Women: Menstruation Rights and Wrongs

Zikkir Health News

Offices: Washington DC, London, Melbourne

When I was a teenager, my mother would tell me to keep off the kitchen and the puja room during my menstruation. I used to resent this very much, as my mind always rebelled against any differential treatment of girls. My mother would say that this was meant for giving rest to the body. When you rest, the body is able to repair and regulate itself better and employ all the available energy to eliminate the waste. Every one knows the bleeding is maximum at night for the same reason. I have thought about it and tried to correlate with my personal experience. Unlike my mother , who had the “luxury” of full rest during this period, I had to work normally. There was no elderly person or mother-in-law to take over. I would try to reduce the work to manageable limits and rest adequately through short naps in the afternoons, but then that was not always possible. If I was particularly very busy especially soon after the onset, I noticed that the flow would be scanty, and the bleeding would continue for more days.

It is deplorable that there aren’t many studies that examine if and how much rest is needed by the menstruating woman. I have seen many girls who suffer dysmenorrhea, but however much they suffer, they could never offer that as a valid reason for any performance dip or absenteeism. If rest or de-stressing during menstruation was truly a matter of physiological importance, why can’t we be more open about it and say we need some rest because of the “usual body conditions”? But we shy away from expressing it. Do we feel ashamed of acknowledging anything that feels different because of our sex? Now, I wonder what is liberation: accepting and celebrating the difference, or ignoring our uniqueness and artificially foster equality. At least in certain aspects, I wonder if our ancestors were more liberated than us. They celebrated when a girl attained menarche. I know it sounds very retrograde, but people did discuss “womanly matters” openly; in fact, many of the ancient customs took good care of the mother and child.

Today, more and more girls attain puberty as early as 10 years of age, and an ever increasing number of women suffer from endometriosis, breast cancer and uterine fibroids. Scientific studies show that hormone disruption lies at the bottom of all these related diseases, and one of the reasons for hormone imbalance is stress. The thyroid, sex, and adrenal hormones work together synergistically to enhance one another’s functions. When this harmony is disrupted by stress, fibroid tumors and endometriosis may show up. Stress is often a key factor when women experience either absence ofmenstruation or abnormal bleeding. Chronic stress causes adrenal fatigue, resulting in low levels of natural cortisol. If the adrenal gland is under stress and unable to produce the proper amount of cortisol, then the thyroid gland and the sex organs become stressed. This affects your immune system, lowering your resistance to infections.


Comment from Leslie

Excellent article filled with women’s wisdom and understanding on the importance of honoring this natural cycle.


Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.