At SUBU we are dedicated to breaking down the stigma surrounding menstrual health.
The stigma surrounding periods and menstrual health is stopping people from seeking help about their health concerns, Plan International UK found that 79 per cent of those with periods have been concerned by symptoms linked to it, such as heavy bleeding, severe pain and irregularity. Of the 1,004 14- to 21-year-olds asked, more than a quarter (27 per cent) said they were too embarrassed to speak to a health professional about their concerns while menstruating. More than half (54 per cent) said they hadn’t sought medical advice because they thought their symptoms were typical. A total of 13 per cent were told they were exaggerating.
By encouraging positive conversation, education and fighting for equal periods we can break down this stigma.
Using more inclusive language when talking about periods is incredibly important. Some women don’t have periods due to menopause, stress, disease or a hysterectomy, and there are people who menstruate who aren’t women. They might be trans men, intersex, genderqueer or use another term like nonbinary. Using non-gender specific language and encouraging others to do so when talking about periods is a small change you can make that can make a big diference as it can be alienating for those who are left out.
When talking about periods rather than using gendered language you could use:
- People who menstruate
- People with periods
- "Menstrual products" rather than "Feminine products"
For some people with disabilities period products are not easily accessible or easy to use and for many their disability might mean that they have to take a few more things into account. Although some period products do exist which have been designed by and with disabled people in mind these products are often expensive and inaccesible. Flux, the first line of period-proof underwear in the UK to feature detachable sides and The Keela Cup, a redesigned menstrual cup to make life easier are both great accesible products created by people with disabilities. Supporting accesible period products like this and encouraging positive debate around accessible periods can help to tackle the taboo surrounding disability and menstrual health, and encourage more people to fight for accessible periods which are affordable.
The average person who menstruates will throw away between 10,000 and 15,000 pads and tampons in their lifetime, these products require hundreds of years to biodegrade. With 20 billion pads, tampons and applicators being sent to North American landfills annually the importance of more sustainable period products is clear.
Some more sustainable options are:
- To invest in menstrual cups
- Try period underwear
- Re-usable pads and tampons which you can order online or make yourself!
- Bio-Degradable or organic tampons
- Menstrual Sponges
The average lifetime cost of having a period is approximately £4800, and among people who menstruate in the UK Plan International found that:
- One in ten people (10 per cent) have been unable to afford sanitary wear
- One in seven people (15 per cent) have struggled to afford sanitary wear
- One in seven people (14 per cent) have had to ask to borrow sanitary wear from a friend due to affordability issues
- More than one in ten people (12 per cent) has had to improvise sanitary wear due to affordability issues
- One in five (19%) of people have changed to a less suitable sanitary product due to cost
This is why it is so important that we bring an end to period poverty through fighting for more affordable periods, donating to organisations which provide period products to those in need, and educate others about what period poverty is.
If you are in need of period products you can visit the SUBU Reception on the first floor of the Student Centre to pick up a pack of Bodyform Pads.