Until very recently, it would not have crossed my mind to discuss a woman’s period with friends and family.
As someone who has not experienced period pain, or had to go to the pharmacy or shops to get a supply of sanitary products it is an issue that I’ve never had the need to discuss.
However in a professional capacity as a journalist, I have been reporting on the issue of period poverty and particularly on Monica Lennon’s campaign to end it for the last 18 months.
It was not until I started covering the issue from a journalistic point of view that I found that for most women and girls having a period is very much a part of their lives and that access to sanitary products is a fundamental human right.
As I was researching the issue of period poverty, I found it shocking that many women and girls could not afford to buy a packet of tampons when they are going through their period.
A recent report from Plan International UK found that two in five girls in Scotland have been forced to be using toilet roll to manage their period because they cannot afford to buy sanitary products. 
The study also revealed that 45 per cent of girls living in Scotland have had to use alternative means for sanitary products, like newspapers and toilet rolls because they are struggling to buy tampons.
The survey also showed that just over a quarter of women and girls in Scotland have used the same sanitary product longer than they should have because they could not afford to purchase an adequate supply to accommodate their needs.
As Monica Lennon told the CommonSpace, there could be health risks for those women and girls who do not change their sanitary products on a regular basis. 
Even though it is rare, toxic shock syndrome is one of conditions that is associated with the extended use of products.
Due to this, I back Monica Lennon’s campaign to make Scotland the first country in the world to have free universal access to sanitary products.
With the UK still in austerity following the financial crash in 2008, they are some women and young girls who will have to choose between buying food or buy a packet of tampons when they are menstruating, and they may be putting their health at risk.
Currently for those young women and girls who are in need of an emergency supply of sanitary products they would have an option to turn to a food bank for help.
However, for some women, they would go without during their period due to the shame and embarrassment of having to ask for a packet of sanitary products.
Condoms can be accessed discreetly and at no cost from a registered dispenser via the C-Card system.
A similar scheme will need to be put in place for women to allow them to get their supply of sanitary products without feeling ashamed or embarrassed in doing so.
By introducing such a scheme, this would mean that there would be universal access to free sanitary that would help to bring an end to period poverty.
If no scheme is introduced, I would also be worried for Scotland’s future if nothing has changed for those women and young girls who continue to struggle through their period.
As Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs last May: for many women and girls sanitary products during menstruation is “not a luxury but a necessity”.
 Because I am a Girl – Plan International UK - https://plan-uk.org/file/plan-uk-break-the-barriers-report-032018pdf/download?token=Fs-HYP3v
 Labour MSP: Period poverty could put women's lives at risk- CommonSpace -https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/10052/labour-msp-period-poverty-could-put-womens-lives-risk
 Sturgeon: Sanitary products during menstruation are not a luxury but a necessity – CommonSpace - https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/10911/sturgeon-sanitary-products-during-menstruation-are-not-luxury-necessity
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