The endless menstrual taboos have kept a lot of menstruators in dark about the essential menstrual practices. A huge majority of people in India are still unaware of ‘life-saving’ menstrual hygiene practices and the risks associated without the same.

Did you know that lack of proper menstrual hygiene is the fifth largest killer of women in India (SOURCE – INDIA TIMES)? That is what we mean by life-saving. Now you know why you should keep reading…

Through this article we hope to shed some light on these practices so that you can menstruate the right way!

A few of the major risks of having poor menstrual hygiene are:

INFECTION OF THE REPRODUCTIVE TRACT: The skin, especially around the vaginal area, is highly permeable. Therefore, when contaminated products are used to contain menstrual blood, they act as breeding grounds for several bacteria. This leads the person to be very susceptible to infections of the reproductive tract.

INCREASED RISK OF CERVICAL CANCER: Cervical cancer is cancer of the uterine opening which is dominantly caused by the Human Papilloma Virus. It was found that nearly 1,32,000 Indian women are diagnosed with cervical cancer per year. Cervical cancer can be prevented completely by proper menstrual hygiene.

YEAST INFECTIONS: Candidiasis is a yeast infection which can be caused by poor menstrual hygiene. Vulvovaginal candidiasis (yeast infection in the vagina) can affect 75% of women in the reproductive stage and is mostly asymptomatic (presents no symptoms).

You can treat these few steps as your guide to flawless menstrual hygiene:

CHANGE YOUR SANITARY NAPKIN EVERY 4-6 HOURS: Changing sanitary pads or tampons every 4 – 6 hours is the key rule to establish vaginal hygiene. When menstrual blood is released from the body, it attracts various microscopic bacteria and viruses which multiply and cause irritation, rashes or urinary and reproductive tract infections. Regularly and periodically changing your sanitary pad curbs the growth of these microscopic organisms.

DISCARD THE SANITARY NAPKIN PROPERLY: Disposing your tampons and sanitary napkins properly is a very important step. Wrapping the napkin properly is vital as it prevents the spread of bacteria. Make sure to thoroughly wash your hands after you have properly disposed of the napkin.

DO NOT USE MORE THAN ONE PAD AT A TIME: In this case more is not good. Some women who experience heavy flow sometimes tend to use two sanitary pads at once to control the flow and prevent staining of clothes. This however is a bad idea as it provides a nesting ground for bacteria and other micro-organisms to breed and multiply, exposing you to a higher risk of infection. It is much more advisable to only use one and change it regularly.

MAKE SURE YOU WASH THE AREA REGULARLY: Washing the vaginal area regularly is a must as the microbes stick to your body after removing the sanitary pads and exposes you to a higher chance of infection. Hence make sure to wash the area regularly.

Apart from exponentially reducing many health risks, practicing menstrual hygiene also helps lift up your mood during your periods. The best way to put this is, ‘be sanitary for your sanity!’

“Cleanliness is next to godliness”

As cliché as this proverb sounds, it is the best way to stress on how religiously you should practice proper menstrual hygiene!

| By Kaizan Kabrajee |

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