Although menstruation is a biological process, it is necessary to ensure personal hygiene during these days. But unfortunately, in our daily life, while activities such as brushing, bathing, and wearing clean clothes are a given, we tend to forget intimate hygiene.
Physical health and personal hygiene are an integral part of a woman’s well-being, especially during periods. Thankfully, many of us are lucky enough to have access to clean water and an extensive range of affordable menstrual products.
We receive a lot of questions regarding hygiene during menses, which helps us determine some of the most common mistakes women are making in the process.
So next time when you are on your periods, take notes of these tips:
1. Avoid Using Scented Tampons, Pads, Or Toilet Paper
It’s a sensitive environment down there and using scented feminine products can upset the balance of power between good and harmful bacteria.
An overgrowth of harmful bacteria could cause itching, irritation, infection or an allergic reaction. These can be very vexatious to your skin and might even cause burn-like symptoms.
So make sure all of your products are fragrance-free and don’t contain additives, such as aloe. For some, organic products might be a suitable pick as they don’t contain pesticides or other similar chemicals.
2. Consume A Balanced Diet
Your menstrual cycle and the food you eat have a complementary relationship. Your diet can impact your reproductive health, while menstruation affects your need and use of micronutrients (i.e. vitamins and minerals).
However, a balanced and nutritious diet during your periods is of utmost importance. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking at least four to six litres of water. It will ensure there is no bloating and swelling sensation that comes with hormonal fluctuation.
Also, don’t forget to eat foods that decrease inflammation in the body and assist in taming menstrual cramps. These can include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts.
3. Track Your Period
Your menstrual cycle is a valuable indicator of your overall health. In fact, various conditions like diabetes, celiac disease, thyroid dysfunction, and even some cancers can present irregular menses.
Thanks to the FemX app, you can now easily keep track of not just your menstrual cycle, but also your moods, physical symptoms and even food cravings at that specific time of your month.
However, there are also many other resources available to help you track your period. So it would be best for you to consult with your OB/GYN.
4. Change Your Tampon Frequently
When released from the body, menstrual blood attracts various organisms from our bodies, multiplying the blood’s warmth and causing rashes, irritation, or urinary tract infections. Changing your tampon or sanitary napkin regularly restricts the growth of these organisms and prevents infections.
According to the FDA, you should change your tampon/sanitary napkin every four to eight hours. If you leave a tampon inside you for more than eight hours, the risk is toxic shock syndrome – a potentially lethal and rare infection that spreads to the bloodstream. It also happens more frequently in women who use more absorbent super tampons.
5. Dispose Of Your Sanitary Napkins Properly
Make sure to properly wrap your tampons and sanitary napkins before you throw them away, so the bacteria and infections do not spread.
DO NOT flush them. It will clog the toilet causing the water to back up, spreading the bacteria all over it.
After you have wrapped and dumped the used tampons and sanitary napkins, washing your hands is of utmost importance (since you are likely to touch the stained area while covering them).
6. Clean Reusable/Cloth Pads Properly
There are various sanitary napkins out there that can be reused for several menstrual cycles. If you use one of these, make sure that you clean them thoroughly after each use to have no germs and infection scope. Also, ensure not to reuse them after the said number of uses.
7. Wear Clean And Comfy Undergarments
While changing your tampon or sanitary napkin is important, it is also essential to wear something comfortable during these days. Tight thongs or underwear made of fabric that doesn’t let your skin breathe will lead to various infections. So, ensure wearing clean and comfortable cotton knickers that do not stick to your skin.
8. Don’t Wash Your Vagina And Vulva Too Thoroughly
Washing your vagina and vulva too thoroughly can throw off your pH balance, leaving you more vulnerable to bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. Try using a feminine oral probiotic if you think you are prone to these infections.
Wash the vagina and vulva with water alone, and the groin with a perfume-free natural soap. Additionally, it’s crucial to remember vaginal discharge will fluctuate throughout both your menstrual cycle and your life. Sometimes there will be more, and sometimes there will be less. Hence, it is not always a worrisome sign.
9. Rest And Catch Up On Sleep
During your menstruation cycle, your body’s working overtime, and it needs a break in the form of sleep. Or else, you will be more anxious, crankier and likely to eat junk. So, don’t be a warrior and push through the pain, relax. This is just your body’s way of telling you to rest as your period goes on.
You can read in bed, nap, indulge your love for desserts and chocolate, and do all the things you don’t have the time for otherwise.
10. Contact A Specialist
Unquestionably, menstrual hygiene is an intrinsic part of your monthly cycle. And fortunately, there are quality feminine hygiene products in the market that can be used for this purpose.
You usually don’t need treatment for irregular periods unless they bother you or stem from a medical condition. Contact a specialist if you have any of the following symptoms:
- If you get your period more often than every 21 days.
- If you miss three or more periods a year.
- In case there is any abnormal smell or change in flow or colour of discharge or menstrual flow.
We all may know that menses is a natural part of the reproductive cycle. Still, in many developing countries, the lack of information about menstrual hygiene forms a culture of misinformation and taboos about menstruation and potential health risks like vaginal infections.
However, taking care of yourself during menstruation is vital for taking care of your day-to-day activities. A little carelessness in menstrual hygiene management can cause your grievous body harm.