It’s dark, moist, and closed off most of the day — yes, we’re talking about your vaginal area! These factors can create a foul-smelling odour and can also make you feel embarrassed.
Most of us go through our periods very secretively and don’t really bother to figure out if our practices are hygienic or not. At times, we may wear the same napkin for a whole day.
Here are some tips to maintain hygiene during your periods, some of which you may not know about:
1. Choose your method of sanitation:
Today there are a number of ways including the use of sanitary napkins, tampons and menstrual cups to stay clean.
2. Change regularly:
Menstrual blood – once it has left the body – gets contaminated with the body’s innate organisms. This rule applies for even those days when you don’t have much bleeding, since your pad is still damp and will have organisms from your vagina, sweat from your genitals, etc. When these organisms remain in a warm and moist place for a long time they tend to multiply and can lead to conditions like urinary tract infection, vaginal infections and skin rashes.The standard time to change a sanitary pad is once every six hours, while for a tampon is once every two hours.
3. Wash yourself regularly:
When you menstruate, the blood tends to enter tiny spaces like the skin between your labia or crust around the opening of the vagina and you should always wash this excess blood away. This practice also tends to beat bad odour from the vaginal region.
4. Don’t use soaps or vaginal hygiene products
The vagina has its own cleaning mechanism that works in a very fine balance of good and bad bacteria. Washing it with soap can kill the good bacteria making way for infections. So, while it is important to wash yourself regularly during this time, all you need to use is some warm water. You can use soap on the external parts but do not use it inside your vagina or vulva.
5. Use the right washing technique:
Always wash or clean the area in a motion that is from the vagina to the anus. Never wash in the opposite direction. Washing in the opposite direction can cause bacteria from the anus to lodge in the vagina and urethral opening, leading to infections.
6. Discard your used sanitary product properly
It is essential to discard your used napkins or tampons properly because they are capable of spreading infections, will smell very foul. Wrapping it well before discarding it ensures that the smell and infection is contained.
7. Beware of a pad rash
A pad rash is something that you might experience during a period of heavy flow. It usually occurs when the pad has been wet for a long time and rubs along the thighs causing it to chaff. To prevent this from occurring, try to stay dry during your periods.
8. Use only one method of sanitation at a time
Some women who have heavy flow during their periods tend to use either (i) two sanitary pads, (ii) a tampon and sanitary pad (iii) a sanitary pad along with a piece of cloth. This might seem like a good idea, but it actually is not, changing regularly is a better option.
9. Have a bath regularly
Bathing not only cleanses your body but also gives you a chance to clean your private parts well. It also helps relieve menstrual cramps, backaches, helps improve your mood and makes you feel less bloated. To get some relief from backaches and menstrual cramps, just stand under a shower of warm water that is targeted towards your back or abdomen. You will feel much better at the end of it.
10. Be ready with on-the-go stuff during your periods
When you have your periods it is important to be ready. It is important to have extra sanitary pads or tampons properly stored in a clean pouch or paper bag, a soft towel, some paper tissues or towels, hand sanitizer, a healthy snack, bottle of drinking water, a tube of antiseptic medication (if you are using one).Changing your pads/ tampons regularly is essential, so you will need extra.