34.2% women noticed change in intensity of menstrual flow, 20% women missed a menstrual period at least once during this COVID phase
India’s leading feminine hygiene brand, everteen, today released the findings of its 6th annual Menstrual Hygiene Survey on the eve of the Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021 which will be observed globally on 28 May. Nearly 5000 women in the age group of 18 to 35 years from Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Kolkata participated in the survey.
Among other aspects of menstrual hygiene, this year’s everteen Menstrual Hygiene Survey specifically aimed to gauge the impact of COVID-19 and lockdown in India on periods in women. The survey revealed that more than 41% women experienced an unusually irregular gap in their menstrual periods. This is startling, because only 13.7% women who participated in the survey said they were infected with COVID-19. As many as 64.5% women said that the current COVID times had impacted their stress and anxiety levels, which could be a possible reason for irregularity in the gap between two menstrual periods in so many women. Out of all the women who participated in the survey, 34.2%, or more than one-third, said they even noticed a change in intensity of menstrual flow, while 20% women said they missed their menstrual period at least once during this COVID phase. 29.2% women respondents claimed that they had more painful periods during COVID time than normal, while 28.8% women said that they noticed unusual amount of clots in blood during menstrual period.
Mr. Chirag Pan, CEO of PAN Healthcare, says, “Menstrual periods in women are often ignored in the larger socio-economic fabric of our society in general. There is an acute need for the research community to study this aspect of menstrual health during COVID-19 on a much wider scale in India and globally. Another significant takeaway from this year’s everteen Menstrual Hygiene Survey is that the governments need to devise effective interventions to make sanitary products easily accessible to women all over India. Our survey found that almost one in every four women faced problems getting sanitary essentials during lockdown.”
A disturbing finding was that 26.6% women did nothing about irregularity in their menstrual cycle dates, while another 35.4% women only discussed it with their mother or friends. Just 38% women chose to consult a doctor to evaluate why their menstrual cycle date was irregular. Similarly, 58.1% women said they had suffered from white discharge at some point in their menstruating life, but only 25.5% women consulted a doctor.
38.1% women said that when they got their first menstrual period, they did not know what it exactly was, and in fact, 36% women thought that it was some injury or disease! 79.8% women still preferred to discuss their first period with their mother. These findings again highlight a need to create a more holistic IEC model to shift the society’s perceptions on menstruation.
Period cramps, cloth staining and changing pads emerged as the top three concerns for women at 35.3%, 30.8% and 30.1% respectively. Over 80% women admitted they had experienced staining during their periods. More than two-thirds of all women, 67.7% to be exact, felt that girls avoid participating in sports or outdoor activities during their periods. These findings highlight a need for awareness and adoption of modern menstrual hygiene methods (MHM) such as menstrual cups in India.
Says Mr. Hariom Tyagi, CEO of Wet and Dry Personal Care, the maker of everteen, and a PAN Heath initiative, “This year’s everteen Menstrual Hygiene Survey also has some very encouraging findings. For example, as many as 56.2% women said that they buy sanitary products freely from a chemist or a shop, which shows that women are shedding their inhibitions and guilt on the subject. However, another 43.8% women still feel uncomfortable while buying such products from a shop, either always or in the presence of a lot of customers. So, there is still a need to create even more awareness and acceptance on this subject in our society. It is also reassuring to note that one in four women feel free to roam out of home as usual even during periods.”
Among other findings, everteen Menstrual Hygiene Survey 2021 showed that 90.9% women still prefer to use sanitary napkins in India, while 7.3% women have switched to menstrual cups followed by 1% tampon users.
In line with the trend in recent years, this year’s survey shows that menstrual hygiene continues to shed its taboo image and is moving towards becoming a mainstream subject in the Indian society. As many as 52.9% women felt that menstruation is perceived as positive or neutral subject in India. However, nearly 36% women said it was still considered a taboo. Sharing their personal experiences, 58.1% women said that they took it positively, while 1% still found it a nuisance. A growing 16.8% women felt that there is no difference of perceptions about menstruation among men and women, although a majority 58% still felt there was a difference in perceptions on the subject. A healthy 40.2% women said that men in the Indian society are able to relate with this natural process of menstrual cycle, while another 48% said that while men understand it, they are not able to relate with it fully.
64.4% women still feel cautious about hygiene and sanitation at public toilets in offices, malls and cinema halls, and said that they have rarely or never used them for changing sanitary products during periods. 74.5% women felt uncomfortable if they had to use a public toilet for such purposes.
everteen has been conducting these annual Menstrual Hygiene Surveys since 2014. As a pioneer in complete feminine intimate hygiene, it has also been actively creating awareness on feminine and menstrual hygiene through numerous campaigns such as #FixYourPeriods and #SheNeedsPad. everteen is one of nearly 600 global partners of the Menstrual Hygiene Day, a platform supported by organizations like UNICEF and USAID to raise awareness about the challenges faced by women and girls worldwide due to menstruation and highlight solutions to address such challenges. Today, everteen offers more than 35 different intimate hygiene and wellness products for women including sanitary pads, tampons, menstrual cups, bikini line hair remover crème, intimate wash, intimate wipes, toilet seat sanitizer, menopausal relief capsules and more. A bestseller on online portals such as Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa, Purplle, Snapdeal, Paytm, and others, everteen has also shipped products to customers in countries including Australia, Bangladesh, France, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, US, UK, Vietnam, and several African countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda.