Connecting Menstrual Health with Self-Care

This piece was originally posted on the Menstrual Hygiene Day blog.

This piece was originally featured on the Menstrual Hygiene Day’s blog following its Self-Care Trailblazer Group’s (SCTG) Self-Care Learning and Discovery Series session. PSI is a member of the SCTG and the Global Menstrual Collective, which hosted the recent session on self-care and menstrual health. The inaugural Self-Care Learning and Discovery Series was a highly interactive, virtual forum where participants will exchange and incubate ideas, experiences and solutions on a variety of self-care topics.

Making the connection between Menstrual Health and Self-Care 

Menstrual health is an ongoing self-care practice that menstruators enact throughout their reproductive lifetime. This concerns 300 million people on any given day. For individual menstruators, we can easily imagine the self-care practices carried out  for 3-6 days, every month, during the menstrual phase (e.g. managing blood flow, pain, discomfort, etc). In addition, menstruators also practice self-care during other phases of the cycle, where changes in hormone levels can impact metabolism, appetite, mood, and even their ability to focus. This is particularly true for those with menstrual conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, dysmenorrhea, or others.

The secretive or taboo nature of menstruation, as well as cultural and environmental restrictions, all directly impact the ability of menstruators to manage their periods and means that self-care is often done in secret, private spaces. In addition, when there is limited access to accurate education there is a risk that women and girls may perform harmful menstrual practices and make uninformed decisions about their menstrual care.

“Self-care allows people to become agents of their own health, leading to improved outcomes, especially in the area of sexual and reproductive health where stigma may prevent them from seeking care.”

Self-Care: Self-care is the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.

Menstrual Health: Menstrual health (MH) is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in relation to the menstrual cycle.

Supportive environments for self-care and menstrual health and hygiene

Removing barriers and limitations that surround menstrual health & hygiene helps create supportive self-care environments in homes, schools, workplaces, and communities. The session looked at four interlinked perspectives of menstrual related self-care: education, physical well-being, mental well-being and products.

Above all, it is critical to eliminate stigmas and taboos altogether so that women and girls are empowered to practice menstruation related self-care openly, without fear of embarrassment, shame, or negative repercussions. This was seen during the course of the session, where many participants shared their own MH experiences in the break-out and chat which created an open and welcoming environment for them to feel comfortable to contribute.


  • Days for Girls, MIET Africa, WASH United, in collaboration with the Global Menstrual Collective


  • Moderator: Ina Jurga, International Coordinator, Menstrual Hygiene Day, WASH United,  Germany
  • Laura Amaya, Associate Partner, Dalberg, United Kingdom
  • Dr. Renjini Devaki, PhD, Monitoring and Evaluation Manager, MIET AFRICA, South Africa and Mags Beksinska, Deputy Executive Director, MatCH Research Unit, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa (Mags will be presenting).
  • Barghavi Govindarajan, Co-founder, Hey Period.
  • Melanie Wilkinson, Consultant, UNICEF South Africa
  • Naana Abena Afadi, Program Manager, Days for Girls Ghana, Ghana


Sign up to
Receive Updates

Donate to
Support Our Work



The Future of Work

With overarching commitments to flexibility in our work, and greater wellbeing for our employees, we want to ensure PSI is positioned for success with a global and holistic view of talent. Under our new “work from (almost) anywhere,” or “WFAA” philosophy, we are making the necessary investments to be an employer of record in more than half of U.S. states, and consider the U.S. as one single labor market for salary purposes. Globally, we recognize the need to compete for talent everywhere; we maintain a talent center in Nairobi and a mini-hub in Abidjan. PSI also already works with our Dutch-based European partner, PSI Europe, and we’re creating a virtual talent center in the UK.


Meaningful Youth Engagement

PSI is firmly committed to the meaningful engagement of young people in our work. As signatories of the Global Consensus Statement on Meaningful Adolescent & Youth Engagement, PSI affirms that young people have a fundamental right to actively and meaningfully engage in all matters that affect their lives. PSI’s commitments aim to serve and partner with diverse young people from 10-24 years, and we have prioritized ethics and integrity in our approach. Read more about our commitments to the three core principles of respect, justice and Do No Harm in the Commitment to Ethics in Youth-Powered Design. And read more about how we are bringing our words to action in our ICPD+25 commitment, Elevating Youth Voices, Building Youth Skills for Health Design.


Zero Tolerance for Modern-Day Slavery and Human Trafficking

PSI works to ensure that its operations and supply chains are free from slavery and human trafficking. Read more about this commitment in our policy statement, endorsed by the PSI Board of Directors.



Since 2017, PSI has been a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact, a commitment to align strategies and operations with universal principles of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. Read about PSI’s commitment to the UN Global Compact here.


Environmental Sustainability

The health of PSI’s consumers is inextricably linked to the health of our planet. That’s why we’ve joined the Climate Accountability in Development as part of our commitment to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. Read about our commitment to environmental sustainability.


Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity

PSI does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, marital status, genetic information, disability, protected veteran status or any other classification protected by applicable federal, state or local law. Read our full affirmative action and equal employment opportunity policy here.


Zero Tolerance for Discrimination and Harassment

PSI is committed to establishing and maintaining a work environment that fosters harmonious, productive working relationships and encourages mutual respect among team members. Read our policy against discrimination and harassment here.

PSI is committed to serving all health consumers with respect, and strives for the highest standards of ethical behavior. PSI is dedicated to complying with the letter and spirit of all laws, regulations and contractual obligations to which it is subject, and to ensuring that all funds with which it is entrusted are used to achieve maximum impact on its programs. PSI provides exceptionally strong financial, operational and program management systems to ensure rigorous internal controls are in place to prevent and detect fraud, waste and abuse and ensure compliance with the highest standards. Essential to this commitment is protecting the safety and well-being of our program consumers, including the most vulnerable, such as women and children. PSI maintains zero tolerance for child abuse, sexual abuse, or exploitative acts or threats by our employees, consultants, volunteers or anyone associated with the delivery of our programs and services, and takes seriously all complaints of misconduct brought to our attention.


Diversity and Inclusion

PSI affirms its commitment to diversity and believes that when people feel respected and included they can be more honest, collaborative and successful. We believe that everyone deserves respect and equal treatment regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, cultural background or religious beliefs. Read our commitment to diversity and inclusion here. Plus, we’ve signed the CREED Pledge for Racial and Ethnic Equity. Learn more.


Gender Equality

PSI affirms gender equality is a universal human right and the achievement of it is essential to PSI’s mission. Read about our commitment to gender equality here.


01 #PeoplePowered

02 Breaking Taboos

03 Moving Care Closer to Consumers

04 Innovating on Investments

Let's Talk About Sex