What exactly goes on in a woman’s mind as her period days approach every month? Being the boss lady that you are, you have to run a thousand errands, but how do you do it without compromising on your coveted confidence? “Let me take care of the office and house chores before I sit and take care of those cramps?” Or ‘’Oh god, I hope I haven’t stained my skirt, since I didn’t have the time to change my pad.’’
Making sure of things like not getting stained or ending up in a situation with no access to sanitary napkins or tampons is definitely on top of every woman’s checklist. But where does menstrual health and hygiene stand in this whole ordeal? Isn’t this what should be above all the leakage concerns?
Guess it’s time to take a step back and rethink how you have been handling your menstruation all this while. Has it been enough?
Repeatedly stressed upon, yet the importance of menstrual hygiene is still not reinforced enough. And if statistics are anything to go by, the condition of menstrual health and hygiene in India continues to be dismal. According to a 2018 report by National Family Health Survey (NFHS) IV, 62% Indian women between the ages of 15-24 years still use cloth during their period days.
Menstrual health is not just about physical wellbeing, but also equally about the mental health of women across all ages, around the world. And for a nation like India where the access to sanitary napkin still remains a privilege, the importance of dos and don’ts of menstrual hygiene becomes even more vital. Add to it the stigma and consciousness related to this extremely natural body function, it just escalates the grimness of the scenario.
So, how can you ensure your best productivity as well as hygiene during your period days? What are the basic things you need to know in order to ensure the best of menstrual health, while remaining within your comfort zone as well?
While this might look like a big task at hand, with a dreadful bunch of things to take care of, it’s thankfully not that hard. Hence, this gives you all the more reason to not overlook your vaginal health before, during and after periods.
To begin with, always decide the product according to your comfort and menstrual needs. Tampons, Sanitary Napkins, Menstrual Cups – opt for what keeps your body at ease, but can also handle the amount of bleeding that you face every month. You don’t want to be caught off guard at any hour! It is part of knowing your body and an essential one at that.
Speaking of being unprepared, if it’s hard for you to remember your period dates, download a period app to help you out. There are multiple apps like Ovia and My Calendar that let you track your ovulation and period days so you’re not caught napping.
And if you are one of those meagre and aware 18% of the female Indian population using sanitary napkins, make sure you know the proper usage and disposal methods as well. Change your sanitary napkin every 4 to 6 hours. If you use tampons, do not wear it beyond 8 hours as it ups your risks of contracting Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), a potentially fatal disease that occurs due to growth of bacterial toxins in your vagina. Menstrual cups on the other hand also need to be washed at least once or twice a day, depending on your flow and schedules. Remember to sterilize it with hot water before and after every menstrual cycle.
Opt For Comfort
For best comfort during those days, women should avoid pads with plastic linings as they cause itchiness and rashes around the sensitive skin in your shin area. It’s best to opt for loose and flowy apparels during your period so that airflow remains constant around the sensitive parts and reduces sweating.
Another basic but very crucial part of your menstrual essentials is keeping yourself clean. Not just in the internal areas, but all over. Take a shower at least once a day. Pat your vaginal areas clean and wash your hands every time you change the sanitary pad, tampon or cup.
Once used, how you discard the sanitary napkins or tampons is also as important. This is where not just your own but the hygiene of others also comes into play. Make sure not to leave it exposed or in a condition that can bring contamination in the form of mosquitoes or other carriers of disease, and also for people handling that waste.
With each sanitary napkin being made of elements ranging from plastic, wood cellulose, to silicon paper, the need to go organic doubles up. Try opting for organic sanitary napkins and tampons, which are easily available at major outlets and retailers nowadays. Do not flush your used napkins down the toilet. Remember, hygiene is best both inside you and your immediate surroundings.While many organizations and NGOs are shouldering the bigger cause of raising awareness in this dreary scenario of menstruation health, make sure you are doing the best for your own self. Taking care of these little things will not only make your menstruation days easy-breezy, but also prove to be a strong motivator for other women around you.