Menstrual Hygiene Day is celebrated on 28th May globally. This celebration highlights the international efforts by the World Health Organisation and various non–profit organisations in the field of women health and empowerment. It not only advocates good menstrual hygiene management but also helps to push social movements or awareness against the taboos associated with menstruation. The slogan for MHD 2021 is #ItsTimeForAction.
To abide by the fact that we believe hygiene is important at any time of the month, our theme for Menstrual Hygiene Day is #IntimateHygieneIsNotAPhase.
Personal hygiene is the most important factor in basic health. Hence, it is important to maintain it throughout the menstrual cycle and not only when a woman is having her period.
The menstrual cycle consists four phases:
The follicular phase starts immediately after completion of the periods and lasts for the first two weeks of the menstrual cycle. The lining of the uterus (endometrium) grows under the effect of the oestrogen hormone. Women can experience an increase in vaginal watery discharge in the initial part of this phase.
This phase can last for a couple of days. The ovulation process releases the egg for fertilisation due to surge in the Luteinizing Hormone under the effect of oestrogen.
During this phase, the progesterone hormone starts increasing and the endometrium ripens and congests. This phase lasts from ovulation till the onset of menstruation. The healthy vaginal discharge increases in premenstrual period.
It starts with onset of periods and ends with stoppage of menstrual flow. The menstrual fluid consists of dead lining of the uterus, mucus & blood. It lasts from 2-8 days.
Menstrual hygiene should include hygiene throughout these four phases of the menstrual cycle. Usually general body hygiene, for e.g. daily showers and the use of clean clothes is enough throughout the cycle except during the menstruation phase. The special care of intimate parts is needed during menstrual flow to ensure personal hygiene. The menstrual blood is a rich source of nutrition for the bacteria and the chances of infection increase if hygiene is not maintained.
Important personal intimate or perineal hygiene tips applicable everyday during menstrual cycle are as follows…
- Wash your genitals with water directing from the front of the body to the backside
- Dry the area with a clean cloth every time after washing
- Avoid douching i.e, cleaning the vaginal tract by water jet directed inside or with fingers
- Use a gentle wash for your vulva
- Avoid using bath salts, vaginal sprays or deodorants
- Wear loose, cotton underwear. You can change them at night.
- Wash the underwear separately with hypoallergenic detergents
- Drink plenty of water to maintain hydration
- Pass urine immediately after intercourse
- Always use a condom along with your definitive contraceptive method, particularly if you are in a new relationship
- Do not self-medicate if you have any issues with vaginal discharge, itching or pain during passing urine or during intercourse
Hygiene during the menstruation phase has faced challenges for a long time due to social taboos, access to water or sanitation, availability and affordability of sanitary products and privacy. Our experts are working constantly to put together articles that are informative and take a detailed approach towards menstruation. You can read them here. You can also read more articles on hygiene right here.