Menstrual hygiene- Tampons? Menstrual cups? Sanitary pads?
Menstruation or say periods! These words are enough to put women in distress. Though it’s a part of biological processes, women don’t feel comfortable during their periods due to the physical and mental swings(please reword) they face in that period. The next reason would be hygiene maintenance. Menstrual hygiene is as important as taking care of your day to day activities. Any compromise in menstrual hygiene can leave harmful effects in your body.
Status of sanitary essentials:
Talking about menstruation or menstrual hygiene aloud is considered as taboo. Women don’t step forward to take care of themselves because of these taboos prevailing in society. Also, the illiteracy and unawareness of women about menstrual hygiene are putting the lives of many women at risk.
Stigmatizing menstruation is happening all around the world. As a result, adolescent girls don’t get the opportunity to learn about menstruation and are unaware of the menstrual hygiene products like sanitary pads, tampons, menstrual cups.
Alternatives to sanitary pads
Women were using old rags, mud, and cloth to collect the menstrual blood. You cannot completely deny that women aren’t using these methods anymore. The usage of sanitary pads has increased than in the past.
Sanitary pads are made of absorbent material which is worn in the underwear of women to prevent menstrual blood flow from leakage. Sanitary pads are preferred by most women as they are very easy to use and dispose of. Sanitary pads to carry certain risks when not used properly. The discussion, whether sanitary pads cause cancer or not is doing rounds for a very long time. What really causes health issues is based on usage and disposal.
Pads come in varies sizes that are for light and heavy periods. Also, it comes in deodorizing scents, which may sometimes cause irritation in the vagina. Even if you are not menstruating, changing your pad every 4 hours is important. If you choose pads for the heavy period it is better if you can change them in lesser time. Also changing the pad often will avoid odor and irritation around your genital areas.
Tampons are also menstrual hygiene product inserted into the vagina during menstruation. A tampon inserted correctly expands once it soaks up the blood. They have a string at the end which stays outside your body so you can remove them easily.
These features of tampons make women fear that it might get lost inside the body. Don’t worry ladies; it cannot happen because the opening of the cervix is s just too tiny for a tampon to get through. But using a tampon can you be less conscious that something is inside and work normally, yes you can. Just after a few uses, you will be comfortable with tampons.
Always remove tampons after 4-6 hours of use because tampons are not visible like pads. Keeping a tampon for a long time will give place bacteria to grow.
Menstrual cups are made of silicon material which has to be inserted inside the vagina like tampons. The cup has to be folded properly and inserted so it collects the blood in it. It has a stem at the end of the cup which is used to remove the cup.
These cups can be used for 4-10 hours depending on the blood flow. Cleaning and maintenance must be given more importance when using a menstrual cup. Since they collect blood rather than absorbing they must be cleaned properly and used the next time.
People in places without access to water can choose other options like sanitary pads and tampons. For every use, the cup must be washed, rinsed and boiled in water for at least 5 minutes. Advantages of using menstrual cup are that they reduce menstrual wastes, long term use of one cup reduces the amount of money you spend on sanitary essentials, and importantly they are eco-friendly.
Menstrual hygiene that you need to follow:
- Cleanliness and access to menstrual hygiene products is the first step to avoid health issues related to periods.
- Changing the sanitary pads every 4 hours is essential to avoid infections.
- Washing your hands every time you change your pads and disposing them properly ensures hygienic surroundings.
- When a cloth is used as sanitary napkins it’s important to wash them with detergents and dry them in the sun.
- Good menstrual hygiene management can keep you away from rashes in the genital area; reduce the risk of cervical cancer and other urinal infections.
- A healthy way to treat periods will be treating it as a normal biological process.