Let's talk about periods
'Auntie from Red Hills', 'that time of the month', 'woman problems', 'Aunt Flow', 'menses' - these are just some of the terms that people typically use when talking about menstruation to avoid saying the word 'period'.
Even though women around the world experience periods every month, menstruation is handled with scorn, pain and discrimination.
Women are still uncomfortable purchasing feminine products, and there are men who consider it an insult if their woman ever dared to ask them to purchase these items.
By the time a young girl hits puberty, she starts having a menstrual cycle and most of the time, she is unprepared for this next natural step in her development.
In addition to the body changes, there are some social consequences that these young girls face, because they are immediately taught by the women in their lives that their period is something they should hide, especially from the men in the household.
For the most part, they have to figure out how to deal with the changes that their bodies are experiencing, usually with little guidance. Our culture has taught us that a period is something that women have to deal with - with very little or no involvement from men.
As a matter of fact, it's considered taboo for men to purchase feminine products; and they face even worse ridicule from their peers if they wash female underwear.
It is no secret that men and women are miles apart when it comes to the menstrual cycle. For the most part, the way some men see period is from a place of inconvenience and dread, because all they know is that they will not be able to have sex until the cycle ends.
PAIN AND DISCOMFORT
Most men cannot understand why women are not used to the pain and discomfort they feel during their period, since they experience it every month. They are also very confused about PMS - all they know is that women get miserable during 'that time of the month'.
The truth is, when it comes to the menstrual cycle, men really need to play a more active role. Fathers, for example, should not only be able to educate their daughters on the changes that they are experiencing, but also purchase the feminine products that she will need.
In addition, men should be more supportive and understanding - especially if the women in their lives have painful and uncomfortable periods.
For many women, pain is just a part of having a period and they have resigned themselves to just dealing with the discomfort every month. But the truth is, making some small changes to the diet can make a big difference in how she experiences her menstrual cycle.
For example, reducing the intake of dairy products, sugar and processed foods while increasing iron-rich foods and water intake can go a long way to improving the overall experience.
Ultimately, a healthier diet and exercise can help reduce the pain and discomfort many women feel during her period. Women should also pay attention to her flow and monitor for the number of days the cycle lasts and how heavy she bleeds. These can be indicators of a more serious problem, in which case she has to visit her medical professional to address it.
At the end of the day, the menstrual cycle is a natural part of being a woman and there is no reason for the stigma and shame that still comes with having a period.