“Reports suggest that around 40% of women have been period shamed, and around 60% of women felt embarrassed about their period.”
These feelings of shame and embarrassment have lead to the use of TMI (too much information) as a disclaimer. When did we become so detached from our physical being? When did certain aspects of human health require such a warning?
So where did all of this shame come from?
Firstly, let’s understand some religions historically had rules to discriminate menstruating people. There was an impurity associated with menstruation, with the Quran even translating that menstruation is “harm” and should be kept away from.
How does this translate now?
Today, it looks more like the use of code words or hushed tones when referring to this beautiful biological function.
And with that, we often hear negative terminology, derogatory language and jokes about ‘pms-ing’. Whether it’s a light-hearted joke or not, this still penetrates the psyche. Even by refusing to speak about menstruation in a straightforward way, we perpetuate the idea that discussing it plainly, without veiled terminology, is not ok.
And sadly, we see this in clinic very often.
‘Too Much Information?’ we don’t do that here…
This perception of ‘TMI’ especially in regards to periods, vaginas, vaginal discharge, menstrual blood, menstrual cups, cervical mucus and sexual health, is something we observe often, suggesting that there is still an internal stigma that exists.
The irony is, talking about these topics provide us with very accurate information regarding the overall health of the individual.
For example, vaginal discharge can really help to understand our body, and is particularly important if you are looking to conceive. It can also signal more serious issues and therefore should not be a topic to avoid speaking up about.
And then there is periods. Your menstrual cycle is one of the most natural, regular and clearest communicators of what is going on inside your body. If your cycle is off, then there is a good chance that there is something happening behind closed doors that might need some attention. And furthermore, some people are experiencing period pain so severe that they vomit, yet they pass it off as ‘just something I put up with’. Because, you know, it’s just ‘women’s issues’. Pfft.
Bottom line is, we think things really need to change.
Educating the next generations that they can freely discuss such topics without shame and embarrassment, is crucial and a great place to start.
However we also need to be the change we wish to see. And that means encouraging ourselves and each other feel comfortable talking about vaginas and periods. This helps to break down the barriers that exist around women’s health. This will benefit us now and in the future.
Let’s be part of creating a world that normalises these topics and dissolves the “TMI” perception. Privacy in specific settings is your choice, which is not the same as feeling embarrassed, ashamed and disgusted.
We are here to let you know, there is no such thing as TOO MUCH INFORMATION!