Menstruation is a sensitive time for all women, and many remain unaware of clean and healthy practices that must be followed. Whether you have just attained puberty or nearing menopause, not following hygienic practices can lead to many dangerous infections like UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) and vaginal infections.
The biggest factors that affect the way women manage their menstrual cycle are myths and lack of information. For example, in some cultures women are encouraged not to take a bath while on their period. However it must be known that this was followed in ancient times only when people bathed in the open in order to keep the water clean and prevent others from getting infections. This is not applicable to our modern world and a clean shower in a private bathroom is one way to ensure menstrual hygiene.
Here are some important menstrual practices that all women should follow:
Choosing the right sanitary device:
Every woman is different and hence will require different modes of sanitation during her period. Sanitary napkins, tampons and menstrual cups can be are the options available. Amount of flow, sensitivity to rashes and opportunities for changing in a day are few critical things to consider while choosing your device. Ultimately, you need to be confident about trying different methods of sanitation and choosing the one that is most comfortable for you. However, make sure to use only one method at a time.
This includes even the everyday activity of bathing. Make sure you wash yourself with warm water to rid your body of bacterial organisms. Cleaning your vaginal area regularly is extremely important. Women should know that soaps and shower gels etc can cause a change in the vaginal pH which could lead to more infections. Hence make sure you get a formulated intimate wash that does not have many heavy duty chemicals. Run it by your doctor before you use it. If you can’t such a product, then just use warm water. Always clean in the direction from the vagina to the anus and not the other way around otherwise bacteria could get lodged in your vagina.
Changing the products often:
The longer a sanitary product is in contact with your body, the higher your risk of infection. Pads when left on for too long can cause rashes and also lead to infections. Generally, a pad can be used for up to six hours. Tampons need to be changed every two to three hours are they go into your vagina and have higher levels of absorbency. Menstrual cups are not as widely used. They need to be emptied when they get full, and hence depends on your flow.
These are essential practices that can ensure a clean and healthy period. It is always better to be prepared around the time of your period. Carry clean towels and extra pads or tampons. Be prepared with a snack and water as you can feel tired during this time. Discard your used products by properly wrapping them so that infections are contained.
Image Courtesy: Roshni Tharian, Illustrator at oowomaniya