Menstruation is a normal biological process which maintains the female reproductive cycle. However, the topic is considered a taboo for discussion in open due to the social stigma attached to it.
Poor menstrual hygiene can lead to serious health hazards and a lack of awareness about it is a serious cause for concern. It can cause urinary tract and reproductive tract infections, yeast infections, Hepatitis B and cervical cancer.
Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day) is observed today globally to highlight the importance of good menstrual hygiene management (MHM). It was initiated by the German-based NGO WASH united in 2014 and aims to benefit women and girls worldwide. The 28th was selected to acknowledge that 28 days is the average length of the menstrual cycle.
On this MH Day, 5 women share with LeadNOW the one important thing they follow to maintain menstrual hygiene:
Change pads at regular intervals
Reena Jayshekar, a software professional, says she gives utmost importance to maintaining hygiene during her menstrual cycle. “I change 6 to 8 pads the first two days of her cycle and 3 to 4 pads as the flow comes down. I want to switch to cotton pads or menstrual cups soon.”
Switch to menstrual cups
Shweta Kurse, a software engineer, has gone the eco-friendly way recently by switching to menstrual cups from sanitary pads. She strongly advocates it to women who want to but are hesitating to switch to menstrual cups.
She says it is very important to maintain the menstrual cup properly and asks to follow these simple steps if you want to use it:
- Wash it with hot water after every use.
- Empty the cup based on the period flow.
- Do not use the cup for more than the recommended hours.
- Once your cycle is over sanitize the cup by boiling it in water for 10 mins.
- Store the cup in a cool and dry place.
Deepti Nair, a home-maker, says apart from taking care of her personal hygiene, she also disposes the used pads appropriately and makes sure it doesn't get mixed with my dry waste. “Being a member of the waste management and segregation team of our apartment, I see to it that all such medical wastes are collected separately and disposed of in a hygienic manner. In order to reduce such waste I also plan to switch to menstrual cups that I have been hearing about lately.”
“Also I feel vending machine for pads must be available in public places at a reasonable cost,” she says.
Take a healthy bath
Shruthi Inder, a fashion designer, advises the use of a few cups of Apple Cider Vinegar for bath to have a healthy and odourless vagina. Vinegar kills bacteria and fungus that are found in the vaginal area and on the skin. It has antibacterial properties and other beneficial acids that are known to treat urinary tract infections, she says.
Use one method of sanitation:
Srivani Ravichander, an entrepreneur, says menstrual hygiene isn’t very hard to achieve, and it can even relieve you of stress and pain during your period.
Stressing the importance of adopting one sanitation method, she says it is not good to pair up sanitary pads with cloth, tampons or another pad during periods. It can lead to rashes and infections. “I switched to menstrual cups recently and find it more hygienic than pads. I feel clean all the time. Once you understand the concept of menstrual cups, it is easy to use,” she says.