Amid the ongoing Israeli bombardment in Gaza, Palestinian women are resorting to menstruation-delaying pills in dire, unsanitary conditions, according to Al Jazeera. More than 11,500 Palestinians have lost life in Israeli strikes since October 7.
Displaced and facing overcrowded living situations with limited access to water and menstrual hygiene products, such as sanitary napkins and tampons, women are turning to norethisterone tablets.
Normally prescribed for conditions like severe menstrual bleeding, endometriosis, and painful periods, these tablets, according to Dr Walid Abu Hatab, an obstetrics and gynaecology medical consultant, who spoke to Al Jazeera, said that it maintains elevated progesterone hormone levels, delaying menstruation by preventing the shedding of the uterus lining.
While medical professionals note potential side effects such as irregular vaginal bleeding, nausea, changes in the menstrual cycle, dizziness, and mood swings, some women like Salma Khaled feel compelled to take the risk amidst the relentless bombardment and blockade in Gaza.
Salma, who fled her home in Tel al-Hawa and is now in Deir el-Balah refugee camp, describes the constant fear, discomfort, and depression impacting her menstrual cycle, stating, “I am experiencing the most difficult days of my life during this war.”