Handy Tips on Menstrual Hygiene
Recently I was talking to the Founder of SheWings, Mr. Madan Bharadwaj.
SheWings is a Social Movement Foundation working towards spreading awareness about menstrual health among homeless, low-income women and teens.
He told me a disturbing story.
While his team was distributing sanitary napkins in a village, a mother of 3 daughters told the lady member of the SheWings team that in her household of 4 females, they have only three undergarments, which they share among themselves on a rotation basis. The girl/girls/mother having the period, gets to wear the undergarment while others go sans any.
It gave me Goosebumps. Shudders!
Of’course, in their case the reason for this arrangement is lack of money more than ignorance about the subject of menstrual hygiene.
But, even in the urban and educated segment, awareness about maintaining sanitation during and around the period is deficient.
Remember, not maintaining menstrual hygiene can up the risks of UTIs.
Enlisting below some imperative personal hygiene tips you must follow during menstruation.
Change the pad every four hours
If you use sanitary pads (or tampon) during your periods, change it often. Often as in, every 3-4 hours on the first two (or three) days when the flow is heavy. Later, depending upon the requirement, thrice a day should be good. Do not wear the same pad for more than eight hours.
Keep vaginal area clean
Women are slightly more vulnerable to bacterial infection due to the change in the vagina’s pH balance during menstruation. And so, washing the genital area twice a day not only means being confident that you smell fine, but also that you aren’t at risk of infections.
Although the vagina has a self-cleaning mechanism, still to feel fresh, you can clean the vulval area with lukewarm water and diluted soap.
Prefer not to use perfumed shower gels, bubble baths or soaps as they have a drying effect on the delicate mucous membranes of vagina. They upset and interfere the normal pH balance.
Use the right washing technique
Always wash the vaginal area from the vagina to the anus and not the other way around as washing in the opposite direction can cause the bacteria from the anus to come in contact with the vagina and urethral opening, which can lead to infections.
(Read What You ‘SHOULD’ & ‘SHOULD NOT’ Do During Period here)
Discard the sanitary pad appropriately
Discarding used napkins and tampons properly is extremely important as they are capable of spreading infections. It is advisable to not flush the pad/tampon down the toilet as they can clog the system. Wrap it properly before discarding it.
These days there are paper bags available to be used specifically for the disposal of used pads and tampons. Easily available online. Or you can buy a bunch of plain brown paper bags which are available at stationary shops. Make sure to seal the edge of the bag to avoid spilling of the content in the trash.
Correct way of disposal
Step 1 – Fold the used sanitary pad in half to cover the menstrual blood, leaving only the adhesive side of the pad exposed.
Step 2 – Wrap a few layers of toilet paper or newspaper around the sanitary pad to keep the folded pad closed. Place the wrapped sanitary pad inside a small plastic or paper bag. For this you can also use the wrapper that belongs to your next sanitary pad.
Step 3 – Discard the wrapped sanitary pad in a trash can that is out of reach of pets.
Step 4 – Wash your hands with soap and warm water.
Read more of ‘Period Talk’ Series articles here –