Myths and Taboos About Menstruation in India

Myths and Taboos About Menstruation in India reveal social views toward this natural biological event. Menstruation is marked with uncertainty and shame across India, from rural villages to busy cities.

This investigation delves deeply into the intricate web of traditions and beliefs that influence women’s lives across the country.

Furthermore, this study aims to dispel assumptions and raise knowledge about menstruation in India. We seek to develop empathy and support for menstrual health and well-being by peeling back the layers of beliefs and shining a light on the challenges that women face.

Join us as we learn about the challenges and complexities of menstruation in India’s diverse context.

Myths and Taboos About Menstruation in India: Navigating Realities

As we all know, menstruation is a natural biological process that females have to go through. Usually, the process starts when they reach the age of 12-14, culminating only at the age of 45-50 years.

Myths and Taboos About Menstruation in India: Navigating Realities

Menstruation happens for 5-7 days every month except when the female is pregnant.

This cyclic process is orchestrated by the interplay of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, which regulate the menstrual cycle’s phases, including follicular, ovulatory, and luteal phases.

Unfortunately, such a necessary process is mired in myths and misconceptions. These myths have diluted the importance of Menstruation, and women have to deal with the stigma associated with it.

The most common Myths about menstruation

  • Menstruating females are impure
  • Menstrual blood attracts wild animals
  • Menstruating females should avoid physical activities
  • Period pain is not a health concern
  • Menstruation is solely a women’s issue
  • Menstrual hygiene products are harmful
  • All women experience PMS and are cranky during that time

Here, we will explain and talk more about Menstruation and its common myths.

Menstruating females are impure

An often-heard myth is that female menstruating is impure. This is even though Menstruation is an essential body function that is important for reproductive health. No impurity is associated with it.


  • The menstrual blood is not dirty and is a combination of blood and tissue shed from the uterine lining.
  •  If the female uses proper menstrual products and bathes regularly, nothing is dirty around it.

Menstrual blood attracts wild animals.

There is a belief that the smell of menstrual blood will attract wild animals. This gives rise to a feeling of fear and shame that is unwarranted.


  • Menstrual blood does not attract animals.
  • The smell is subtle, and there is no chance animals would notice it.

Menstruating females should avoid physical activities

It is believed that women menstruation must avoid exercise or any kind of sports. This enforces the idea that Menstruation is a bad disease.


  • Physical activity can reduce menstrual symptoms like cramps and mood swings. Exercise also improves the mood and reduces any discomfort that comes with Menstruation.
  • Females can exercise during this time and adapt their routines based on their comfort levels.

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Menstrual pain is not a health concern

People tend to dismiss menstrual pain as a minor thing. They assume that it is just an excuse to avoid doing basic tasks.

However, women have to suffer, and some of them even face severe conditions like dysmenorrhea. Avoiding it does not mean the problem does not exist.


  • Menstrual pain or dysmenorrhea is a legitimate concern that can affect the person’s well-being. Seeking medical advice and heat therapy, lifestyle changes, etc., can help the female get rid of the pain.
  • The men of the household must show empathy and support the woman whenever she is facing such a situation.

Menstruation is solely a women’s issue.

Men believe that Menstruation is only a woman’s problem and they have nothing to do with it. This is a regressive approach, and if the woman in your family is suffering, you get involved too.


  • Menstruation is a biological process that contributes to reproductive growth. A woman has to go through pain for that duration, and men should support her during that time.
  • A family works when both husband and wife understand each other. By helping his wife during that time, men can show empathy that fosters love.

Menstrual hygiene products are harmful

Again, there are lots of misconceptions about menstrual hygiene. People think that the hygiene products available are not safe. That is why they still stick to the traditional methods that were prevalent earlier.


  • Proper use of the menstrual hygiene products makes them safe. Most of the products mention the information about how they should be used.
  • Tampons are safe for use and are recommended even though people have reservations about their use. A woman can avoid difficulties during Menstruation by following the product instructions and practicing suggested hygiene habits.

All women experience PMS and are cranky during that time

Another horrible myth associated with Menstruation is that all women face PMS (pre-menstrual symptoms) before their periods come. So, if a woman is irritated, it is because her menstrual date is close.


  • This is a very sexist thought that has been ingrained in our mindsets. Only one in four women experience PMS.
  • Some women may have only minor symptoms which are hard to decode. There must be something else going on in her mind that is causing the behavioral changes.

Menstrual Health and Hygiene in India: Progress, Challenges, and Policy

Navigating the challenges of menstrual health and hygiene in India reveals a story of success, obstacles, and legislative changes. With increased worldwide focus, India has launched initiatives to address menstruation health completely.

Menstrual Health and Hygiene in India: Progress, Challenges, and Policy

However, despite progress, substantial obstacles remain, underscoring the significance of strong policy frameworks and inclusive methods.

Now we’ll look at each component of menstrual wellness and hygiene in India.

Menstrual Health and Hygiene (MHH) Focus:

  • More attention to menstrual health and hygiene worldwide recently.
  • In India, the National Health Mission in 2011 helped promote menstrual hygiene among rural girls.
  • Guidelines for menstrual hygiene management (MHM) were issued under the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ and by the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in 2015.

Progress in India:

  • Fifth National Family Health Survey (2019-2021) found that about 90% of women with 12 or more years of schooling use safe period products.
  • 20% increase in the use of hygienic methods by women aged 15-24 years compared to the previous survey.

MHH Initiatives Across States:

  • Various states have schemes focusing on distributing sanitary napkins.
  • Some states also distribute menstrual cups as sustainable alternatives.
  • Challenges to fairness remain despite nationwide promotion.

Challenges to MHH in India:

  • Social taboos surrounding menstruation affect the lives of girls and women.
  • Practices like isolating menstruating girls and women in unhygienic places pose significant barriers.
  • Lack of access to hygiene products and sanitation facilities for women in informal work.

Policy Issues:

  • Supreme Court’s refusal to consider a PIL on menstrual leave for female employees and students.
  • Only Kerala and Bihar have menstrual leave policies.
  • Challenges remain for women in the informal sector regarding menstrual leave and discrimination.

Inclusive MHH:

  • Considering the menstrual needs of differently abled individuals, transgender men, and others who menstruate.
  • Promoting safe disposal of sanitary napkins and understanding of menstrual cups.

Importance of Menstrual Knowledge:

  • Lack of knowledge about menstruation leads to school dropouts and affects sexual and reproductive health outcomes.
  • Need for clear national policies, good facilities, and education about menstruation.

Policy Recommendations:

  • Calls for discussing menstruation throughout life, not just for young women.
  • Focus on menopausal care and supporting women in the workplace.
  • Need for a broad strategy to deal with problems around menstrual health.

Summing Up

There is a lot of stigma associated with Menstruation, and as a society, we should dispel it. By challenging these myths and taboos, we can help women break out of that regressive mentality.

That phase is already difficult for them to handle. It is our duty as family members to support them during this time.

Doing their chores and providing them the required rest are just a few ways to cooperate.

Menstruation is an integral part of a woman’s life, and shaming her for that is not correct. Through collective efforts, we all can break the taboos of Menstruation and give women a respectful life.


Are menstrual myths based on any scientific evidence?

Most of these myths are based on taboos, cultural beliefs, and preconceived notions. There is no scientific evidence to prove their authenticity. We should rely on evidence-based information when trying to understand Menstruation.

How do these menstrual myths affect women?

Most women know how to deal with these issues. However, the women in backward areas still have to suffer due to popular opinion being against them.

Can engaging in physical activities during Menstruation be harmful?

No, women can engage in any physical activity while menstruating. Some exercises can reduce the symptoms and pain. It is essential to understand what your body wants and choose activities accordingly.

Are menstrual products safe to use?

Yes, if you use the products as per the instructions mentioned, they are incredibly safe. You must practice proper hygiene and be aware of any risks.

Can certain foods or activities worsen menstrual cramps?

There is no conclusive evidence that specific foods worsen menstrual cramps. Yet some women find relief by avoiding caffeine and alcohol and taking a balanced diet. Regular exercise also reduces cramps, and it is wise to understand what your body wants.

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