Menstruation comes with its fair share of misconceptions, myths and cultural beliefs. And while there are those who are working to change societal attitudes, until that happens, it is the common woman who suffers. The negativity around menstruation leads to poor menstrual hygiene. Before we look into the health risks that can result from poor menstrual hygiene, let’s understand more about common menstrual hygiene practices.
To begin with, a woman needs to manage her menstrual hygiene in a private space. Often this is hard to come by. The other things required include access to clean water and soap every few hours and a hygienic disposal method. For most of us, this may not count as much, but for a lot of people faced with the taboo of society, even these basics are a huge blessing. For example, some people forbid women from drying their menstrual clothes openly. The result? Women end up wearing damp clothes, increasing the risk of infection.
Even those who don’t have to deal with societal pressures may not be aware of how to maintain their menstrual hygiene. For example some women believe in wearing two or more pads when they have a heavy flow. This actually works against them as they tend to wait until both pads fill up before changing, resulting in poor hygiene management.
Poor menstrual hygiene can lead to a number of health problems. We at Stay Sure take you through a few of these.
- Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): This common infection amongst women is characterized by a burning feeling while urinating, dark colored and foul smelling urine, pain in the abdomen and maybe even fever & chills amongst other symptoms. It occurs when harmful bacteria enter the urinary tract, causing infection. Improper washing of external genitalia especially during menstruation and the use of unhygienic menstrual products can cause UTI.
2. Yeast Infections (Candidiasis): Yeast is a kind of fungus that is found in the vagina. When an infection occurs it means that there is too much yeast being produced. While there are many reasons for yeast infection to occur, changes in hormone levels during menstruation is one main reason. This coupled with poor menstrual hygiene is a recipe for disaster.
3. RTIs & Cervical Cancer: Beginning in the cervix, harmful bacteria can enter a woman’s blood stream causing reproductive tract infections (RTIs). When these are left untreated they can further lead to cervical cancer. While the exact causes of cervical cancer is not known, lack of menstrual hygiene is a major factor that contributes to the development of this disease.
4. Fungal Infections: Poor menstrual hygiene can lead to fungal infections and skin infections including rash, redness and itching.
5. Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is an infection affecting the liver. Symptoms include nausea, extreme weakness, yellowing of the skin and eyes etc. Hepatitis B is largely transmitted through bodily fluids including menstrual discharge. Failing to wash hands after changing a sanitary napkin can increase the risk of developing Hepatitis B.
Women should not be forced to suffer these health risks in silence. They should be able to openly address these health issues. Also as we can see, even women who can be open about menstruation need to brush up on their hygiene habits. Poor menstrual hygiene also poses a serious threat to a woman’s reproductive health and increases the risk of having a still born child.
At StaySure, menstrual hygiene is of prime importance to us. Using our wide range products correctly, women can go through their menstrual cycle comfortably and most importantly, hygienically.