THe discussion surrounding menstruation hasn’t received the attention it requires. In fact, menstruation and the issues surrounding the topic have been deeply stigmatised and closeted in our society. In many communities, the deep rooted stigma surrounding menstruation has led to the ostracisation of women from their families during their monthly cycle, cutting off access to proper sanitation and hygienic environments which in turn makes these women vulnerable to various health conditions. It is important to fight the stigma surrounding a condition that is natural to women, and the best way to do this is to talk about these issues openly, building awareness about the same. A regular menstrual cycle is an indication of good reproductive health. It is important for women to educate themselves about menstruation and menstrual hygiene to ensure that their monthly cycles don’t interfere with their regular life and routine, thereby minimising the risk of infections and further complications. The following list contains answers to the most common questions surrounding menstruation and menstrual hygiene:
How often do I cHange my sanItary napkIns/ tampons?
When menstrual blood is absorbed in sanitary napkins and tampons, they become a breeding ground for bacteria. Not changing these products regularly would run the risk of infections and rashes. It is important to change sanitary napkins and tampons every four to six hours to ensure proper menstrual hygiene.
wHat’s tHe deal wItH menstrual cups?
Of late, there has been a lot of talk about the use of menstrual cups as an economical, environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to the use of pads and tampons. A menstrual cup is a small bell-shaped product that is worn in the vaginal canal. Instead of absorption, it collects menstrual blood which can then be disposed of sanitarily. Menstrual cups are reusable and come in various shapes, sizes and materials. Finally, menstrual cups prove to be a convenient option for women as these products do not need to be changed as often as pads and tampons and can be used for twelve hours at a time.
How do I maIntaIn HygIene durIng my montHly cycle?
Cleanliness during menstruation is of utmost importance to avoid infections. It is important to dispose off the tampons and pads in dustbins, carefully after wrapping. It is also important to wash the vaginal area regularly to avoid crusting of blood and to wash away excess blood. This also helps in managing period odour.
are tHere any dIetary cHanges I sHould take Into consIderatIon durIng menstruatIon?
Following a good diet is important to reduce discomfort, pain and bloating during periods. Maintaining a diet that includes green leafy vegetables which are rich in iron and vitamins is necessary. Consuming nuts, which are rich in Omega-3 and fatty acids can help control premenstrual syndrome symptoms. Eating salads, fruit and whole grains help control digestive problems which are common during periods. It is advised to avoid fried food, carbonated drinks and processed foods that are high in sodium to keep bloating and pain in check.
can I vIsIt a gynaecologIst for Issues surroundIng menstruatIon? If so, How often sHould I consIder vIsItIng one?
It is necessary to schedule regular visits to the gynaecologist to learn how to care for your reproductive health as well as make sure there is no infection. The doctor will talk to you about your body and help you understand what is normal and what is not. Getting a Pap smear test done once in three years is important to prevent cervical cancer. You should also get your breasts screened regularly at least once in a year with your doctors. Women and girls with irregular periods and conditions like Fibroids or Polycystic Ovarian Disorder need to see the doctor more often to treat these conditions and ensure good fertility levels.