Whether you’ve just started menstruating or you’ve been having your monthly cycle for years, it is important to manage the downsides of your period, staying clean and healthy during your ‘red days’.
Most of us go through our periods very secretively and don’t really bother to figure out if our practices are hygienic or not.
Below are some tips to maintain a healthy hygiene practice during your ‘red days’, some of which you may not know about:
Choose your method of sanitation
There are quiet a number of ways to absorb the monthly flow including the use of sanitary napkins, tampons and menstrual cups to stay clean.
If you do decide to use a tampon remember that it is essential to choose one that has the lowest absorbency rate for your flow.
Some women prefer to use one method of sanitation and are loyal to a particular brand. However, some women choose to use different types of sanitary napkins on different days of their periods or different methods of protection (like a tampon and a sanitary napkin).
The best tip is to stick to one brand for a while to know if it helps your needs.
Frequent switching between brands can make you uncomfortable since brands are as unique as you, they suit everyone differently.
Once the menstrual blood has left the body, it 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.
The standard time to change a sanitary pad is once every four to six hours, while a tampon is required to be changed every two hours.
While some women might have a heavy flow and would need to change more often, others will need to change less frequently.
There are days where your sanitary napkin or tampon might not be completely soiled perhaps when you have a lesser flow but it is expedient to change regular intervals as expected.
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.
Washing the vagina and labia neatly before you change into a new pad helps beat bad odour from the vaginal region.
If you cannot wash yourself before you change, make sure to wipe off the areas using a baby wipe or tissue.
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 clean flowing water or warm water.
You can use soap on the external parts but DO NOT use it inside your vagina or vulva.
Use the right washing technique
Always wash or clean your genitals 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.
Discard your used sanitary product properly
It is essential to discard your used napkins or tampons properly as they are capable of spreading infections.
Neatly wrap the used pad/tampon in a paper/nylon to contain the smell and infection before discarding.
NEVER flush used pad or tampon down the toilet because they are capable of forming a block and can cause the toilet to back up.
After discarding used sanitary pad/tampon, wash your hands well after you discard your used napkin since you are likely to touch the used portion of the pad or tampon while discarding it.
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. Change your pads regularly and stay dry to avoid having rashes around your genitals.
If the rash appears, apply an antiseptic ointment, after bathing and before bed to heal the rash and prevent further chaffing.
If it gets worse or persists, do visit your doctor.
Bathing not only cleanses your body but also gives you a chance to clean your private parts well.
It 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.
Have an extra pad in your handbag
Perhaps guys are scared of opening a lady’s handbag because, ‘they’ll find a pad’, hahaha.
Be ready with on-the-go stuff during your period, have an 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.
Don’t get caught unaware, prepare for your ‘red days’, stay clean and healthy!