The advancement of the menstrual cycle defines womanhood. It is of uttermost necessity to understand the sciences behind the changes in your body and get prepared for it accordingly. Unfortunately, women have disregarded menstrual health from ancient times leading to poor hygiene management. According to UNICEF, 2.3 billion people lack essential sanitation services. It could be due to the lack of education, persisting taboos, and stigma, limited access to hygienic menstrual products & poor sanitation practices.
With the advancement of time, many people took a stand to highlight poor menstrual health & hygiene to eradicate this concern. Undoubtedly, if menstrual health & hygiene is well-managed from the start, it will contribute to women’s empowerment at a critical stage of girls’ lives. Cristiana Sandor, the Chief Executive Officer of Stetho Health Systems Limited, says,
“Mensuration is stigmatized worldwide, and women have been suffering from poor menstrual health for centuries. Now is the time to spread menstrual health awareness and encourage them to follow the necessary measures. Also, it is vital to educate underprivileged communities and provide them with required facilities.”
What is meant by Menstrual Hygiene Management?
Menstrual hygiene management refers to the access to all the required facilities for maintaining good health & hygiene during menstruation. It includes access to hygienic & safe products to collect & absorb blood, facility of washing hands, disposing of sanitary napkins, and many more. It is essential to follow healthy practices to protect themselves and others from infections like urinary tract infections, reproductive tract infections, bacterial infections, and yeast infections.
There are many misconceptions that women have been following since time immemorial. Therefore, given below are the simple yet vital menstrual hygiene management practices that help take necessary menstrual care:
1. Changing Napkins Frequently
In the menstrual cycle, the duration of changing sanitary napkins or tampons plays an important role. Many women complain about rashes, itching, irritation around their genital areas during periods. Its reason might be not changing napkins frequently. The blood that leaves the vagina is more prone to contamination due to air exposure. Due to continuously wearing the same napkin, blood and sweat come into contact with vaginal parts and often lead to urinary tract infections, skin problems, and many more. The standard time to change sanitary pads and tampons is 6 hours, even if dealing with heavy blood flow. At the same time, cup duration may vary as per the women’s flow. However, it is better to clean cups within 10 hours.
2. Method of Sanitation
Every woman is divergent, and so are their sanitation needs. The lack of proper sanitary products has been a grave issue among women and girls. However, various brands offer quality sanitary products, but it is essential to choose the right brand according to their absorbance rate and skin suitability. While choosing sanitary products, it is crucial to look for brands offering products that could cater to improved skin nourishment and reduce problems associated with menstruation such as inflammation, redness, itchiness, and discomfort.
3. Right Washing Technique
During the period, it is obvious to stick blood around your genital area, and to prevent infections from the blood; it is essential to follow the correct washing technique. The washing motion should be from vagina to anus and from anus to vagina. The opposite motion can spread the bacteria from the anus to the vagina, which can cause further problems. Although plain lukewarm water is sufficient to clean your genitals, investing in quality vaginal care products will be a plus.
4. Proper Storage of Sanitary Products
Good menstrual health is an outcome of the proper storage of sanitary products. Many women don’t give it much importance but storing sanitary products are equally important. For every 6 hours, keep a clean pouch, a paper bag, clean tissues, a soft towel, sanitiser, and an antiseptic cream if you use one to ensure proper menstrual hygiene.
5. Bath regularly
Earlier, there was a myth of not having a regular bath during the menstrual cycle. But this myth was based on the reason women bathe in ponds and rivers. But, for proper menstrual hygiene management, it is essential to bathe regularly, at least once a day. It will maintain personal hygiene and reduce itchiness, skin infections, and rashes. In addition, bathing is good to improve mood swings, reduce period cramps and keep your genital parts clean.
6. Discarding the Products Properly
Last but not least, properly discarding your sanitary products is an essential component for good menstrual hygiene management. Wrap your napkin and tampons properly to prevent them from spreading further infections. Never flush your pad into toilets as they have a blockage capacity. Also, there is no need to discard menstrual cups after every use as they can be reused after cleaning them properly. One can use it again simply by rinsing it off with plain water.
In addition to the practices mentioned above, one should keep separate underwear for the periods and save an extra pair if you travel out. It will maintain your menstrual hygiene and prevent you from facing any unpleasant situation. Also, if your skin is sensitive and infection-prone, you must invest in some good quality menstruation products. In conclusion, I would say that women of every age group should follow these practices and educate other women. By supporting this, Cristiana added, “Aiding proper sanitary products & educating women about the process of menstruation is the only solution to the effective menstrual health & hygiene management. To solve this, along with sanitary pads, Stetho is focused on providing innovative solutions for health & hygiene issues faced by girls & women around the world.”
Frequently Asked Questions-
Menstrual hygiene management refers to the access to all the required facilities for maintaining good health & hygiene during menstruation. It includes access to hygienic & safe products to collect & absorb blood, facility of washing hands, disposing of sanitary napkins, and many more.
Some unsafe menstrual health practices are using unclean sanitary pads & materials, changing pads infrequently & not using proper washing methods. Also, hazardous disposal of sanitary products and improper handwashing & bathing facilities are considered unhealthy menstrual health practices.
Now the 6 practices as mentioned earlier to improve menstrual health. Apart from mentioned practices, eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, mild workouts, and adequate rest is essential to improving menstrual health.