Dignity and Menstruation

It’s world menstrual hygiene day on May 28th.

Disabled people can be completely overlooked when it comes to product design, access to sanitary products and toilet facilities. People may even assume disabled women and trans men for example don’t menstruate. Trust me – most of us do – if we ovulate then we have a menstrual cycle – and our health and dignity is often compromised because of so little understanding and awareness

My experiences as a wheelchair user with personal assistance.

  • Do male carers and spouses know how to shop for sanitary products and how to attach them in the right place !! My husband entered an entirely new world that he never thought would happen.
  • How do you hoist someone from bed to bathroom where clothing has already been removed ready for sitting on the loo – when it’s the dreaded day one and an almighty flood is is occurring!
  • Accessible toilets may not have sanitary product dispensers.
  • Do you know how fiddly it is to remove the backing strips from towels and place them in your knickers if you have arthritis or little finger dexterity or spasms?
  • What do you do when there are no accessible toilets to freshen up and change a towel etc?
  • Extra washing – extra time and cost.
  • Have you ever tried to wipe someone else’s bum when menstruating without getting in a mess?
  • Period cramps can be extra painful when your impairment already causes pain in your legs, back pelvic area etc.
  • Wearing pads can cause pressure sores on delicate skin for wheelchair users and risks higher contact allergies arising from prolonged sitting.
  • Blood in the toilet can be mistaken by carers to be ‘just period related’ – when in fact it could be more serious. Disabled women can be at risk of missing out on important health checks.

Menstrual Hygiene Day article about disabled people.

For people with learning difficulties – it can raise other issues.

This is a very insightful blog everyone should read – about how people with learning difficulties manage and understand menstruation. It highlights so many important elements – I wonder how many health care professionals, carers and assistants have training about supporting people menstruating with dignity and respect?

Link to an article about managing menstruation when you have a learning difficulty

How does society’s attitude to menstruation and hygiene make you feel as a disabled person?

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