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?

Welcome to our new website!

We have a brand new website and new ways you can support the project.

For business looking to improve or begin a new accessible toilet build or students doing design or social community courses – our new membership support plans are ideal.

Business members get access to over 100 pages of information in our unique publications at a 40% discount and students get them for free. Business yearly support membership is only £30.

All members also get free 1:1 advice and consultancy.

If you have found our information blogs helpful you can also support the project by donations. Just a few pounds to help keep information free for disabled people and their families would be a significant help!

Thank you for your ongoing support.

We want to hear about your continence, hygiene or accessible toilet related products

We’d love to hear about specific, innovative products that might promote dignity and inclusion for disabled people within the areas of accessing the toilet, personal hygiene, continence etc.

  • No charge – this project is run by volunteers and our ‘contributors’ are all part of the project! You would be a volunteer contributor (Donations and membership is always welcome to support the project.
  • Stories can include links to video, audio or send us photographs to highlight your product.
  • Stories should be 300 words or less, provide a company logo, product picture and short company biography (3-4 sentences for example).
  • Tell us why your product is unique, what sort of people might benefit and how people can get more information.
  • We will let you know which week your information will come out (or ask us if a particular week is free if you need a specific promotional time)
  • We love exclusives and sneak peaks – so if you have a great product to reveal, do consider us! We also love to review products for readers – so let us know if this interests you.

Government consults on mandatory Changing Places

The government is undergoing a public consultation (part 1) providing the finer details of including Changing Places toilets in the Building Regulations (Document M, Sanitation).

Visit: Changing Places (England) Consultation

You can have your say on issues such as:

  • Types of buildings
  • Trigger values eg cinemas would be based on x number of seats, others triggered by footfall or space.
  • Size and equipment provided
  • Costs to businesses
  • Equality impact assessment of provision.

Full details are contained in the pdf document provided on the consultation page. You can participate by email or online.