In spite of being a most important issue concerning women and adolescent girls, menstrual hygiene is the most neglected issue. Menstruation is considered a taboo subject to be talked about in front of anyone and everyone in the society, and even women feel uncomfortable discussing it in public. More than 70% of females consider menstruation dirty.
Menstrual hygiene is vital to the well-being of girls and women. Menstrual hygiene is an important part of basic hygiene, reproductive health of a female and sanitation.
Menstruation is a vital process in a female’s body, which demands utmost care and caution. There are a few menstrual hygiene measures, which if followed well, ensure safe and happy periods.
5 Important Steps of Menstrual Hygiene Management
Step-1: Changing The Sanitary Napkin/Pad Every 4 to 6 Hours
Changing the sanitary napkin every 4 hours is the most important rule and the primary step towards menstrual hygiene management. Menstrual blood attracts various organisms, which multiply and lead to irritation, rashes and urinary tract infection. Changing the sanitary napkin or tampons every 4 to 6 hours, help curb the growth of the organisms; thereby preventing infection.
Step-2: Avoid Soap or Vagina Hygiene Products
Vagina has its own cleansing mechanism during the menstrual cycles, which gets hampered if any hygiene product is used during menstrual period. These products hamper the normal natural cleansing process of the vagina leading to infection and bacterial growth. Vaginal hygiene products are otherwise healthy and good to be used every day other than the menstruation period.
Step-3: Clean Yourself Properly
Keeping the vaginal area clean is very important. After removing the sanitary napkin, the vaginal area if not cleaned properly can lead to the bacteria to cling to the body, causing infection. The vagina should be cleaned in a right way i.e. from vagina towards the anus, not vice versa. If it is cleaned from anus to vagina, then the bacteria from the anus can lead to infection in the vagina. The water used for cleaning the vagina should also be clean.
Step-4: Disposing of the Sanitary Napkin Properly
After removing the sanitary napkin, it should be made sure that it is properly disposed of. The sanitary napkin should be wrapped properly and thrown in the garbage bin to avoid the spread of infection. This is an extremely important step of menstrual hygiene management. The sanitary pad should not be flushed, as it leads to blocking of the toilet and thus spreading the bacteria all over. Hands should be washed properly after disposing of the sanitary napkin.
Step-5: Follow Single Sanitation Method
Most females tend to use a tampon and sanitary napkin together or 2 sanitary napkins together to prevent cloth stain. This can become a reason for infection. The sanitary napkins should be changed frequently instead of using two at the same time, during a heavy flow. The accumulated blood can invite the bacteria and cause infection. It is important that females follow this step in menstrual hygiene management.
Menstruation is a natural part of reproductive life and the knowledge of menstrual hygiene management is important to ensure cleanliness, prevent infection, and other health risks to a woman. Even though rare, there is a possibility of developing cervical cancer because of poor hygiene during menstrual periods. Which is why, in case you develop an infection or feel uncomfortable during your period, consult a gynaecologist immediately.
Menstrual hygiene is really important not a taboo. It should be well talked about with both the genders of the society so that one feels free to live during this period and the other also allowed to live freely.