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How Period Stigma in Muslim and South Asian Communities Impacts Menstrual Health

In the summer of 2017, I was fourteen, and it was Ramadan. I remember a friend telling me she pretends to fast when she is on her period, so her dad and brother won’t know she is menstruating (during Ramadan, women do not have to fast when on their menstrual cycle). 

This meant she would wake up at 2:30am to eat with her family for the meal at dawn, then proceed to eat throughout the day in private, without anyone knowing. I was shocked, the thought of doing this seemed ridiculous to me. What was so shameful, or disgusting about periods which meant it had to be hidden from her own father? 

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How Having PCOS Shaped Me As a Young Person

TW: Periods including mentions of blood, dismissive doctors.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is defined by the NHS website as ‘a condition that affects how the ovaries work.’  Its most common symptom is periods being irregular or heavier compared to the “norm”, which is due to hormone imbalances within the body. 

However, as someone diagnosed with PCOS, I know that it involves more than just heavy periods. PCOS is a fundamental part of my identity. It has a wide range of implications, and it is something that heavily impacted how I grew into a young adult.