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Hygiene during menstrual periods: 10 things you should know

How did you react when you saw your period for the very first time?

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Sister Nadi
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Hygiene during menstrual periods: 10 things you should know

Unread post by Sister Nadi » Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:14 pm

When a girl has a period for the first time, it is a distinct step into womanhood. But with the onset of puberty comes a number of concerns, like ‘How to use a sanitary napkin effectively?’, ‘How to stay clean during those days?’ and, ‘How to deal with your changing body? There are some households that believe in a number of myths surrounding a girl’s periods and most of them are based on the fact that the girl is ‘unclean’ during those days.

This belief stems from a time when women did not have the sanitary measures we have today. They would use old cloth as napkins and often had to wash and reuse them, apart from that they did not have access to running water and the kind of soaps we have today. All this along with a misguided understanding of a woman’s body and its method of functioning has lead to a large number of myths like not going near a holy place, not being allowed into the kitchen to even absolute seclusion during those days of the month. Times have changed and so have we. So, here are some tips to help you stay clean and hygienic during your periods.

1. Choose your method of sanitation:


As a first step, choose the right method for sanitation during your periods. Today there are a number of ways including the use of sanitary napkins, tampons and menstrual cups to stay clean. In Nigeria, most unmarried girls prefer to use sanitary napkins. If you do decide to use a tampon remember that it is essential to choose one that has the lowest absorbency rate for your flow. During this time it is essential to realise that it does take time for one to get used to using a sanitary pad or tampon. There are chances that you may have stains or may not choose the right kind of napkin for you, but know that it is a trial and error method and you will find one that suits you, your menstrual flow and your body type. While there are some women who choose to use either different types of sanitary napkins on different days of their periods or different methods of protection (like a tampon and a sanitary napkin), there are some who prefer to stick to one type and brand. The best tip here is to try and use one brand for one type of protection, for a while to know if it helps your needs. Frequent switching between brands can make you uncomfortable since brands are as unique as you, they suit everyone differently.

Why is it important?

It is probably the most important aspect of a girl’s period, since it helps you stay comfortable, prevents staining and keeps you clean and dry throughout the day. Read about more tips to maintain vaginal hygiene.

2. Change regularly:

It is important to change your sanitary pad, tampon or menstrual cup regularly. The standard time for a sanitary pad is once every six hours, while for a tampon is once every two hours. That being said, you have to customize the changing schedule to your needs. While some women might have a heavy flow and would need to change more often, others will need to change less frequently. There are a few instances where your sanitary napkin or tampon might not be completely used – usually on days when you have a lesser flow – but you must change at regular intervals.

Why is it important?

Sanitary napkins are made of cotton wool and gel. When you bleed into one, most of the blood gets soaked in, but at a certain point the pad gets saturated and may leak. Another consideration is that menstrual blood – once it has left the body – gets contaminated with the body’s innate organisms. This rule applies for even those days when you don’t have much bleeding, since your pad is still damp and will have organisms from your vagina, sweat from your genitals, etc. When these organisms remain in a warm and moist place for a long time they tend to multiply and can lead to conditions like urinary tract infection, vaginal infections and skin rashes. Therefore changing is essential.

In the case of tampons it is very important because, if left inserted into the vagina for long periods of time it can cause a condition called TSS or toxic shock syndrome – a condition where bacteria infiltrate the body leading to severe infection that can send to the body into shock – that requires emergent treatment and can lead to serious complications and even death. Read about how you can get freedom from vaginal infections.

3. Wash yourself regularly:

It is important to wash your vagina and labia (has two parts – the labia majora and labia minora –both are soft flesh projections surrounding the outer and inner area of the genitals) well before you change into a new pad. If you cannot wash yourself before you change make sure to wipe off the areas using toilet paper or tissue.

Why it is important?

When you menstruate, the blood tends to enter tiny spaces like the skin between your labia or crust around the opening of the vagina and you should always wash this excess blood away. This practice also tends to beat bad odour from the vaginal region.

4. Don’t use soaps or vaginal hygiene products

While it is important to wash yourself regularly during this time, all you need to use is some warm water. You can use soap on the external parts but do not use it inside your vagina or vulva.

Why it is important?

The vagina has its own cleaning mechanism that works in a very fine balance of good and bad bacteria. Washing it with soap can kill the good bacteria making way for infections.

5. Use the right washing technique:

Always wash or clean the area in a motion that is from the vagina to the anus. Never wash in the opposite direction.

Why it is important?

Washing in the opposite direction can cause bacteria from the anus to lodge in the vagina and urethral opening, leading to infections. Read about urinary tract infections.


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Sister Nadi
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Re: Hygiene during menstrual periods: 10 things you should k

Unread post by Sister Nadi » Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:15 pm

6. Discard your used sanitary product properly

Whether you are using a sanitary napkin, tampon or menstrual cup, it is important to know how to dispose of it correctly. Always wrap the used product in waste paper or put it in a plastic bag. Properly wrap it so that it does not open and discard it in a dustbin meant for used sanitary products. Most places have this provision, if not discard it in a bin that is available. Do not throw it without a wrapping or bag, do not leave it on the window sill or on the floor of the toilet and finally, never flush it down the toilet.

Also remember to wash your hands well after you change your sanitary pad, tampon or menstrual cup.

Why it is important?


It is essential to discard your used napkins or tampons properly because they are capable of spreading infections, will smell very foul and is just disgusting for the person using the washroom after you. Wrapping it well before discarding it ensures that the smell and infection is contained. It is advised not to flush the pad or tampon down the toilet since they are capable of forming a block and can cause the toilet to back up. More importantly it is imperative that you wash your hands well after you discard your used napkin since you are likely to touch the used portion of the pad or tampon while discarding it. Apart from that public or commonly used toilets are dirty, even if they look clean. This is because while one can clean the toilet bowl and seat, he/she will not be able to clean the door handle, the lock knob, the tap faucet, flush knob etc. All these objects are touched by people who have visited the washroom and are capable of transferring harmful organisms that could not only lead to infections down there, but also other diseases like diarrhoea, typhoid etc.

7. Deal with a pad rash with care

A pad rash is something that you might experience during a period of heavy flow. It usually occurs when the pad has been wet for a long time and rubs along the thighs causing it to chaff. To prevent this from occurring, try to stay dry during your periods. If you do have a rash, change your pads regularly and stay dry. Apply an antiseptic ointment, after a bath and before bed – this will heal the rash and prevent further chaffing. If it gets worse do visit your doctor who will be able to prescribe you a medicated powder that can keep the area dry.

Why it is important?


Pad rashes can be extremely uncomfortable and painful. In some cases they may get infected and lead to a more severe condition. Moreover constant pad rashes tend to stain the area causing it to darken.

8. Use only one method of sanitation during your periods

Some women who have a heavy flow during their periods tend to use two sanitary pads or a tampon and sanitary pad or a sanitary pad along with a piece of cloth. This might seem like a good idea, but it actually is not, changing regularly is a better option.

Why it is important?


Using two pads or a tampon and a sanitary pad is bad because the two pads absorb the blood and you don’t see that they are completely used up you are unlikely to change at regular and healthy intervals. This can lead to rashes, infections and in the case of tampons even TSS. Another consideration is that if one does use a piece of cloth as extra protection that cloth may not be the cleanest thing to put next to your private parts. Lastly, the whole two pad structure is extremely uncomfortable and can leave you with a bad rash and an even worse temper.

9. Have a bath regularly

To some it may seem like the most inane advice, but in some cultures it is believed that a woman should not bathe during her periods. This myth was based on the fact that in the olden days women had to bathe in the open or in common water bodies like a river or lake. But with indoor plumbing having a bath is the best thing you can do for your body during your periods.

Why it is important?

Bathing not only cleanses your body but also gives you a chance to clean your private parts well. It also helps relieve menstrual cramps, backaches, helps improve your mood and makes you feel less bloated. To get some relief from backaches and menstrual cramps, just stand under a shower of warm water that is targeted towards your back or abdomen. You will feel much better at the end of it.

10. Be ready with on-the-go stuff during your periods

When you have your periods it is important to be ready. It is important to have extra sanitary pads or tampons properly stored in a clean pouch or paper bag, a soft towel, some paper tissues or towels, hand sanitizer, a healthy snack, bottle of drinking water, a tube of antiseptic medication (if you are using one).

Why it is important?

Changing your pads/ tampons regularly is essential, so you will need extra. More importantly storing them properly so that they don’t get contaminated is as important as changing. Pads or tampons that remain in your bag without a clean pouch to protect it can also lead to infections like UTI (urinary tract infection) or vaginal infections. The soft towel can be used to wipe your hands or face if you wash them. Paper towels are the important to wipe off the excess water after you wash your private parts. It is best you don’t use toilet paper for this as it tends to shred and tear when it touches water. Your hand sanitizer is a very important factor here. You will need it to clean your hands and you can use it to clean the flush knob and tap faucet as well. The snack is a backup in case you feel weak or run down during the day and the bottle of water is to help you stay hydrated throughout the day.

It is important to understand that periods are a sign of fertility and good health. Shunning it and the woman who is having it will only lead to depression and a sense of self loathing in the girl.

Image source: coppetta-mestruale.it
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JohnBrice
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Re: Hygiene during menstrual periods: 10 things you should k

Unread post by JohnBrice » Mon Apr 20, 2015 1:08 pm

Necessary cleaning is very best way to avoid any discomforts that usually happen in this period not only that also it make you feel better and it helps you to stay away from any diseases too.

Maupe
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Re: Hygiene during menstrual periods: 10 things you should know

Unread post by Maupe » Fri Aug 12, 2016 2:14 pm

Managing your menstrual flow and prevent menstrual fluid from soiling the clothes and beddings.

Eating a balanced diet to provide the body essential nutrients.

Maintaining an active lifestyle while avoiding stress and tension.

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