Nearly every single woman — almost half of the world’s population — gets her period and yet it’s still not a subject that most are comfortable discussing openly. With Period Week Yahoo Lifestyle takes a look at why there’s still a sense of shame and embarrassment hovering over the topic how some dads struggle to have these conversations with their daughters how menstruation-related health issues can affect your life and what schools are teaching kids about menstruation today.


Menstruation stigma is an even bigger problem globally with many girls missing schoolwhen they’re on their periods and research showing a lix between menstruation and women losing wages. While the taboo of periods isn’t as severe in the U.S. many women go out of their way to hide the fact that they’re menstruating and suffer from painful cramps in silence at work and school because they’re too embarrassed to say anything.


According to an article in the journal The Lancet: “Women are expected to function as usual with minimal attention paid to managing the physical and mental pain and discomfort. This is surely an anomaly in modern medicine. There can be no other disease or condition that affects so many people on such a regular basis with consequences at both the individual and societal level which is not prioritized in some way by health professionals or policy makers.”


One of the reasons periods are often seen as a taboo topic is because “in the U.S. we’re based on puritanical ideals — even though we’ve evolved in so many ways” Leah Millheiser MD director of the female sexual medicine program at Stanford University Medical Center tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “But one way we haven’t really evolved is this embarrassment [about] menstrual health and sexual health. It’s historical and I think it’s based on the culture. It wasn’t deemed appropriate.”

斯坦福大学医药中心女性性医学项目总负责人利亚·米尔海泽(Leah Millheiser)告诉雅虎生活专栏,月经经常被视为忌讳话题的一个原因在于“在美国,我们仍以清教徒式的理想作为基础——即使我们在很多方面都已经进化了。但是有一个方面我们还没有真正进化,那就是(对)月经和性健康的尴尬感。这是个历史性问题了,我认为是文化原因造成的。以前人们认为它是不体面的。“

She adds: “For many of our mothers and grandmothers these things weren’t appropriate. And when you don’t talk about things — if something is hush-hush and not talked about — there is an air of shame. And embarrassment goes along with that.”



Social media is also playing a role notes Millheiser: “It absolutely created a platform to speak openly and reduce the shame.”


So it’s no surprise that there are not only more menstrual-related products than ever before — from period-proof underwear by Thinx to eco-friendly menstrual cups like the DivaCup to organic tampons like Lola and Cora — but that they’re also more visible.


Both Millheiser and Brim say we can continue to combat this shame starting with our own daughters (and sons). “It really starts with the mothers or the caretakers of the young girls” says Millheiser. “To be very comfortable themselves having the conversation about your menstrual health and your options — that will then trickle down to that young girl where she’ll say it’s not so weird and it’s not so embarrassing.”


Millheiser says it’s all about normalizing the fact that this is a natural process for your body — not something you have to hide. “This is a normal part of your health and you should not be embarrassed by it” she says. “We should all be brandishing our tampons freely.”


Rather than a slightly awkward one-time talk this needs to be a continuous conversation parents have with their kids to create “a new narrative” for the next generation. As Brim puts it: “Shame disappears when you shine light on it.”