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Menstruation is a monthly biological process that takes place within a woman’s body. To be more specific, one can define menstruation as the shedding of blood along with the inner uterine wall tissues in the absence of the occurrence of a potential pregnancy. People often address menstruation as periods which indicates the recurrence of it every month. Menstruation may last from three to six days on average, and this count may vary from person to person.
Notable changes during menstruation
Women may experience distinct symptoms during this monthly cycle: menstrual cramps, back pain, nausea, etc. Apart from the physical pain, the hormonal changes within the body may also affect the person’s emotional stability. Menstruation may result in mood swings, otherwise referred to as premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Why is menstrual hygiene important?
Improper menstrual hygiene can cause reproductive tract infections, further leading to adverse health conditions like infertility, stillbirth, cervical cancer, preterm labor, miscarriage, pelvic inflammatory disease, etc. But why take the risk. As we all know, prevention is better than cure; the answer to why menstrual hygiene management is critical seems obvious now.
Wash with care
Make sure your hands are washed properly before cleaning your vaginal area to get rid of the germs. Washing your vagina with much care is extremely important, especially on days when you are on your periods. As soon as your take off your menstrual hygiene product from use, be it sanitary napkins, menstrual cups, or even tampons, make sure you place your hands in motion from the vagina to anus and not vice versa. The latter can cause the transmission of bacteria into the vaginal tract, which may further cause serious infections.
Sanitize the menstrual hygiene products
The choice of the menstrual hygiene product may vary from person to person based on their comfort and ease of using it. Whatever be it, always ensure that you follow the proper guidelines mentioned before and after using them. For instance, if you are using a sanitary pad, change it every 4 to 6 hours on an average scale, the minimum duration you must use the sanitary pad despite the low blood flow.
It is because menstrual blood can have the potency to attract various microorganisms, and the warmth of the blood is in favor of their multiplication in number. If not taken care of, it will result in irritations and skin rashes. Exceptions do exist. Women with increased blood flow can change them accordingly.
Another example is the use of menstrual cups. Due to the convenience and cost-effectiveness of the product, menstrual cups have been used widely in recent times. While using a menstrual cup, please make sure that you cleanse the cup by submerging it in boiled water for about 5 to 10 minutes after you, which you must sanitize them using water and an oil-free soap to get rid of all the germs and bacteria.
Say no to vaginal hygiene products during menstruation
Using hygiene products to clean your vagina is a good practice, but on days when you have periods. Manufactured products can hinder the natural cleansing mechanism of the vagina during menstruation which may further cause infections in the respective area.
Menstrual hygiene calls for the safe disposal of sanitary accessories. Take responsibility from the start till the end. Once you have finished using the sanitary napkins or tampons, ensure safe removal to avoid all favorable conditions for the bacteria to grow. Be it the institution you work for, the school you study in, the home you live in, or any public toilets you use, wrap the pads in paper and tape them again, then discard them by the disposal criteria in the respective places.
The stigma around menstruation has been a prevailing thought that ruled the Indian minds over recent times. Having raised the awareness to normalize it, many people have come to the forefront to voice their predicaments and struggles regarding the same. According to a report published by NGO Dasra titled ‘Spot on,’ nearly 23 million girls drop out of school annually due to the lack of menstrual hygiene facilities.
Another amusing fact is that almost 50,000 girls out of 100,000 girls were unaware of menstruation when they got their 1st periods, according to a study titled “Menstrual hygiene management among adolescent girls in India.” The lack of knowledge about menstrual hygiene and its hygiene practices can affect women’s lives both physically and mentally. Therefore, share with your female friends, sisters, mothers, and partners how important this is to safeguard their future.