Menstruation, also known as periods, is when tissues and blood from the uterus come out of the vagina. Usually starting between ages 12 and 14, it occurs every month and helps your body prepare for pregnancy. You need to take extra care for menstrual hygiene to avoid catching infections, bad odour, and discomfort.
There are a few simple practices you should follow.
Replace your pads at regular intervals to avoid bad odour and prevent infections.
Keep the upper legs and vulva dry.
Wash the vulva thoroughly with water but make sure not to use any soap, deodorant, and cosmetic product near or inside the vagina. It will only increase the risk of catching infections.
Always wash your hands with soap or hand-wash gel before and after using a menstrual-hygiene product.
There are many products available that you can use during periods. Sanitary napkins, tampons, and menstrual cups are some of the commonly used products. You can choose any product but make sure you follow the usage guidelines to stay clean and infection-free.
Sanitary napkins: Easily available at any medical shop and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You need to consider certain things before you choose a pad. The materials used, odour control feature, the length and flow of the period, absorbency, and your lifestyle. Sanitary napkins must be changed every 4-6 hours. After each use of the toilet, make sure that the genitals are dry. Absorption pads should also be replaced since the gel can react with the blood and invite infections and rashes.
Tampons: These can be used by inserting them inside the vagina and have a string attached to it to pull them out when needed. They absorb the flow and prevent it from flowing outside. They’re a good option if you have an active lifestyle. They should be replaced every 4-6 hours and must never be worn overnight as they can cause the bacteria to get inside the body and release toxins.
Menstrual cups: As the name suggests, the cups help in collecting the period blood. They are inserted into the vagina after disinfecting them thoroughly in boiling water for about 20 minutes. They can be worn overnight as well and once filled with period flow, they can be removed, emptied, washed, and then re-inserted.
Cloth: Though not advisable, treat this as a last resort. A simple piece of cloth works but make sure the area around the vulva is dry to prevent infections.
Disposing of menstrual hygiene products is as crucial as their correct usage. Make sure used sanitary napkins and tampons are wrapped in their packing or a piece of paper and are then disposed of in a bin. Menstrual cups are reusable but have to be disinfected before and after every cycle.
Despite using products, it is possible that some of the flow comes out of the vagina and stain your clothes. It’s completely normal! However, prevent foul odour by following the practices mentioned earlier. You can engage in sex but make sure you remove tampons and cups as they may get pushed inside. To deal with the flow, you can spread an old cloth or a towel. Also, do not forget to ask your partner to wear a condom as passing STDs is easier during periods.
Entering into womanhood is a beautiful phase. Simple measures like washing your hands, using the right products, and proper disposal can make your period, a happy and safe period!