Being clean and hygienic during your period is an absolute non-negotiable. Of course, cleanliness is important in general but when you’re bleeding and there are other factors involved, it becomes significantly more important.
TC46 collaborated with Dr. Sunal Kumta, a consulting OB-GYN at Fortis Hospital Mulund, to share some tips and suggestions to maintain impeccable hygiene during your period.
How Often Should You Change Your Pad?
Ideally, you should change your pad every six to eight hours. Changing your pad is important because a wet or damp pad can increase the growth of bacteria in your vaginal area, and cause an infection.
You should also change it often to avoid funky odours and general discomfort.
Hygiene Dos And Don’ts
1. Discard Your Pad Properly
Always wrap your pad in paper or a plastic bag and discard it properly. Do not flush it down the toilet.
2. Only Wash With Water
Wash your outer vagina and genital area with water. Do not use soap, cleaning liquid or any other such products.
3. Avoid Scented Products
Along with scented soaps and cleansers, avoid using scented pads as well. These can irritate or damage the gentle genital area.
4. Drink Water
Drink lots of water during your period to keep fatigue at bay, and more importantly, to prevent any urinary tract infections (UTIs).
5. Wipe From Front To Back
While cleaning your genital area, wipe from front to back to avoid any contamination from the anal region. This is a good rule to follow for every day, not just when you’re on your period!
6. Visit A Gynaec Regularly
For good reproductive health, visit a gynaecologist regularly to check if you’re healthy and if you need to be cautious about certain things. Prevention is always better than cure!
Signs You May Have An Infection
While we all try our absolute best to be clean and hygienic, chances are that most of us will have at least one vaginal infection in our lifetime. Here are some things you need to keep an eye out for:
- Burning and itching of the vagina
- Increase or decrease in vaginal discharge
- A change in colour of the vaginal discharge
- Swollen or inflamed skin around your vulva and vagina
- Pain or burning during urination
- Pain during penetrative vaginal sex
- Bleeding or spotting outside of your period
Vaginal Infections And When You Should See A Gynaec
Vaginal infections can be quite common in terms of symptoms, so it can be difficult to recognise exactly what kind of infection you have just on the basis of the symptoms. If you are facing any of the symptoms listed above, please visit your gynaecologist at the earliest.
Here are some vaginal infections you should know about:
1. Bacterial Vaginosis
Caused by the overgrowth of bacteria found naturally in the vagina, bacterial vaginosis often causes a change in the colour of your vaginal discharge. You may also notice a fish-like smell to the discharge, but there may not be any itching or burning.
2. Yeast Infections
The most common vaginal infection, yeast infections cause itching, burning and redness around your vulva. There will also be thick, lumpy white discharge, which is an immediate sign of a yeast infection.
A sexually transmitted infection, the symptoms are similar to other infections. You may experience irritation and burning in your genital area, redness and swelling of the vulva and yellow-grey or green vaginal discharge. You may also experience pain during urination.
4. Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhoea also present in ways that are similar to other vaginal infections. With chlamydia, you may experience inflammation of the vagina and bleeding in between periods. With gonorrhoea, you may experience pain during urination and odd vaginal discharge.
Taking care of yourself down there is a routine procedure, but we have to be aware that our vaginas have their own ecosystem and cannot be treated the same way as the rest of our body. Be a little more gentle and cautious while cleaning yourself, and make sure to always be clean and dry!
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