Menstrual hygiene tips are as important as day to day care which should not be neglected. It serves as a way of preventing the spread of infection in the body. Menstrual hygiene is a practice that promotes health, wellness, and a sense of good feelings. It begins with the care of genitals, sanitary pads/ napkins, and the body as a whole.
Menstruation is a physiological process that begins at puberty. It occurs under the influence of hormone follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, estrogen, and progesterone. It is the monthly discharge of blood from the vagina as a result of unfertilized eggs and shedding of the endometrium layer of the uterus.
Every month one of the ovaries releases an egg with a process called ovulation, the released egg awaits fertilization in the ampulla of the fallopian tube, and the uterine lining also thicken in preparation for implantation of a fertilized egg. In the absence of sexual intercourse the egg dies and dissolves; shed alongside endometrial lining causing bleeding that lasts for 3-5 days and occasionally up to 7 days known as menstruation.
The menstrual flow varies and may be more or less at the beginning of menses or may change throughout the cycle. The color of the menstrual fluid varies between red, bright red, and dark brown to black. Menstrual fluid may or may not have unpleasant odor especially when it comes in contact with air or in the presence of underlined conditions.
Reasons to maintain good hygiene during menstruation
- To maintain reproductive health.
- To reduce the risk of urinary tract infection
The use of the unclean sanitary pad, napkin, or cloth, or for a longer time of over 4-6 hours provides a good environment for the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria. This bacteria then ascends to the urinary system resulting in lower abdominal pain, painful and peppery sensation while urinating, back pain, and fever.
- To reduce genital rashes
The use of damp sanitary napkins or not changed frequently can result in itching, painful rashes and discomfort, and infection.
- Minimizing the risk of reproductive tract: Reproductive tract infections can set in as a result of unhygienic practices
Here are the menstrual hygiene tips
1. Change sanitary pads or napkins every 4-6 hours to reduce the chance of having irritation, rashes or urinary tract infections
2. Wash your vagina regularly with warm water after changing the sanitary napkin or pad. Wash in the right way from front to back that is, from the vagina to anus and not vice-versa. Do not use soaps or vagina hygiene products as it can tamper with the natural process leading to infections and the growth of bacteria.
3. Use of reusable and washable Cloth Pads or napkins
They may be the affordable, easily available, and friendly sanitary option but must be hygienically washed and sundry. The sun’s heat serves as a natural sterilizer and drying the cloths/cloth pads under it sterilizes them for future use. They also need to be stored in a clean dry place for reuse to avoid contamination
4. Have a bath regularly during your menses to get relief from cramps and maintain cleanliness.
5. Use clean towels to dry off your vagina to prevent coming in contact with the bacteria that can hang around damp towels
6. Wash your hands before and after changing your pad, napkins or cloth pads
7. Dispose of sanitary napkin or pad properly. Disposing of sanitary pads properly prevents the spread of infection. Wrap them very well before discarding; do not flush as it may block the toilet sewer.