World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021: Personal Hygiene Tips You Should Follow During Your Monthly Period
World Menstrual Hygiene Day is observed on 28 May to eradicate the myths and stigma associated with menstruation. Here's what you should know about period hygiene.
World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021: Wash your hands properly before and after changing your sanitary napkin
- World Menstrual Hygiene Day is observed on 28 May
- It tries to eradicate stigma and taboo linked with menstruation
- Don't use soaps or intimate hygiene products
Menstruation is a phenomenon unique to females. The onset of menstruation is one of the most important changes that a woman goes through during the adolescent years. Although menstruation is a natural process, it is linked with several misconceptions and practices which can lead to adverse health outcomes. Increased knowledge about menstruation from childhood will escalate safe practices. Before bringing any change in menstrual practices, girls should be educated about the facts of menstruation, physiological implications, about the significance of menstruation and development of secondary sexual characteristics, and above all, about proper hygiene practices.
The period extending from the beginning of a period to the next one is called menstrual cycle. Once the menstruation starts, it continues cyclically at intervals of 21 - 35 days with a mean of 28 days. The duration of menstruation is about 2 - 7 days and the amount of blood loss is estimated to be 20 to 80 ml. Each cycle involves the release of an egg (ovulation) which travels through the fallopian tubes into the uterus. Due to hormones, the lining of the uterus thickens for fertilization. If the egg does not fertilize, the lining of the uterus is shed through the vagina along with blood.
World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021: Tips for menstrual hygiene
Teaching proper menstrual hygiene practices can be achieved through different educational programmes both at school and home without any hesitation. Lack of privacy is an important problem. In situations where women do not have access to basic facilities like water, bathroom and privacy, the standard one can maintain is severely compromised. Also, girls should be encouraged to continue with their regular activities.
Tips for menstrual hygiene:
Wash yourself properly- Do not avoid daily baths. While cleaning the perineal region, clean from front to back to avoid contamination.
Change your sanitary pad every 2 to 6 hours depending on the flow- Organisms from the vagina, sweat, from your genitals multiply when they remain in a warm, moist place for a long time and can increase chances of UTI's, reproductive tract infections ( RTI's) and skin rashes. Discard the sanitary pad properly. Wrap it in a newspaper to avoid contamination with other wastes. Wash your hands well after you discard the used pad. If you are using reusable pads, clean them properly. Wear comfortable, clean underwears to allow your skin to breathe.
Choose your method of sanitation- The choices we have today are use of sanitary pads, tampons and menstrual cups. In India most adolescent girls use sanitary pads. If using a tampon then use one with low absorbency rate. Use only one method of sanitation at a time.
Don't use soaps or vaginal hygiene products- Use a soap with a mild pH to clean only the external parts and never inside your vagina.
Menstruation and menstrual practices still face many social, cultural and religious restrictions which are a big barrier in the path of menstrual hygiene. Still many girls are not prepared and aware of menstruation so they face many difficulties and challenges at home, schools and work place.
Therefore it is very important to emphatically work on enhancing awareness about menstruation and safe practices.
(Dr Deepthi Ashwin, senior obstetrician and gynaecologist, Fortis La Femme Hospital, Richmond Road, Bengaluru)
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