and 3,35,48,605 have recovered as on October 24, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

66,01,551 1,701

27,634 113

64,33,919 1,781

1,39,998 33

Kerala

49,06,793 8,909

81,155 335

47,97,409 8,780

28,229 464

Karnataka

29,85,598 371

8,943 23

29,38,653 341

38,002 7

Tamil Nadu

26,94,089 1,140

13,280 251

26,44,805 1,374

36,004 17

Andhra Pradesh

20,63,177 396

5,222 176

20,43,616 566

14,339 6

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,082 13

94 9

16,87,089 4

22,899

West Bengal

15,85,466 974

7,731 154

15,58,690 808

19,045 12

Delhi

14,39,566 40

334 6

14,14,141 46

25,091

Odisha

10,37,964 441

4,152 45

10,25,507 482

8,305 4

Chhattisgarh

10,05,827 28

230 16

9,92,025 12

13,572

Rajasthan

9,54,400 4

32 0

9,45,414 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,402 24

168 3

8,16,147 21

10,087

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,740 11

79 1

7,82,138 12

10,523

Haryana

7,71,141 8

115 7

7,60,977 15

10,049

Bihar

7,26,054 9

36 6

7,16,357 3

9,661

Telangana

6,70,139 207

3,984 21

6,62,209 184

3,946 2

Assam

6,08,450 324

3,968 102

5,98,515 219

5,967 3

Punjab

6,02,189 26

231 1

5,85,407 25

16,551

Jharkhand

3,48,592 30

202 19

3,43,255 11

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,815 16

169 3

3,36,248 13

7,398

Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,566 72

862 8

3,26,275 80

4,429

Himachal Pradesh

2,22,569 257

1,578 95

2,17,257 161

3,734 1

Goa

1,77,852 33

574 26

1,73,920 58

3,358 1

Puducherry

1,27,674 53

457 3

1,25,362 48

1,855 2

Manipur

1,23,229 122

961 55

1,20,361 67

1,907

Mizoram

1,17,261 572

8,943 693

1,07,911 1,258

407 7

Tripura

84,384 8

101 3

83,467 5

816

Meghalaya

83,322 53

695 3

81,184 56

1,443

Chandigarh

65,321 1

27 1

64,474 2

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,089 14

142 1

54,667 13

280

Sikkim

31,868 26

195 12

31,279 13

394 1

Nagaland

31,707 18

250 5

30,778 12

679 1

Ladakh

20,899 3

38 2

20,653 5

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,679

4 0

10,671

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

0 0

10,314

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,648 2

8 2

7,511

129

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