Maintaining good genital hygiene is necessary whatever the time of the month, but why is menstrual hygiene so important?
Good menstrual hygiene helps to protect intimate health from bacterial infections, skin irritations and other health issues. It can help maintain confidence, self-esteem and ensure we feel comfortable with our bodies when they’re menstruating.
Read on to find out our top tips on how to maintain menstrual hygiene during your cycle.
Change your period protection regularly
Always wash your hands, and change your period product every 2-4 or 4-6 hours, depending on the type of product and how heavy your flow is. Regularly changing your product of choice will prevent bacteria growing on the blood, which can create a bad odour and leave you more prone to infection.
What period product should you use? The choice is up to you! Choose a product that you find comfortable and that is right for your flow.
Keep your labial area clean
You may not know this, but women are slightly more prone to bacterial infection when they’re on their period due to changing PH levels. Fun, huh? Doctors recommend washing your genitals twice a day even when you’re not on your period.
Make sure you wash correctly. Avoid using heavily perfumed soaps – these are guaranteed to be filled with chemicals that can disrupt the natural flora of the vagina. It’s best to use warm water, but if you feel like you need to use a soap make sure it has a mild, natural formula that is gentle on intimate skin. The vagina is self-cleaning so don’t try to wash the inside your vagina (also known as douching). This is a big no-no, even on your period! Just gently cleanse your vulva and the surrounding areas and your body will magically clean itself out.
Try wipes for on-the-go freshness
Menstruating can make you feel like you need to have a quick clean ‘down there’ more regularly, especially if your flow is heavy. Pad wearers are more prone to menstrual blood drying around the vulva. To help freshen up on the go, why not try flushable moist tissues? They’ll leave you feeling cleaner between period product changes, and they’re TRULY safe to flush down the toilet!
During your period, your body temperature is warmer, which means more sweat. If you’re worried about odour or you’ve just come back from a gym session, carry some natural intimate wipes with you for a quick freshen up.
You can still run a bath!
Just because you’re on your period doesn’t mean you can’t relax and indulge in some ‘me-time’. In fact, your period is the perfect time to do so. Having a bath whilst on your period is a great stress-reliever for many. Plus, warm water can help ease menstrual cramps too!
You might worry about being in water during your period, but did you know you can even go swimming when you’re menstruating? Don’t deny yourself a relaxing bath when you’re mid flow to help relax.
Just make sure that the bath is clean beforehand as your immune system is slightly weakened when you menstruate.
Maintain good hygiene at night
There’s nothing worse than that worrying feeling of leaking on your period, right before you start to nod off. But worry not! You can still wear pads or tampons during your sleep. Just make sure you change your period protection right before you go to bed and as soon as you wake up. If your flow is heavy or you won’t be able to change your tampon within 6 hours, use a night time pad instead.
See here if you want more tips on how to stop period leaks at night.
Whatever product you choose, make sure it contains natural materials and organic cotton that allow your skin to breathe. Synthetic materials can increase moisture and heat in the genital area leaving you prone to infection (never mind feeling uncomfortable!).
Dispose of your used period products hygienically
Maintaining good intimate hygiene whilst on your period is important, but have you ever considered how best to dispose of your used period products?
Once used, wrap up your period protection product and put it in a bin. Never flush pads, panty liners or tampons down the loo. In fact, you should only ever flush the 3 P’s (pee, paper and poo) – especially to avoid fatbergs.
To truly dispose of your used period products safely and hygienically, only use biodegradable and organic pads, panty liners and tampons as these menstrual products can be composted and returned to the soil. Don’t worry if you don’t home compost. Biodegradable products will break down safely in landfill and won’t remain on the planet for 500 years – which is not good environment hygiene!
What are your top tips for maintaining good hygiene on your period? Comment below!