Menstruation is a healthy biological process of women and girls’ reproductive cycle, yet, culturally, it is still considered to be dirty and impure in various parts of the world. This makes menstruating girls and women often feel ashamed and embarrassed to talk about, which can negatively affect their health.
To break the silence around periods and raise awareness of the importance for women and girls to hygienically manage their menstruation, every year, May 28 is celebrated as World Menstrual Hygiene Day (MHD) across the globe.
Understanding how the process works and taking general measures during menstruation are extremely important. Any concern in your cycle should be consulted with a doctor.
Here are some basic hygiene measures every girl and woman should take during menstruation:
- Take a shower or bath at least once a day.
- Change pads or tampons regularly to prevent infections - it is advisable to change a sanitary pad once every six hours, for a tampon, it is every two hours.
- Opt for good sanitary pads - women with sensitive skin may avoid sanitary pads with plastic lining, as they can cause rashes, itchiness, and boils when rubbing against the skin.
- Use clean underwear and change it everyday.
- Do not use soaps or vaginal hygiene products to wash the genital area. Instead, clean the vaginal area using warm water regularly, after each use of toilet and even after urination. Washing the vagina with an intimate wash can kill the good bacteria making way for infections.
- Always pat the vaginal area dry after every wash, else it might cause irritation. Also, keep the area between the legs dry. Use antiseptic powder to help keep the area dry - preferably before wearing the pad and after washing the vagina
- Always wash or wipe the genitals from front to back. This is important because cleaning in the opposite direction can make way for bacteria from the anus to the vagina and urethral opening, leading to infection.
- Make sure that you wash your hands with warm water and soap after changing your pad/tampon/menstrual cup.
- Never flush used sanitary pad and tampons down the toilet as they can clog plumbing and cause the toilet to overflow. Discard them properly and throw them in the dustbin to prevent the spread of infections.
- Wear comfortable, loose clothing, rather than jeans or tight-fitting during periods. This will ensure air flow around the sensitive areas as well as prevent sweating to a large extent.
Maintaining proper menstrual hygiene is vital to the health, well-being, mobility, and productivity of women and girls.
This Menstrual Hygiene Day, break the silence around periods and learn to take care of your body, health, mind, and spirit during menstruation.