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Menstrual Hygiene And Essential Practices

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Menstruation or periods is a natural biological process in women or AFAB.  A lack of discussion around menstruation leads to unawareness surrounding period hygiene.

Menstrual hygiene refers to the practices carried out during menstruation to maintain cleanliness and prevent infections of the reproductive tract. 

Factors like lack of education or supplies lead to poor hygiene during menstruation.|

In this article, we discuss some important menstrual practices that are important for hygiene and the consequences of not following them.

Importance of Menstrual Hygiene

Usually, a girl begins to bleed around the age of 13 or 14 and stops bleeding at the time of Menopause, in her late 40s or early 50s.

Every day, there are at least 300 million women or people who are on their period. 

Taking care of yourself during menstruation is very important, as it helps reduce odor, and irritation and prevent infections. 

Let us discuss the importance of period hygiene in detail. 

Reduces odor

Period blood can sometimes have an odor. Good period hygiene practices include keeping your genital area clean, using menstrual products like sanitary napkins, tampons, and menstrual cups, and changing them regularly, which can help you prevent the odor 

Prevent infection

The vagina has a balance of good bacteria. When you clean regularly during your period, it helps get rid of blood and stops bad bacteria from growing, which could cause infections.

Reduce Irritation

Menstrual blood can cause itching and irritation if left in contact with the skin for a long time. Proper hygiene practices during your period help prevent itching and keep you comfortable.

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  • Consequences of Poor Menstrual Hygiene

    Even now, periods are considered a stigma in many societies. This makes it difficult for women to share and discuss hygiene issues openly.

    Poor hygienic practices during periods can lead to severe infections. These infections include yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, UTIs, and Vulvovaginal Candidiasis.


    Urinary Tract Infections written on a white boardSource: pixelshot
    Urinary Tract Infections

    Urinary Tract Infections, or UTIs occur because of improper hygiene practices. Not cleaning your private area regularly can cause bacteria to enter the urethra, causing a UTI. Its common symptoms include burning sensations while urinating, frequent urination, and pelvic pain.

    Bacterial Vaginosis

    The imbalance of vaginal bacteria due to unhealthy practices like not changing pads or not washing regularly during periods can lead to an imbalance of vaginal bacteria. Some symptoms of bacterial vaginosis are a fishy odor, burning, and itching.

    Vulvovaginal Candidiasis

    It is a yeast infection that causes redness, itching, burning, and vaginal discharge. The warm and moist environment created by bad hygiene practices, like not changing pads or tampons regularly, can lead to yeast overgrowth, resulting in Vulvovaginal Candidiasis.

    According to research, nearly 500 million women don’t have access to period products. This leads to the infrequent changing of products or the adoption of unsanitary practices such as the use of cloth.

    Not changing your period products for long durations of time heightens the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Toxic Shock Syndrome is a rare infection but is serious in nature.

    Menstrual Hygiene Management

    Ensuring proper Menstrual Hygiene Management is essential for maintaining women’s health and well-being.

    Proper hygiene helps in reducing the risk of infections and promoting dignity during menstruation. 

    Here are some simple tips to follow for a healthy and comfortable period:

    • Use gentle soap and water instead of harsh soaps, chemicals, or scented soaps to wash the outer area of your vagina, i.e., the Vulva
    • Shower regularly during your periods to stay clean and fresh. Always remember to wash your hands before changing your period products
    • It is important and beneficial to change your pads, tampons, or menstrual cups regularly to avoid infection. Menstrual cups should also be emptied and cleaned properly
    • Throw away used pads or tampons in a dustbin. Never dispose of them in the toilet
    • Drink enough liquids and stay hydrated. This helps in preventing infections
    Did You Know?
    Menstrual Hygiene Day, or MHH, was started by a German Non-Profit Organisation, WASH United, in 2013. The NGO acts as a coordinator around the globe and also creates and shares campaigns about period health.


    Menstrual hygiene is an essential aspect of a woman’s reproductive health. 

    Periods are considered a stigma in many societies, preventing women from talking about it openly. 

    Poor period hygiene, or its lack thereof, can lead to UTIs, skin irritation, and infections like Vulvovaginal Candidiasis or yeast infection. Good period hygiene practices help reduce irritation and odor and prevent infections during periods.

    Menstrual hygiene practices like changing period products frequently, washing your genital area, and disposing of period products correctly help you have a comfortable period every month.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    When is Menstrual Hygiene Day?

    The 28th of May every year is marked as Menstrual Hygiene Day. It is observed to raise awareness about the importance of hygiene during menstruation and encourage open discussions about it.

    Are menstrual cups safe to use?

    Yes, menstrual cups are safe to use if used properly. They are a very good and affordable option as opposed to pads and tampons because they are reusable. They are also a sustainable choice and don’t harm the environment.

    Does period blood carry bacteria?

    Yes, period blood does carry certain levels of bacteria. The human body is built to handle this bacteria. Hence, maintaining good hygiene habits can effectively reduce the risk of infections.

    How often should you change pads and tampons?

    Pads and tampons should be changed every 8 hours, depending on your flow. Do not wait until they are completely full. 

    How often should you wash your genital area during periods?

    You can wash your genital area as many times as required during your period. However, it is important to be gentle during washing. 

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    Photo of author Janet Fudge
    Janet Fudge is a highly skilled and experienced pharmacologist who serves as a contributing writer for With a strong academic background from a premier US University and a passion for helping others, Janet has become a trusted voice in the pharmaceutical world. After completing her Doctor of Pharmacy degree, Janet embarked on a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, working with various clients, including hospitals, retail pharmacies, and drug manufacturers. Her in-depth knowledge of pharmacology and dedication to patient-centered care has led her to excel in her field. As a writer for, Janet uses her wealth of expertise to provide readers with accurate, reliable, and up-to-date information on various topics related to medicine and healthcare. Her engaging writing style and ability to break down complex topics into easily digestible content make her a valuable resource for healthcare professionals and the general public.
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