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Menstruation has, for long, been considered a taboo topic, creating more room for misconceptions and potentially dangerous consequences. Menstruation is vital for female health and fertility, so maintaining hygiene during this period is vital. Have you been doing everything right when it comes to menstrual hygiene? Think again!
Even some people who may be aware about menstrual hygiene can do with a reminder of the basic things to keep in mind during your periods!
Frequently wash your hands before and after changing sanitary products (pads, cups, or tampons). This is to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria and is basic hygiene.
When changing your menstrual product, ensure that you clean the genital region well. More specifically, move from the front to the back while wiping – from the vagina to the anus, because the other way around may spread bacteria, leading to yeast infections. Avoid using external chemicals to clean yourself as they may irritate the area that menstruation has already irritated.
Change your sanitary napkin/tampon every few hours. Ensure that it is changed every 4-6 hours at least because we cannot let the period collect in one place for too long. Products like menstrual cups and period underwear require washing and cleaning after every use.
For those that are not reusable – the disposable pads and tampons should always be wrapped in toilet paper/ tissue paper/disposable bags. They are not to be left in the open or thrown off incorrectly.
Along with the focus on products, other internal and external factors must be considered. Wearing light, cotton undergarments can help. Also, staying hydrated and eating healthy are equally important. So, ensure, specifically during this time, that you consume plenty of fluids.
The quality of products used ensures hygiene as well. Artificially scented products are not advisable to be used at this time because of the potential allergies/reactions they could cause. Tampons that aren’t as mainstream in India as sanitary napkins need to be bought from a company that makes low-absorbency tampons. Specific soaps and ‘cleaning products’ that claim to make the genital region clean and smell nice may damage the pH of the vagina.
Monitor yourself. Be it dates of period, types of flow and more as it would be helpful for your health check-ups. It is better to be safe than sorry, and more importantly, people can clear out whatever doubts and misconceptions they have through this chance to meet and learn from the expert.
While people could be shy to talk about menstrual hygiene early on when menstrual habits are forming, it is better to have these cleared out in one place. Ensure you are relying on valid sources and not hearsay that propagates dated taboos and notions. Agencies like Unicef focus on social support and a better understanding of the various options to deal with menstruation and materials for the same. Knowledge and education are the future here. We must do our bit for the same and spread the word in whatever capacity we can.
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