Menstruation is a common practice among girls and women from puberty to menopause. During menstruation, maintaining good menstrual health is of utmost need. Generally, it consists of using appropriate sanitation products & the facility of changing them as per the requirement. But, in reality, menstrual health is much more than this. Women should integrate all the essential practices to achieve good health results.
According to Cristiana Sandor, CEO, Stetho Health Systems, “Good menstrual health consists of accurate & timely knowledge, availability of safe & affordable materials, referred & access to necessary health services, sanitation & washing facilities, positive social norms, safe & hygienic disposal and advocacy & policy. Moreover, women need to adopt good menstrual health hygiene.”
Why is Personal Hygiene Important for Good Menstrual Health?
During the menstruation cycle, your body is more prone to life-threatening disorders, resulting in fungal, bacterial, and viral infections.
Research conducted in October 2010 by A.C Nielsen called Sanitation protection mentioned that from the survey of 1033 women & 151 gynecologists, only 12% of women use sanitary napkins.
In contrast, 88% of women use home-based shocking alternatives. Such unhygienic practices can result in acquiring infections of the lower genital tract.
A lack of good menstrual hygiene can cause the following disorders:
- Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Urinary tract infection is the most common type in women with poor menstrual hygiene. In this, the harmful bacteria developed during the periods that enter the urinary tract irritate the mucosal region and cause infection.
If not medicated at the right time, it can lead to further complications. Following incorrect washing motion i,e., from anus to vagina, using unhygienic & unsafe personal hygiene products, and washing genitalia with water are common causes of Urinary tract infection.
- Reproductive Tract Infection (RTI)
Contaminated menstrual blood can favor the growth of various bacteria such as Salmonella, E.Coli and Staphylococcus. These bacteria multiply rapidly and enter the reproductive tract through the cervix. Then, bacteria enter the blood through the mucosal membrane, resulting in sepsis and associated complications.
Some common symptoms of reproductive tract infection include genital itching, abdominal pain, back pain, pustules and genital discharge. In addition, not changing sanitary pads after a standard duration can lead to moisture retention and trigger the growth of pathogenic microorganisms.
Some other infections faced due to poor menstrual hygiene are:
- Cervical Cancer
A tumor in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus, is known as cervical cancer. Poor personal hygiene increases the risk of cervical cancer, which the Human Papilloma Virus causes. Cervical cancer results in abnormal vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, and painful sex.
- Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a serious viral infection that causes inflammation of the liver. And, it can be transmitted through fluids, including menstrual blood and its virus can survive outside the body for at least 7 days.
Hence, it is essential to maintain personal hygiene practices such as disposing of sanitary pads appropriately, washing hands with soap, following all the safety measures while changing napkins.
- Yeast infection
Poor hygiene and infrequent bathing during the menstrual cycle can lead to yeast development in the cervices of the skin. It is significantly associated with sweaty skin that doesn’t breath and stays moist for extended hours.
Maintaining proper personal hygiene & changing sanitary napkins at a standard time can reduce yeast production in your genital area.
Adopting hygiene practices is essential for good menstrual health. And, every woman should follow a healthy lifestyle and engage in accurate and timely knowledge to prevent themselves from urinary tract infection, respiratory tract infection, and other related disorders.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What is personal hygiene?
Personal hygiene refers to the series of practices for maintaining the cleanliness of one’s body to preserve good health and overall well-being.
2. Why is maintaining personal hygiene essential in menstruation?
During menstruation, your body is more prone to life-threatening infections resulting in fungal, viral and bacterial infections. Maintaining personal hygiene is essential in menstruation to preserve your body from such infections.
3. How to maintain personal hygiene?
Personal hygiene can be maintained by following healthy practices such as changing sanitary napkins after the standard changing time, having a regular bath, properly storing sanitary products, and discarding the products. Using the correct washing technique and choosing a suitable sanitation method is also essential for maintaining personal hygiene appropriately.