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Parents should initiate menstrual health discussions

Changes due to menstruation in teenagers can often be mistaken for rudeness and rebellion

In Summary

• Menstruation may be considered a taboo topic in some communities, making youths shy away from talking about it. 

• Young girls require support and understanding from their parents when experiencing unpleasant symptoms of menstruation. 

Tampons and pads
TABOO TOPIC: Tampons and pads
Image: COURTESY

May 28 marked Menstrual Hygiene Day which highlights the importance of proper menstrual hygiene management. It initiates candid discussions on menstrual health to reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with menstruation. Menstruation is still considered a taboo topic among certain individuals and communities.

A recent report by youth-led movement Jiactivate found that 62 per cent of Kenyans learn about menstruation in school while only 12 per cent learns from their parents. Menstrual hygiene has forced some teens to extremes of exchanging sex for pads, with touts and boda boda riders taking advantage and issuing pads to desperate teens in exchange for sexual intercourse.

Menstruation should not be a curse to teens. They should look at it as a normal process that every woman undergoes with the help of their parents. Menstruation is a mandatory natural experience that every girl goes through at some point in life. Furthermore, menstruation has symptoms beyond lower back pain like mood swings, high sex drive and lower abdominal pains. 

During that time, the child requires proper care and understanding from members of their support system. These symptoms can easily be mistaken for rudeness or lack of interest in activities, Parents should speak to their children often about their sexuality.

They should join the discussion on sexuality not only on menstruation but other issues affecting young people including HIV/Aids, pregnancy and relationships with the opposite sex to enhance comprehensive sexuality education. Teenage should be a natural process that does not make the young generation ashamed of being themselves.

 

Jiactivate vice chairperson