Although menstruation is a natural physiological process, a lack of menstrual health management (MHM) is a large scale problem for women in India due to social stigmas, social-cultural myths and taboos, scarcity of information or misinformation, unavailability and scarcity of toilets and sanitary napkins, and environmental concerns associated with the disposal of sanitary napkins. This problem involves a cycle of neglect. There is a lack of involvement from women and girls in decision-making regarding their own lives, a lack of information and awareness regarding menstrual hygiene and why women menstruate, and a lack of access to sanitary materials and facilities.
The impact of this problem is large and can be seen in the habitual absenteeism of girls from schools during menstruation, which affects their education and ability to keep up with schoolwork. The high prevalence of reproductive tract infections, depression and low self-esteem among girls and women in areas without MHM, as well as the inability to do normal daily activities and the seclusion of women from the public realm during menstruation, negatively effect outcomes. Considering these negative impacts, MHM can be linked with gaps in achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially those focused on universal education, gender equality, women’s empowerment, and environmental sustainability.