Menstrual Hygiene Day: Effects of poor menstrual hygiene and how to improve it Health

Menstrual Hygiene Day, observed on May 28, highlights the critical importance of proper menstrual hygiene management. The health, happiness and empowerment of women and girls all suffer as a result of improper management of menstrual hygiene. Menstruation is a natural and normal process experienced by women, yet social taboos, cultural beliefs, and limited access to resources often lead to inadequate practices. According to the most recent National Family Health Survey (2020-21), more than 30% of women aged 15 to 24 do not use hygienic methods for protection during their periods.

Inadequate knowledge and poor hygiene during menstruation can lead to various health problems.  (file photo)
Inadequate knowledge and poor hygiene during menstruation can lead to various health problems. (file photo)

Inadequate knowledge and poor hygiene during menstruation can lead to various health problems. On this day, it is important to shed light on the consequences of improper menstrual hygiene management and its impact on women’s health. By raising awareness and promoting proper menstrual hygiene, we can empower women to live healthier and more confident lives. (Also read: Menstrual Hygiene Day 2023: Date, History, Significance, Theme, Tips for Menstrual Hygiene )

Consequences of Improper Menstrual Hygiene on Women’s Health:

Gynecologist and medical consultant of the Democratic Union Dr. Prajwala Addagatla shares HT Lifestyle, five consequences of improper menstrual hygiene management and tips to improve it.

1. Increases the chance of catching an infection

Maintaining inadequate hygiene during menstruation increases the chances of getting or contracting infections that can have long-term effects on a woman’s health. Yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and urinary tract infections are some of the basic catches a woman can develop, which are the result of bacterial proliferation and moisture.

Therefore, it is only important to understand that a woman should be aware that changing sanitary napkins or products every 4-6 hours is not only necessary but important to maintain her hygiene. If reusable items are used, they should be thoroughly dried and cleaned using warm water before reuse.

2. Burning, itching, and rashes in the vaginal area

Another thing that a woman should be educated about is that prolonged use of napkins or any sanitary product can cause itching, rashes and skin irritation. Redness and soreness can result from rubbing your skin against a moist surface. Also, poor-quality sanitary products with insufficient ventilation and absorption can lead to fungal infections.

Therefore, it is imperative that correct awareness should be set aside from time to time, educating women to choose correct sanitary items with adequate absorption and breathability, which can help avoid skin discomfort. In addition, hygiene can be maintained by practicing proper personal hygiene, including washing the vaginal area with mild soap and water during menstruation.

3. Reproductive health problems

A pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or endometriosis can develop as a result of an infection, brought on by improper management of menstrual hygiene, that spreads to the reproductive organs. These diseases can cause long-term consequences such as constant discomfort, problems with fertility, and others. Menstruating women need to practice good hygiene practices to protect their reproductive health. Additionally, they should seek immediate medical attention if they experience any symptoms of discomfort or notice problems, such as painful pelvic discomfort, unusual bleeding, or strange/unusual discharge.

4. Regular hand hygiene

It is very important to understand that keeping clean hands is essential, not only during the period but also for your general health. To avoid the risk of yeast infection or hepatitis B you should be sure to clean your hands thoroughly for at least two minutes both before and after using/changing period product.

5. Interferes with daily routines and tasks

Improper menstrual hygiene management can hamper women’s daily activities at both personal and professional levels. Fear of leakage or discomfort can prevent women from fully engaging in their regular routines, which has a negative impact on their overall well-being. To ensure active participation, women should be aware of carefully selecting menstrual products that suit their needs and preferences. It is also essential to provide adequate sanitation facilities in workplaces, schools and public places, including clean toilets with running water and disposal systems.

Talking about inadequate menstrual hygiene practices in India, Brahmachari Chaitanya, founder of Prajatantrika Sangh (an NGO dedicated to breaking taboos and promoting menstrual hygiene), shared with HT Lifestyle, “In India, especially women in rural areas, there is a lack of essential services like clean. access to washrooms or menstrual products are available affordably. Also, due to lack of awareness, these women rarely pay attention to maintaining basic hygiene, which means many go without using proper sanitary wear during menstruation. Talking about menstruation is still fun in rural villages in India and therefore , many women still hesitate to discuss personal matters, which makes it even more difficult for them to learn about it. To promote the positivity of menstruation in men is evident in this situation.”

“Failure to manage menstruation hygienically can lead to feelings of shame, embarrassment and low self-esteem. Furthermore, social taboos and insufficient knowledge about menstruation can contribute to stigmatizing women during their period. To address these issues, it is important to promote public awareness programmes. To do this, raising awareness among both women and men, breaking the silence about menstruation, creating a supportive environment where women can openly discuss their menstrual health, and providing access to affordable and hygienic menstrual products can help reduce psychological distress and social stigma related to menstruation. ” is the conclusion of Brahmachari.

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