Most girls start their periods between the age of 12 and 13. While bleeding, bloating and cramps are common issues caused by menstruation, periods can also bring other hygiene-related health complications.
Problems Caused by Poor Menstrual Hygiene
It is important for girls to learn how to maintain proper period hygiene early in life to avoid health complications later in life.
Leaks and smells during menstruation can affect your self-esteem. However, lack of proper hygiene during your period can bring rash, itch, UTIs, and even fertility issues.
Tips for healthy and safe menstrual hygiene
Keep the place dry
Menstrual products are usually made to be absorbent enough to keep the vaginal area dry during periods. Ensure the place remains dry by changing your pad every 4-6 hours.
The choice of underwear is also essential for proper menstrual hygiene; wear cotton underwear to allow for proper air circulation. Sweating can worsen the situation.
Wear the right type of pad
Sanitary pads come in different types depending on flow. If your period is heavy, wear super or maxi pads and change it every 4 hours Slender, thin or ultra, and regular pads are for lighter flows or when the cycle is coming to an end.
If you are going for activities such as swimming, consider wearing a tampon instead of a pad. However, note that wearing a tampon for long hours can lead to toxic shock syndrome.
Avoid tampons at night and instead, consider an overnight pad that can last for 8 hours.
Wash your hands thoroughly
Changing your pad or tampon with dirty hands can leave you with infections. Remember to wash your hand always.
Clean yourself well
Menstrual flow can produce a metallic odor, smell of blood, and sometimes the smell of death. Wash at least twice a day during your period to keep these odors away.
Washing will also protect you from bacteria build-up which may cause itches and rash. After washing, you can apply talcum powder to keep the area extra dry.
In addition, shave to prevent blood from sticking to your pubic hairs.
Eat well and stay hydrated
A lot of hormonal changes happen during periods. Eating a balanced diet will reduce the mood changes that happen during this period, and also supply you with the essential nutrients you require.
Bloating is common during menstruation, and drinking plenty of water can soothe it and also reduce the chances of developing dehydration headaches. Fruits such as cucumbers and watermelons can also boost your hydration levels.
Also, add some yogurt to your diet for a supply of the good bacteria that helps you fight infections such as yeast while boosting your levels of magnesium.
If you must have sex during your period, remember to use protection. This is because the chances of contracting STDs increase during this time.
Proper waste disposal
Avoid flushing your used pad or tampon in the toilet as it will cause clogging. The best way to handle it is by burning it. If you are not able to burn your used pad, wrap it properly in its cover or a different bag and then drop it in your trash bin.
In conclusion, proper menstrual hygiene is essential for the well-being of girls and women of reproductive age. Using the right products, as well as keeping the vaginal area clean and dry will not only boost your confidence but also give you the peace of mind you need to continue with your normal routine.