THE KNOW HOW
MENSTRUATION - A phenomenon that is unique to girls has always been surrounded by taboos and myths. In many parts of the country, especially in rural areas, girls aren’t prepared or are often unaware of menstruation or menstrual hygiene. Due to this, they often face difficulties at home, school, or even workplaces. The menstrual cycle often brings about some uncomfortable symptoms to many, commonly known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and encompasses issues such as fatigue or mild cramping, which usually disappear when the period begins.
Whether it’s your first period or you’ve been having them for years, menstrual hygiene management does raise some questions in mind. Read on to find answers to your questions and important tips on maintaining menstrual hygiene during periods –
- ONE AT A TIME PLEASE
On a day when the flow is extremely heavy during periods, some women choose to use two sanitary pads together, or a tampon and a sanitary pad together, or even two tampons. This would look like a sure-fire way to prevent leaking, but this makes you forget to change your pad or tampon at regular and healthy intervals. This can lead to rashes, infections, and in the case of tampons even TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome).
- KEEPING IT CLEAN & FREE FROM PAD RASHES!
Wash your genitals and bottom part once a day, irrespective of the fact whether you have periods or not. This includes the area around your vagina (vulva), anus, and in between. During red days, blood around the intimate area can create a favourable breeding environment for bacteria to grow, so make sure to wash at least twice during periods. Do not clean inside your vagina, as it cleans itself with normal discharge. Wash your intimate areas using a mild un perfumed soap with water as it doesn’t alter the pH levels down there. Don’t use female intimate wash products during periods as the chemicals present in them can hamper the natural process, often leading to infections and the growth of bacteria.
- TIME FOR CHANGE
Roaming the entire day without a pad change isn’t advisable. Blood gets contaminated with organisms once it leaves the body and when these organisms from the vagina combined with sweat from the genitals stay trapped in a warm and moist place for a long time, they tend to multiply and often lead to conditions like urinary tract infection, vaginal infections, and skin rashes. The standard time to change sanitary pads for a mild flow is between 4-6 hours and 2-3 hours in case the flow is more. The time can be altered as per one’s convenience but make sure to change within the stipulated 4-6 hour time even if the flow is minimal. The same rule doesn’t hold good when you sleep at night for a good 8 hours. While asleep, your bodily functions slow down, and the bleeding intensity decreases, so you can safely wear the pad (not tampons) and sleep through the night.
- CARRY EXTRA UNDERWEAR
This tip doesn’t often cross one’s mind but carrying an extra pair of underwear comes in handy in case the one you’re wearing gets stained. Moreover, wearing stained underwear for prolonged periods could cause infections. Take utmost care of the fitment and material of the underwear. Fabric that doesn’t allow your skin to breathe will also lead to infections.
- WASH YOUR HANDS – BEFORE AND AFTER
Most women wash their hands after they put on their pad or insert a tampon but often forget to wash their hands before touching the pad or tampon. This prevents bacteria on our hands from getting transferred to the pad and causing infections when the pad comes in contact with the vagina.
- BATHE REGULARLY
In the olden days, women had to bathe in the open or common water bodies, like a river or lake. To deter this, some people passed on the belief of not bathing during periods. With the bathrooms becoming enclosed spaces inside our homes, bathing during periods shouldn’t be an issue. Bathing regularly not just cleanses your body but is also the only time one gets to thoroughly clean the private parts. Just a couple of minutes under a warm shower will relieve backaches, menstrual cramps and uplift your mood.
- ON THE MOVE
While on the move, make sure to carry extra pads or tampons in a clean bag or pouch, an anti- pad-rash gel or anti-chafing gel or cream, a couple of tissues or a towel, hand sanitizer, some healthy snacks in case you feel weak, and a bottle of drinking water to keep yourself hydrated through the day.
- DISCARD THE PAD
Make sure to discard the sanitary pads or tampons properly. Always wrap them properly and throw them into a designated bin to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and infection. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after disposing of the pad or tampon.
- EAT HEALTHY
Try to follow a balanced and nutritious diet plan, especially during periods. Keep yourself well hydrated by drinking up at least 4 to 6 litres of water in a day.
- SAY YES TO CONDOM – The likelihood of a woman getting pregnant during the initial days of bleeding is nearly zero, but you’re more likely to get a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or pelvic inflammatory disease because the cervix gets slightly dilated during periods.
Periods and menstrual hygiene can get arduous to manage. However, these cardinal rules will help you stay healthy and manage your period better.
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Say YES to Rash-free Periods!
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