Menstrual hygiene tips that parents should give their daughters on menarche (first periods)

There are few tips which every parent should guide their daughter on their first periods. Dr Kiran Coelho, gynaecologist at Lilavati Hospital, said, “These tips should be followed by every woman to maintain menstrual hygiene and keep themselves away from infections.”

Method of sanitation

There are a number of ways including the use of sanitary napkins, tampons and menstrual cups to stay clean. In India, most unmarried girls prefer to use sanitary napkins. Frequent switching between brands can make you uncomfortable and may lead to rashes.

Changing pads/cups/tampons regularly

The standard time to change a sanitary pad is once every four hours, while for a tampon is once every two hours. While some women might have a heavy flow and would need to change more often, others will need to change less frequently. There are a few instances where your sanitary napkin or tampon might not be completely used, usually on days when you have a lesser flow but you must change at regular intervals.

When the menstrual products are not changed frequently for a long time can lead to conditions like urinary tract infection (UTI), vaginal infections and skin rashes. In the case of tampons, if left inserted into the vagina for long periods of time it can cause a condition called toxic shock syndrome (TSS).

Washing regularly

It is important to wash your vagina. Use warm water to clean. Don’t use soaps or vaginal hygiene products. The vagina has its own cleaning mechanism that works in a very fine balance of good and bad bacteria. Washing it with soap can kill the good bacteria making way for infections. So, while it is important to wash yourself regularly during this time, all you need to use is some warm water. You can use soap on the external parts but do not use it inside your vagina or vulva.

Direction to wash

Always wash or clean the area in a motion that is from the vagina to the anus. Never wash in the opposite direction. Washing in the opposite direction can cause bacteria from the anus to lodge in the vagina and urethral opening, leading to urinary tract infections.

Discarding sanitary products properly

It is very important to discard used napkins/tampons/cups properly because they are capable of spreading infections. It should be wrapped before throwing. It is advised not to flush down the toilet since they are capable of forming a block in the toilet.

Pad rash

A pad rash occurs when the pad has been wet for a long time and rubs along the thighs. To prevent this from occurring, try to staying dry during periods. If rash occurs, change your pads regularly and stay dry.

Regular Bath

Bathing not only cleanses body but also gives a chance to clean private parts as well. It also helps relieve menstrual cramps, backaches, helps improve your mood and makes you feel less bloated.