Menstruation is one of the vital processes which deserves hygiene, self care and eating right to ease the pain. This helps to protect intimate health from bacterial infections, skin irritations and other health issues boosting confidence, self-esteem and ensures comfort during the menstruating period. Read on for some tips to maintain hygiene during your cycle.
The cardinal rule to establish vaginal hygiene is changing of sanitary napkins or tampons every 2-4 or 4-6 hours depending upon how heavy your flow is. Menstrual blood gets contaminated with the body's innate organisms and causes irritation, bad odor, rashes or urinary tract infections. There may be instances where your sanitary napkin or tampon might not be completely used, usually on days when you have a lesser flow but still change it at regular intervals to prevent infections. This is very important in the case of tampons because if left inserted into the vagina for long periods of time it can cause a condition called TSS or Toxic Shock Syndrome a condition where bacteria infiltrates the body, leading to severe infection which can send the body into shock, serious complications or even death.
Regular washing of vagina and labia (the projecting part of female genitals) twice a day is needed even when you are not on your period. But during periods due to changing PH levels women are more prone to bacterial infections. It is extremely important to wash yourselves using the right technique, before changing a new pad. Wash yourself using your hands in motion from the vagina to the anus, not vice-versa as that will transmit the bacteria from the anus into the vagina or urethra opening leading to more infections.
Avoid using vaginal hygiene products during menses – as these chemicals can disrupt the natural flora of the vagina leading to infections and growth of bacteria. The vagina is self-cleaning so avoid douching (washing the inside of your vagina). So, it is important to wash yourself just using some warm water. You can use soap on the external parts only.
During periods to get some relief stand under the shower to relieve menstrual cramps, backaches, feel less bloated and can help improve your mood. Just stand under a shower of warm water that is targeted towards your back or abdomen to feel better at the end of it. Change underwear daily and even more often if they are getting soiled during your period. Opt for cotton underwear, as they are absorbent and more breathable.
The smell is natural, as it is usually a combination of blood, bacteria and sweat. This odor is more if you sit for too long, which allows the growth of bacteria or accumulation of blood clots. You will also smell more if your pubic hair is too long so keep the pubic hair clean and trimmed by waxing, shaving or trimming. At times blood and sweat can get stuck in hair and contribute to the odor.
A pad rash can happen during heavy flow, when the pad has been wet for a long time and chaffs the thigh by rubbing against it. Prevent this by staying dry during your periods. If you get rash, apply antiseptic ointment after a bath and before going to bed; change pads regularly to stay dry, thereby avoiding rash.
It is essential to dispose off your napkins or tampons properly by wrapping it, in order to stop the spread of bacteria and infections. Don’t flush it as it will block the toilet. Wash your hands properly after you discardthe used tampons or sanitary napkins, since you may have touched the stained area.
Women tend to use tampons or sanitary napkins, or two sanitary napkins simultaneously during heavy flow. There are some women who choose to use either different types of sanitary napkins for different days of their periods or different methods of protection (like a tampon and a sanitary napkin) to keep themselves dry. We advise you to use one brand for a while to know if it helps your needs. Avoid using two pads or a tampon because the two pads absorb the blood and you may not change it regularly or at healthy intervals. This can lead to rashes, infections and in the case of tampons even TSS.
You can visit FirstCure Health for advice if you develop rashes or any, infections.
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