The facts about menstrual hygiene you need to know
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2019 marks the fourth year that the world is celebrating Menstrual Hygiene Day… yes this is actually a thing! There are multiple myths about menstrual hygiene and simply being on your period in general - and FYI, there is no evidence to show you are more likely to get eaten by a shark. Considering that globally 2.3 billion people still lack basic sanitation services, we should be taking all the care to ensure we’re looking after our lady parts.
Image credit: Billie, via UnsplashLet's get changed The first, most important thing to remember is to change regularly. Tampax recommend changing your tampon every four-six hours and never wearing them for longer than eight. Sanitary towels and menstrual cups should also be changed regularly. Not only is it important to change so as to avoid leaks and overflow but also to avoid nasty infections. Blood is a very favourable environment for bacteria to thrive and the build-up of old blood can become the perfect breeding ground for urinary trapped infections. Washing Washing whilst on your period is also extremely important. Medical professionals recommend washing your vagina with just warm water and with no perfumed soaps or shower washes. If you would rather use something other than water there are several things available, but make sure that they have no nasty chemicals in. The vagina is amazingly clever and basically washes itself so shower gels just aren’t needed and can lead you to feel itchy and irritated and may cause infections. It isn’t vital to change your washing routine when you’re on your period, other than maybe upping the amount you do wash. You should never wash inside your vagina (also known as ‘douching’) though because this could get rid of some of the healthy bacteria and cause an imbalance in your pH. You can still bathe You can also still enjoy a relaxing soak in the bath when it’s your time of the month, something that a surprising amount of people think you should avoid. Having a bath can't really do any harm but Flo Health recommends making sure the tub itself is clean as your “immune system is more susceptible to infection when you’re menstruating.”
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- Always use a tampon with the lowest absorbency suitable for your menstrual flow
- Never insert more than one tampon at a time
- When using a tampon at night, insert a fresh tampon before going to bed and remove it on waking