Hygiene during menstruation

For most women, the menstrual period is not a comfortable time; women have to deal with stomach cramps, lack of energy and with the menstrual flow that may limit and affect our daily activity.  Symptoms may vary from mild to moderate for some or very strong for others.

Women feel uncomfortable and unclean during their menstrual cycle so proper hygiene is very important. 

1. First step towards proper hygiene:

First and foremost, women need to choose the correct products to use and there are many choices available that will allow them to manage their personal menstrual hygiene.

The most commonly used are Sanitary Pads and Tampons.  The user has to decide what suits her best but I personally recommend the pads because they are less invasive and therefore more convenient for your health.

Pads for heavy flow tend to be bulky and more uncomfortable for top the buttocks and upper thighs due to chaffing.  They are more noticeable, not ideal for the use of summer clothes but just avoid fitting clothes during those days.  Also, there are specific undergarments that can be used and allow us to wear certain clothes more comfortably.  Use the proper pad size depending on the flow.  There are lighter pads for lighter days.

Some women prefer tampons to external pads. These allow women from having to change for longer periods of time but should not be left unchanged beyond six hours. Some brands state that tampons left unchanged for more than 12-18 hours increases the possibility of toxic shock.

It is not clear what causes toxic shock but there seems to be a link between tampons and Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Approximately 1% of all menstruating women carry the bacteria called Staphylococcus aurous in their vagina. Absorbent tampons provide the medium for them to grow and spread infection.

TSS is marked by high fever, severe vomiting and diarrhea and the causes can be mild to fatal.

Whatever the preference, washing and changing the sanitary pad often is very recommended, not only to keep ourselves clean and feeling fresh, but it also avoids a strong odor during menstruation.   

There are many feminine wipes and fresheners available for use during the menstrual cycle. 

It should be noted though, that there is no need to clean inside the vagina during your period as this can disturb the normal body flora and increases the risk of infection, which can also be avoided by maintaining strict hand-washing practices before and after changing sanitary products.  Likewise, any bacteria on the fingers following the changing of a product can be transferred to other items.

An important note on the subject: out of love and consideration not only of family members and friends, but the whole human race, please dispose of the pads or tampons correctly!!.  Wrap them in toilet paper before you throw them in the trash can. 

2. Bathing is another very important factor during this time of the month.

The commonly asked questions, can I wash my hair, take a bath or shower during menstruation?

There is absolutely no reason not to wash your hair, or take a bath or shower during menstruation. In fact, a nice warm bath or shower can do a lot to relieve menstrual cramps and premenstrual tension. Most women like to wear a tampon if they plan to take a nice long bath in a tub.  Bathing should be done on a daily basis and as many times as needed or desired.

There are many products like moisturizers and splashes that we can use after showering that will help us smell good and feel fresh.

On the next article, I will be discussing how to relief bloating and cramping during menstruation.

By Clara Marcela Rivera