Period Hygiene 101: Everything we need to know

Today we see a rise in menstrual product usage. People all over are open advocates of menstrual health and menstrual health initiatives. Every day women put up a fight against societal taboos and stigmas.

Such change is a blessing. It is good to see the growing importance of period hygiene. Consequently, women can experience a better quality of life. After all, everyone deserves good health, confidence, and dignity.  

Let us explore more about menstrual health and period hygiene. Keep reading to learn everything you must to maintain period hygiene.  

What does period hygiene mean?

Speaking in strictly biological terms, menstruation is a monthly cycle with implied physiological changes taking place in a woman. It is an indication of a healthy woman in her prime reproductive phase. Let us learn a few facts to understand what makes menstrual health and menstrual hygiene initiatives necessary -

  • When women and girls go through their menstrual cycle, a layer of the uterus starts shedding. This leads to vaginal bleeding. For a few days, there is a lot of blood, broken tissues, dead cells, and broken muscles present.
  • Therefore, it contracts bacterial growth and gives a foul odor. Also during menstrual bleeding, there is an increase in pH. Therefore, it is likely to make you to vaginal infection.
  • The constant blood flow results in excessive dampness in the vaginal area. If not taken proper care, there is a high chance of contracting yeast infection. Therefore, regulating proper menstrual health and menstrual hygiene initiativesis imperative for menstruating women.  

Being healthy requires us to be content physically, socially, and psychologically. Periods can be quite exhausting. Dealing with pain, exhaustion, and severe mood swings can be difficult, isn’t it? However, with proper menstruation hygiene, one can maintain a healthy and sound well-being. 

What makes menstrual health and menstrual hygiene initiatives so important? 

Using proper and clean menstruation products reduces the chances of infections and other health complications and promotes good reproductive health. 

  • Effect on Mental Well-Being

Proper access to menstrual health and menstrual hygiene awareness programs reduces stigma. Women feel confident with better health and hygiene. Sound menstrual health must take into account both social and emotional well-being as well. Poor period hygiene can lead to embarrassment and bad mental health.

  • To Avoid Discrimination

We need to promote proper education regarding menstrual hygiene. The more knowledge we have the less discrimination we need to deal with. It makes women feel comfortable and boosts confidence. Period hygiene improves health and increases comfort levels. Consequently, it allows a woman to carry out her daily activities and jobs without any problem.

What are some obstacles to maintaining period hygiene? 

  • Cultural Taboos

In many cultures, menstruation is considered impure and social stigma. These stigmas do not allow women to regulate or maintain proper menstrual hygiene. Due to social taboos, women cannot receive proper care without heavy judgment.  

  • Myths

As people are not educated properly about menstrual health and menstrual hygiene. There are wrong beliefs among women which hamper the proper practice of maintaining period hygiene

For instance, some cultures maintain that menstruating women should not wash their hair or take a bath during periods. The reason is that taking a bath might accumulate fluid or pus in the uterus. These kinds of beliefs and myths clearly show a lack of scientific knowledge and sex education.

  • Economic Barriers

Many women are not provided with washrooms or toilets with adequate and clean sanitary facilities. So, women miss work, school, and college. UNICEF states that menstrual products are expensive, and poverty makes them adopt alternatives to these which are not safe. Compromising with health and comfort makes women lag in work. 27% of women do not even have access to clean water to wash their hands.

The use of a sanitary pad is directly proportional to the monthly income of the family. In India, only 1.7% of the woman population can afford period hygiene products. Moreover, 50% of women still use old clothes or rags. Women suffering from poverty cannot afford such menstrual products. Such statistics reflect the unfortunate state of countless women in India. 

Role of education in promoting menstrual health and menstrual hygiene initiative

Education plays quite an important role in raising awareness about period hygiene. Common masses should know the consequences of poor menstrual hygiene. Let us see a few menstrual hygiene initiatives that are beneficial- 

  • Programmes By the Government or NGO

There should be government programs to educate and aware people of menstrual health and hygiene. This will help to break social stigmas, and myths and create awareness among people. 

  • Supporting Menstrual Health Initiatives

There are several organizations and NGOs out there raising funds and spreading awareness. More people should participate in these events as volunteers. People should participate in fundraising events like Menstrual Hygiene Day.

  • Government Initiatives

The government should start selling these menstrual products at a low price. Women should have affordable and easily accessible products. Our government must make it their priority to promote menstrual health and menstrual hygiene initiatives.

What are some tips to maintain proper menstrual hygiene?

Being aware of menstruation hygiene is not enough. We must know how to maintain the same to balance our well-being. 

  • Women must have access to basic menstrual products like sanitary pads.
  • Menstruating women and girls must have a change of sanitary napkins every couple of hours. We can avoid any infection with regular changes.
  • Taking a bath is necessary. Also using lukewarm water to wash the vaginal area is very helpful to avoid infection. 
  • Wearing clean undergarments is more important than we think. It is quite essential, especially during periods

Women must have access to proper menstruation hygiene. It is a bare minimum of healthcare and a basic right. Women should have access to basic menstrual products. 

To Wrap Up

Over the years, we have seen quite progress in menstrual health and menstrual health initiatives. However, unfortunately, not everyone has access to menstrual hygiene even today.  50% of women in India struggle with poor period hygiene according to national surveys. So it is time to step up and fight for better menstruation hygiene for all women out there!