Menstrual hygiene helps to prevent women from having reproductive and urinary tract infections. The sad thing is that adolescent girls and adult women hardly discuss menstruation and menstrual practices.
Here are some reasons that cause poor menstrual hygiene:
- Lack of knowledge about menstruation
- Unavailability and poor quality napkins
- Privacy issues
- Inadequate water supply
- Poor disposal of napkins
- Insufficient general reproductive health education
- Inadequate family support
Three ways unhealthy menstrual practices are dangerous for your health:
- Poor menstrual hygiene can alter the pH of vaginal flora. This brings a negative change in your vaginal environment and increases the probability of you getting bacterial vaginosis. Such a condition can make it difficult to get pregnant.
- Poor menstrual hygiene can cause bacteria to enter your urethra and cause UTIs. Infections anywhere in your urinary tract can be fatal enough to damage your kidneys if left untreated.
- Has your skin been irritating? Skin irritation is another effect of unhealthy menstrual hygiene. It causes discomfort and may lead to dermatitis which makes your skin to swell, turn red, or even become sore with blisters.
Here are good menstrual practices you should follow
Make it a habit to change frequently
You cannot be absolutely clean and healthy down there if you don’t change sanitary napkins or tampons frequently. Within every 4-6 hours, establish proper vaginal hygiene.
When the body releases menstrual blood, the blood attracts various organisms from the body that breed in the blood’s warmth. This can lead to irritation, rashes or UTIs. But if you change your sanitary napkin or tampon regularly, it will prevent the growth and infection of these organisms.
Wash down there properly
Practise washing your vagina properly to clean away the organisms as they usually cling to your body after you remove your sanitary napkin. To wash it correctly, use your hands in motion from your vagina to your anus, not vice-versa.
Avoid using soaps
Using soaps to wash your vagina is unhealthy. Overusing vaginal hygiene products is harmful too. Vaginas naturally produce their own cleaning mechanism, which does its job excellently during menstrual periods. These artificial hygiene products are an obstacle to the natural process and can lead to bacterial growth and infections.
Discard the sanitary napkin properly
Menstrual hygiene also involves wrapping your tampons and sanitary napkins properly before throwing them away to avoid bacteria spread and infection. Don’t flush them because they will block the toilet and cause water to back up and spread bacteria.
Have you tested for UTIs? Even if you don’t feel any symptoms, do it to ensure that your reproductive health is okay.