Most females attain “Menarche” or the First Menstrual cycle by the age of 11 – 14 Years. During this time their bodies are going through rapid physical changes, thanks to puberty. And Menarche adds a new dimension to the whole development process. Menstruation is a biological process transforming a girl’s body and is a significant sign of reproductive capability of a woman.
When a girl starts to menstruate, she needs to know about ways to deal with menstrual flow and to maintain hygiene during that period of the month.
Dealing with the flow – there are various options available in the market to deal with the menstrual flow and deciding on which one to use is a personal preference. The options available are:
Disposable sanitary pads: these are often times made of cotton/foam (bleached) or unbleached cotton with absorbent core. These are meant for single use only.
Reusable cloth pads: made of cloth that can be washed, dried and reused.
Tampons: these are cylindrical shaped absorbent material inserted in vagina to absorb menstrual flow
Menstrual Cups: these are bell shaped cups made from medical grade silicon which are worn inside vagina to collect menstrual flow. These cups can be washed and reused
While selecting any of the above, you also have to ensure that your preferred device prevents the flow from spoiling your clothes.
Maintaining hygiene during menstrual cycle:
Menstrual hygiene is significant in ensuring that your everyday life does not get interrupted by menstruation. It ensures that you can continue with your daily routine such as managing work or household chores or even young girls attending their schools. Maintaining proper hygiene also ensures that you never run into potential situations of embarrassment and hence makes you feel confident about yourself and your body.
Few things that you can ensure to maintain hygiene are:
- Staying healthy and active: Staying healthy and active is as important as any other effort you make to be prepared for menstruation. Leading a healthy and stress free life can keep your menstrual cycle regular and periodical. On the contrary, an unhealthy lifestyle can disrupt your menstrual cycle and it becomes difficult to predict your next period. Leading an active and stress free life ensures that you have timely and uniform menstrual cycle. A balanced diet including appropriate amounts of essential nutrients also plays an important role in regularizing your periods and help maintain a healthy physical and mental wellbeing.
- Prepare yourself for the periods: There are ways you can prepare yourself for your periods.
- You can record your period dates in a calendar. To have them closer to you, those using computers or smartphones can download period tracking applications and record their dates.
- You must carry a pad with you nearing your period dates so you are not caught off-guard when your period start suddenly.
- Wearing a panty liner a few days before your periods start will not only help in absorbing the discharge before menstruation but will also absorb the initial flow if the cycle starts suddenly. Liners can come quite handy when you are travelling. Being slim in size, they easily fit in the purse.
- General Hygiene: you must follow these general hygiene tips to have a seamless menstruation cycle –
- Taking bath at least once a day
- Washing the genital area with a mild intimate wash at least once a day and washing it every time you use toilet
- Using clean undergarments and changing them regularly
- Preferably a cotton undergarment should be worn as cotton allows the skin to breath and doesn’t restrict the air flow
- Changing the pads regularly or if using cups, ensure you empty it in regular intervals
- Maintaining cleanliness and hygiene during this time is of utmost importance. If not taken care, bad hygiene can lead to various infections