Menstruation is a natural biological process that keeps the female reproductive cycle going. There would have been no ovulation, and therefore, no reproduction if this process did not occur. Improper period hygiene can cause unpleasant conditions, ranging from bacterial infections to more serious reproductive tract infections and even cervical cancer.
Microbes such as Candida albicans, Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, and Pseudomonas can multiply in the humid environment created by using damp and dirty menstrual clothes or a sanitary napkin for over 4 hours. These bacteria can enter your urinary tract, including the urethra and bladder, causing painful urination, lower abdominal pain, back pain, and fever. Because sanitary napkins are made of plastics and SAP derived from crude oil, repeated use can cause painful rashes, abrasions, and allergies.
Some poor menstrual hygiene practices that may endanger your health and cause infections in your reproductive tracts include:
a) Sanitary Napkins That Are Not Clean:
We knew there was a reason sanitary napkins come in different covers. Using dirty pads can cause fungal infections, reproductive tract infections, urinary tract infections, and even make you infertile.
Many of you may think this is obvious, but thousands of women around the world still use things like dried leaves, plastic, cloth, and other materials as a substitute for pads. To avoid such infections, your menstrual hygiene routine should include not only cleaning your body but also using sterile and clean pads.
b) Wearing a single pad for far too long:
This is something that many of us are guilty of, and it is one of the worst things we can do. If you do not change your pads regularly (at least every 6-8 hours), you are much more likely to develop rashes and vaginal yeast infections, both of which cause an unpleasant odor.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, you must avoid the aforementioned habits if you do not want to suffer the consequences of poor feminine hygiene.
Consequences of Unhealthy Menstrual Practices
The major cause of rashes, which are a very common issue during your period, is not changing your sanitary napkins regularly.
The prolonged wetness and plastic content of menstrual pads can irritate your skin and even cause dermatitis (skin inflammation with swelling, redness, and itchiness)
Improper hygiene during your period can let the bacteria to thrive in your vagina; sometimes when untreated, RTIs can lead to complications such as infertility, which can lead to reproductive tract infections (RTIs).
Infection with Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B spreads easily through bodily fluids, including menstrual discharge. As a result, it is critical to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after and before changing sanitary napkins.
Infections caused by yeast
Candidiasis is a yeast infection caused by improper menstrual hygiene. Candida albicans is an opportunistic microbe that can infect the reproductive and urinary tracts. Vulvovaginal candidiasis affects up to 75% of women in their reproductive years and is usually asymptomatic.
Unusual White Discharge
A certain amount of vaginal discharge is normal.
Poor hygiene during menstruation, on the other hand, creates an ideal environment for bacteria to proliferate in your vagina and may cause bacterial vaginosis, which can cause an abnormal white discharge.
Cervical Cancer Risks
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the cervix (the lower end of the uterus) and is most commonly caused by the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV).
Even though it is a remote possibility, poor period hygiene increases the likelihood of UTIs and RTIs and makes you more vulnerable to cervical cancer.
Follow these healthy practices to maintain a proper menstrual hygiene
Changing pads or tampons every 46 hours is a basic rule for good vaginal hygiene. When menstrual blood flows from the body, it attracts various organisms from our body. Hence, multiplying with the warmth of the blood, causing inflammation, rashes, or urinary tract infections. Regular replacement of menstrual napkins and tampons can help control the growth of these microbes and prevent infection.
Regular vaginal washes are very important as the organisms attach to the body after removing the menstrual napkins. Most people wash it regularly, but it’s not the right way to do it. Move your hand from the vagina to the anus and not the other way around. Do not use soap or vaginal hygiene products use vaginal hygiene products daily, but do not overuse them. The vagina has a unique cleansing mechanism that acts during the menstrual cycle, and these artificial hygiene products can interfere with natural processes, causing infections and bacterial growth.
Proper Disposal of Pads
Proper disposal of tampons and pads is an important step. Wrap properly before throwing away to prevent the spread of bacteria and infections. Be careful not to wash them away. This will block the toilet, causing water to flow back and bacteria to spread everywhere. After wrapping and disposing of used tampons and menstrual napkins, proper handwashing is of utmost importance. As you may touch dirty areas while wrapping.
Stick to one hygiene method
Multiple methods can give the false impression of mild menstrual bleeding. Long-term use of the item increases the risk of infection after prolonged contact.
Menstruation is a normal part of most women’s lives. Approximately half of the female population, or roughly 26% of the global population, is of reproductive age.
Take good care of your health and stay clean at all times. If you experience any unusual symptoms during your period, see a gynecologist right away.