Women: Maintaining Menstrual Hygiene.

Dr. Bolanle Aderehinwo

Do you know that a woman’s level of cleanliness may become very obvious during menstruation and can be disgusting if such a woman knows little or nothing about menstrual hygiene? 

Imagine being stained after standing up in a public bus or you were in a party and were called to dance unexpectedly and you stood up only to hear a whisper that you were stained.

Having an ongoing menstrual flow is a call of nature in which the woman must adjust and cope with.

Apart from being clean, the word “hygiene” may connote orderliness and comportment, letting things be the way they should be to enhance high levels of cleanliness.

Menstrual hygiene involves knowing your period (adequate knowledge) and mastering everything surrounding your flow, including keeping yourself clean.

Let’s have some first hand information about menstruation.

Menstruation or menses as a lay man will call it, is a cyclical or monthly (usually 28 days) bleeding from a woman’s womb.

It is important to know that menstruation is preceded by initial build-up of rich blood supply in the walls of the womb and an unfertilized egg or ovum.

Every month, these blood vessels get broken down and bleed all the way, in the presence of hormonal regulation, then come out as blood that you see every month.

For sometimes now I have seen women who thought that anytime their menstrual flow didn’t come, there is probably something holding the blood back in the womb and the blood will be accumulating in the womb.

This is a myth, the fact is that menstrual flow is regulated by hormones and anything that shifts the balance of these hormones may either prevent the blood vessels (as mentioned above) from forming or prevent them from breaking down.

That blood is accumulating in the womb is not scientific in a woman who has been menstruating before and has no womb abnormality. You should see a doctor to evaluate why your flow is delaying. 

Menstrual flow should be for an average 2-7 days. A flow of just 2days is normal and a flow not more than 7days is normal.

The volume expected to flow out is about 20-80mls of blood, if more than this, we raise eyebrows.

This will be calculated or suspected from the increase in the number of soaked pads you used daily and whether you have some symptoms during or after the flow. If you experience too heavy flow, see a doctor to be evaluated.

Another thing you should know is that the average number of days between the start of one period and the start of another one is usually 21-35 days (cycle length).

If it is less than 21days or more than 35 days, you should worry. It is also a fact that it is possible to see your period twice a month as long as the days in between them are up to 21days.

This means you should count your period. Your last menstrual period, your period length and days of flow are the 3 things you must keep at your fingers tip every month as they may or may not change.

What should you do before your flow starts? 

As a lady, your goal especially a week before the commencement of your flow should be to prevent constipation, eat a healthy diet, avoid sugary things, take a lot of fruits, find time to exercise and increase your resting time.

Let’s look at the highlights of cleanliness during menstruation.

First, I know of a lady who ended up having some infections from lack of proper menstrual hygiene. Infections affecting the urinary tract (where urine comes from) for example is not uncommon in this case. Take these tips:

  1. Use sanitary towels not clothes.
  2. Change sanitary towels at least twice per day.
  3. Have a regular bathe or at least a good wash preferably after a change of pad.
  4. While putting on your pad, do not allow your fingers or any part of your body to touch the inner part that will come in contact with your vagina opening.
  5. Use perfumes or deodorant, I mean You should smell nice.
  6. Carry an extra sanitary towel in your purse when going out.
  7. Dispose used pads neatly in a waste basket/bag
  8. Wear cotton panties instead of nylon. Nylon pantie conserves heat which can encourage proliferation of microorganisms.
  9. Iron all your pants at the end of your flow or better still sun dry after wash.
  10. If you notice anything strange in your body or about your flow, visit your doctor.

In conclusion, you must know about your body functions generally and when it comes to menstrual hygiene, you know you just have to keep it clean and near perfect.

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