Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021: History, significance, theme, and myths around periods


Guwahati: May 28 is observed as Menstrual Hygiene Day across the world. Though it is as normal as any other biological function of a human body, where the lining of the uterus breaks down and leaves the body through the vagina, it is still brushed under the carpet and not discussed openly.

The stigma associated with a woman bleeding every month leads to poor hygiene among a large section of rural women who use wood husk, leaves, paper and other such materials instead of sanitary napkins when on their periods. This cycle in a woman’s body leads to ovulation and reproduction and yet women feel ashamed and dirty discussing it openly. Let us know better this menstrual hygiene day.

History and Significance of May 28

In 2014, German-based NGO WASH United chose this day to advocate for good menstrual hygiene across the globe. The date 28 was chosen as most women on average have their periods for 5 days and May is the 5th month of the year. The cycle tends to occur every 28 days, thus May 28 was marked symbolic for this day. 

The theme of Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021- Action and Investment in Menstrual Hygiene and Health. 

Myths associated with periods-

  1. Periods are a personal issue – In 2014, the United Nations announced that menstrual hygiene is a public health issue. A 2014 report by NGO Dasra titled, ‘Spot On!’ mentioned that annually 23 million girls drop out of school due to lack of accessible menstrual hygiene facilities. 
  2. Only women get periods – Not all women get periods and not every female who gets periods considers themselves a woman. Transgender men may get periods and transgender women may not get periods.
  3. Period blood is dirty blood-Period blood isn’t toxins released out of our body, instead, it is full of nutrients as the lining was prepared to carry out a pregnancy. It is just ordinary blood that is less concentrated.
  4. Period pain is normal and okay to dismiss it-Highly unbearable period pain is not normal, and the condition is called dysmenorrhea, and it can interfere with our daily activities. It is always recommended to seek medical attention in such cases.
  5. Food defines your period flow- Foods like tamarind and pickles don’t disturb your menstrual flow. 
  6. No physical activity – Exercise and physical activities can actually help relieve the pain.