Just a few days ago, a friend and I were talking. In our long conversation, we didn’t just procrastinate on completing our English project; we also ended up talking about periods. As one does. 

It wasn’t a “God, periods suck. It was better when I was a pre-teen” conversation. It was more of a “We don’t even realise how period taboo hurts us in the long run” conversation. 

My friend and I, eighteen and seventeen-year-old people with periods, have observed that our periods haven’t only gotten heavier (the first 2-3 days) in the past two years, but also that our PMS has gotten worse. And the thing is, we were getting concerned about it, but we didn’t know who we could approach with this problem. 

Who would I have talked to? 

My mother, whose experiences would have been very different because she has PCOS? My grandmother, who refuses to even acknowledge the topic? My father, who believes PCOS is a myth? 

In these circumstances, my best bet would probably have been my aunt. 

Do you see how bad that is? 

I got my first period when I was thirteen. Of course, I knew about periods because my mother had sat me down and explained the mechanics of menstruation just a year ago. Not to discount the significance of that chapter in 8th class biology in my education. 

Nobody, however, had thought of informing me about vaginal discharge. Imagine my teenage disgust, fear and befuddlement as unknown fluids exited my body. Yet, I did not go to anyone because “What if they take me to the gynaecologist and they tell me I have some problem?”

Of course, now it seems like a ridiculous decision, but all I can offer to you in the way of an excuse is that I was much stupider than I now am. 

The thing I wanted to draw your attention to is: nobody bothers telling you the smaller, less significant, but no less important details of your menstrual cycle. 

You don’t know that if you are losing your periods for long stretches of time, it is not good. It could mean your body is working in a deficit, that you are probably exercising too much and eating too less. That you could be at risk of developing osteoporosis, eventually, if it continues like this. 

Nobody tells you your PMS is going to get worse. Cramps, fatigue, nausea, craving, muscle soreness and whatnot. Nobody tells you about sexual frustration or vaginal discharge or that if you have extremely difficult periods every month, it’s not good. It means you should go to a gynaecologist and get a proper diagnosis, as there could be an underlying condition. 

But most importantly, no one tells you it’s going to be okay. That all this is normal. That you can come to me, without any hesitations if you want to talk about anything. 

I don’t know what my conclusion is; stop treating menstruation as a taboo? Stop whispering about your problems? Don’t tell small girls not to talk about menstruation problems in front of others? Don’t let anyone discount your emotions just because you are menstruating? 

I don’t know. I don’t know. Take your pick, make a small change. Every time someone steps up and says something with abject honesty, the world becomes a better, more interesting place.

– Stuti, Delhi Public School, Noida

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