Girls also have limited options for feminine hygiene products and may have to use “traditional” methods such as cloths, papers or leaves, or use products for longer than recommended which can be uncomfortable and allow leakage onto clothes as well as lead to serious medical complications. Where various options do exist, they are often cost prohibitive, so families have to prioritize their spending on food and other essentials.
These challenges lead to more serious issues such as reproductive diseases caused by poor menstrual hygiene, and contribute to school absenteeism. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, one in ten African girls do not attend school during menstruation. In addition, girls may refrain from participating in physical activities and have a lower level of confidence.