All You Need To Know About Menstrual Hygiene
Before we begin, one fact that we need to get right is that menstruation is not dirty, it can be messy sometimes, but definitely not dirty. Medically this is just not true. Yes, we know it is still unwelcome because of the discomfort it causes, but it is also manageable with the correct practices. And we urge you to follow them for a healthy cycle.
Intimate hygiene should be an integral part of every woman’s everyday life. Especially when you’re menstruating, because that’s when you are most susceptible to vaginal irritation, infections like UTI, and other minor to major inconveniences. The key however is, knowing how to maintain that hygiene, the right way.
Your menstrual flow
Periods are a biological process. Blood and the lining of your uterus make up your menstrual flow. These areas of your body are clean. Your menstrual flow exits your uterus through your vaginal opening. Pretty neat now, isn’t that?
Your vagina knows how to clean itself
Some women compulsively and regularly clean their vagina during periods. When you do this, you are rinsing your vaginal area with water or another substance (which may not even be right for the pH of that sensitive area) in order to make it “clean.” The fact is that your vagina is ALREADY clean. It doesn’t need that extra rinsing and washing.
The way your vagina stays healthy is by maintaining a certain level of pH. It has a colony of natural bacteria that in conjunction with hormones, helps to keep the pH regulated and healthy. During and after your period, your body knows how to make modifications to maintain this equilibrium. Your body is smarter than you think it is.
So, when you interfere with this functioning, you disrupt the pH and the bacterial characteristics, resulting in vaginal infections such as yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis. Intensive cleaning can also put you at risk for more serious infections, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, which can have a negative impact on your fertility as well.
So, it’s best to leave your vagina as is when it comes to your period’s messes. It has the ability to and will take care of itself. Rest assured, ladies.
Your vulva however, doesn’t clean on its own
The blood that has spread across your vulva ( the part outside of your vaginal opening and inner thighs) needs to be cleaned for sure.
You could be tempted to use a feminine hygiene product that promises to make you feel clean and fresh, such as a fragrant wash or pre-packaged wipe. These can be used on your inner thighs, but keep in mind that you should avoid placing anything fragrant on your vulva – to prevent irritating the sensitive tissue there.
These perfumed products have the potential to cause vulvitis, a rash or inflammation that causes itching, burning, and pain during sexual activity. That’s why we say, plain water is the finest approach to cleaning your vulva.
Now that we have got the basics out of the way, here are some simple period hygiene practices to remember and spread it to your friends, family, and colleagues.
- Wash yourself from front to back. Pathogenic germs will be less likely to penetrate the vaginal area as a result of directing yourself this way.
- Choose sanitary products based on the type of your flow, if you have a heavy flow, go for highly absorbent products.
- Don’t skip a bath on your periods. It’s completely safe. You can choose the normal running water or lukewarm water during your bath. Hot water may lead to heavier bleeding.
- If you find toilet paper to be hard and rough, replace it with plain wet wipes. Avoid using products that contain alcohol or fragrance as they may lead to irritated skin and mucous membranes.
- While sleeping at night, if you happen to stain your bed sheet, don’t get paranoid. Use cold water to wash it as hot water may not work on the stains. You can use a regular soap and it should work just fine.
- While disposing of the pad, roll it up and place it in the fresh pad’s wrapper or toilet paper before discarding it. To wrap tampons, simply cover them in toilet paper. This will reduce odours while also preventing the spread of microorganisms, which can accumulate over time.
Your period is a very normal and important element of being a woman. So, don’t be shy about discussing menstruation with the ladies and girls in your life. Inquire about your mother’s first period, when it arrived, and how she manages hers each month.
Ask your friends the same questions, inquire about how they are handling it and how they are taking care of themselves at this time. Follow a nutritious and a balanced diet during periods.
This allows you to honour a specific rite of passage while also supporting each other with love and happiness – allowing you to appreciate your period. Lastly, pamper yourself! You need love and care now more than ever!
- Rodion Salimgaraev. 14 Important Questions about Hygiene During Your Period.[Internet]. Flo Health Inc; US.[Updated:2021, March 02; Cited: 2021, September 03]. Available from https://flo.health/menstrual-cycle/lifestyle/hygiene-and-beauty/period-hygiene-faq
- Dasgupta A, Sarkar M. Menstrual Hygiene: How Hygienic is the Adolescent Girl? Indian J Community Med. 2008 Apr;33(2):77-80. doi: 10.4103/0970-0218.40872.
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