Menstruation is the normal vaginal bleeding which occurs every month in females. It prepares a woman’s body for pregnancy and therefore plays a very important role in female reproductive life.
There are several articles around the Internet which openly discuss about dealing with menstrual pain and how one can make their cycle regular and healthier. However, discussion on the topic of menstrual hygiene is still treated as a silent issue and is not talked about as openly as it should be.
Why should we discuss about menstrual hygiene?
Women, all over the country, still have a hard time dealing with their periods, they often get paranoid because of their menstrual issues as they cannot talk openly about it.
Women who belong to the rural and backward areas where menstruation is still treated as a taboo have yet not explored their options regarding the products they can use during menstruation. In such situations, they end up using old cloth or rugs that invite diseases and infections.
Many women are even still not aware of what menstrual hygiene is. They are too shy to openly talk about it due to the huge stigma surrounding it and it’s high time we change that.
Why is it menstrual hygiene important?
If we believe that basic personal hygiene is important, we should also realize that personal hygiene should be treated as a priority during the time of menstruation as chances of catching infections rise significantly during this time.
If personal hygiene is ignored during the time of menstruation, menstrual blood can facilitate the growth of bacteria and cause irritation, rashes, and infection.
If you have not given much time or thought to your personal hygiene during menstruation, it’s time that you think again and makes some changes.
What can you do for you Menstrual Hygiene?
Needless to say, you need to start with being extra caring and careful towards yourself while you are on your periods. Say goodbye to those days of ignorance when you did not know how you should take care of yourself during your periods.
Everything else can wait, treat yourself like a priority at this time of the month.
If you are unaware regarding the correct methods of taking care of your personal hygiene during menstruation and have doubts regarding what you should and should not do before, during and after your periods, then here is what you need to know.
Follow these 10 golden rules of personal hygiene during your periods –
#1. Take a bath
Yes, you can take a bath while you are on your periods, don’t believe in orthodox rumors that ask you not to the same. Taking a bath would not only relax your body, calm your nerves, reduce the pain but also help you get cleaner and feel fresh.
Take a bath with warm or lukewarm water and relax. Don’t use hard soaps around the vaginal area and always pat the vaginal area dry after taking a bath.
#2. Wash yourself properly
Washing your private area in a proper manner is very essential. Wash your vagina and area around it properly. The proper way of washing your private area is washing it from front to back and never from back to front. That is, washing your vagina first and anus later. Doing this will ensure that bacteria from the anal region does not reach the vaginal or urethral opening and cause infections.
#3. Stay away from vaginal hygiene products and soaps
Using vaginal hygiene products and soaps while you are menstruating isn’t a good idea. Your vagina tends to clean itself on its own during your periods. Using soaps and other artificial products can change the pH of your vagina and hamper this process and this is can, in turn, lead to the growth of bacteria. Just use clean water to wash yourself and you’re good to go.
#4. Change sanitary napkins regularly
Changing pads or tampons regularly is very important to prevent infections during menstruation. Keeping pads and tampons on for too long can cause serious infections as menstrual blood facilitates bacterial growth. Change your pad within 4 hours and tampons within 2 hours.
Change the sanitary napkin and tampon even if you feel that they are doing their work very efficiently. Don’t wait to feel discomfort, change it within 4 to 6 hours.
#5. Choose the right sanitary napkin
Keep in mind that not every product is made for you. Discontinue using a sanitary napkin which is causing rashes and irritation around your vagina. Make sure that the product you use doesn’t cause itching or redness. Choose the right kind of pad or tampon which fits you well and makes you feel comfortable.
#6. Clean and change
Whenever you change your sanitary napkin, make sure you clean your private area properly. Pat the vaginal area dry so that there is no irritation. Wash your hands properly before and after cleaning yourself and changing the pad.
#7. Use clean underwear
Use comfortable underwear that fits you well and change it everyday. Wearing the same underwear for too long can cause itching and rashes. It can also lead to bacterial growth and infections. Don’t forget to check your underwear for blood stains when you change your pad. Change your underwear immediately if you find any.
#8. Wear comfortable clothes
Tight clothes can hamper the blood and air flow around your private area. Use comfortable clothes that can provide ease of movement. Wear loose and comfortable clothes that prevent sweating and maintain proper airflow around your private areas.
#9. Dispose of your sanitary napkins properly
Don’t flush your tampons or sanitary napkins. Flushing them can cause clogging and overflow of the toilet. Don’t throw your used tampons and pads in open spaces. Discard them properly in dustbins so that there is no spread of infections.
#10. Stick to one method
Don’t combine and use tampons and pads at the same time. While it may help you manage things efficiently during heavy menstrual flow, it will also make you oblivious to the needed of changing pads and tampons frequently. Even if your pad is soaking blood efficiently, change it within 4 to 6 hours. If the blood remains accumulated in the pad for too long it can cause serious infections.
#11. Don’t ignore anything
If you have itching, irritation, redness around your vagina then don’t ignore it. If you have smelly vaginal discharge or pain in your vagina meet your doctor immediately. Inform your doctor as soon as you notice something unusual or discomforting. If you are noticing any changes in your vagina or around it get it examined by your doctor as soon as possible.
#13. Meet your doctor/health care provider
Meet your doctor when you have any doubts regarding your menstrual health. Don’t take the matter in your own hands. Take proper medical advice and help. Be open to your doctor regarding every problem. Your doctor will handle everything professionally and treat you with the utmost respect. Your problems will be kept confidential so don’t worry about anything. Don’t be shy, discuss your feelings and issues so that proper help and support can be given to you.
Maintaining proper menstrual hygiene is vital to the overall health and well-being of a woman. However, the sad reality is, that menstrual hygiene management is still treated as a topic of stigma and not discussed as much as it should. It’s high time that we break the silence around periods.
Every woman must be educated so that she can help other women learn how to take care of their body, mind, health, and spirit during menstruation.