Citizens of Gaza have been facing an acute scarcity of essential commodities amid the Israel-Hamas conflict. The relentless bombing of the Gaza Strip has made access to clean water a luxury for them.
As such, many families have moved in with their relatives and are rationing their water usage as it grows scarce in the region.
Salma Khaled, a 41-year-old woman, has been living with her relatives in the Deir el-Balah refugee camp. The stress, terror, and discomfort have taken a toll on her menstrual cycle, she told Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera.
“These war days are the toughest I’ve ever faced. I’ve had my period twice this month, which is highly unusual for me, and I’ve been dealing with heavy bleeding.”
The blockade on emergency aid by Israel has led to a critical shortage of medical supplies, with even basic items such as menstrual products becoming scarce for women in Gaza.
Amidst the paucity of sanitary napkins, tampons, access to clean water and hygienic sanitation facilities, women are compelled to resort to pharmaceutical means to postpone their menstrual cycles.
This recourse is being taken out of sheer necessity due to a lack of health care products, privacy, and hygiene.
Adolescent girls who have recently started menstruating have also had to resort to period-delaying tablets.
However, the prolonged use of period-delaying pills carries consequential side effects for women, including irregular periods, excessive vaginal bleeding, nausea, dizziness, and the potential for infertility and hormonal disorders over the long term.
Ruba Seif, a resident in shelters with her family, laments the challenging circumstances, stating, "I cannot endure the menstrual cramps alongside the constant fear, sleeplessness, and cold due to the lack of blankets."
Pharmacies are also located at a considerable distance from the shelters, requiring hours of travel, all while the threat of Israeli airstrikes looms overhead.
Dr Walid Abu Hatab, an obstetrics and gynaecology medical official at the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis, pointed out that the destruction of Gaza's streets by bombings has rendered the provision of essential medical supplies to existing pharmacies nearly impossible.
The deprivation of necessities, coupled with the constant threat of air strikes, has left the population more stressed than ever, leading to irregular periods, premature births, and an array of other health concerns.
Reporter's age: 17 | Dhaka