Just when you think your period can’t get any worse, life shows you how oblivious to its real potential you actually are. You may have your hands full with excruciating cramps, headaches, mood swings, discomfort, and fatigue during your period, but there’s yet another problem that can make those five days even more difficult to survive. I am talking about your itchy vagina, courtesy your sanitary napkins and tampons.
Basically, if the medical examination has already ruled out sexually-transmitted diseases, bacterial, and/or yeast infections as reasons for your behind an itchy vagina during your period, then maybe it’s time to start suspecting those pads.
Yes, those sanitary napkins and tampons can be your worst period nightmares
According to a review published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, contact dermatitis due to the use of sanitary napkins is real. Basically, when the skin—especially on the vulva (the external part of the vagina) comes in contact with something irritating in your sanitary napkins, it can result in itchiness and discomfort. This condition is also called vulvitis and can be a really tricky one to deal with.
But why are sanitary napkins such a pain?
A recent report by Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE), a non-profit organization, attributes the itchiness to the use of allergy-causing chemicals in many feminine hygiene products.
The pads we use go through extensive chemical treatment so as to make them more absorbent. In fact, manufacturers don’t shy away from using powerful adhesives to prevent the pad from moving from its place and causing blood stains.
A study published in PubMed Central found that 0.7% cases of vaginal rashes and irritation is caused due to the adhesives used at the back of sanitary napkins.
Not to mention, the fragrances used to mask the smell of period blood aren’t very vagina friendly either. Combine them all and you’ll get the recipe for an irritated vagina.
Another thing to take into account here is the fact that friction caused due to the pad can also contribute to the discomfort, rashes, and itchiness.
So, how can you deal with this mess?
Obviously, you can’t stop using sanitary napkins during your period. But you can always opt for the ones without the added fragrance. Switching to a menstrual cup can make your situation better as can changing your pad more frequently.
In fact, opting for cotton-based sanitary napkins and wearing non-clingy, breathable underwears can help reduce sweat, irritation, and friction. Finally, wash your vagina thoroughly and keep the area dry to avoid it from becoming itchy. Lastly, if the itchiness is beyond control, don’t shy away from seeing a gynaecologist.