After Akshay Kumar’s Padman (2018), executive producer Guneet Monga further strengthened the dialogue around menstruation in India with her Oscar-winning documentary, Period. End Of Sentence. The 2018 Akshay Kumar-starrer, which was based on based on the true story of a man named Arunachalam Muruganantham, also took active steps to spread awareness on menstrual hygiene. Muruganantham, also called India’s Menstrual Man, revolutionised menstrual hygiene in rural India by inventing a low-cost sanitary napkin machine.
Even so, India still has a long way to go as several thousand women still use rags, leaves and other unsanitary substances during their periods. These not just restrict them to stay at home, they also affect their health. Here are some tips every woman should follow to maintain menstrual hygiene.
Keep your vaginal area clean It is important to keep your vaginal area clean especially during periods when there is blood flow from the body. Use warm water and diluted soap to wash the area. You can also use recommended vaginal washes available in the market to keep yourself clean. If, however, they irritate your skin or vagina, discontinue the use and speak to a doctor. The vagina also has a self-cleaning mechanism, so these washes aren’t really necessary for most women.
Never use two pads simultaneously No, two is not better than one. Some women who experience heavy flow, tend to use two sanitary pads at one go to control the flow and prevent staining of clothes. This, however, is a bad idea as it can cause infections in the vaginal region. Stick to one and keep changing it often if the flow is more.
Wear comfortable, clean underwear While changing your sanitary pad is essential, it is also important to wear something comfortable during these days. Tight thongs or underwear made of fabric that doesn’t allow your skin to breathe will also lead to infections. Stick to clean and comfortable cotton knickers that do not stick to your skin.
Change your pad every four hours If you use sanitary pads to soak the flow during your periods, remember to change it often. Ideally, changing it every four hours is good. If not every day, do this on the first two days when the flow is heavier. On others too, don’t wear the same pad for more than eight hours.
Clean reusable pads properly There are sanitary napkins that can be reused for several menstrual cycles. If you use one of these, ensure that you clean them thoroughly after every use so that there are no germs and there is no scope of infection. Follow the instructions given and don’t reuse them after the said number of uses.