And with better educated, well-informed mothers passing on information to their daughters, menstruation is no longer the taboo subject it once was.
There’s now a new openness towards menstruation and awareness of it as a natural process, says associate professor Dr Harlina Halizah Siraj, an obstetrician and gynaecologist.
Speaking at a recent forum in Petaling Jaya organised by PT Softex Indonesia, a household name in sanitary napkins in the region, Dr Harlina says misconceptions about menstruation are gradually disappearing as women now have the knowledge to question many traditional claims.
Practices such as avoiding the consumption of coconut water or pineapple during menstruation are not supported by clinical evidence.
Still more damaging is the belief that a woman’s monthly bleeding is a divine punishment or curse.
Dr Harlina says that because menstruation involves blood and a woman’s private part, confusing and frightening messages were, for centuries, passed down to women, causing unnecessary stress and anxiety.