Blood is a favorable environment for bacteria to thrive, which is why doctors recommend rinsing the genital area at least twice a day while on your period: in the morning and evening. It is acceptable to do this more often if you feel uncomfortable. Insufficient menstrual hygiene can lead to unpleasant consequences.
The vagina is a self-cleaning organ. It is very important that you don’t disrupt its natural flora, and this is exactly what happens if you use regular soap or even specific cosmetic products for intimate hygiene. Doctors recommend washing the genital area with plain warm water without soap.
The correct answer is from front to back. Remember that you first need to wash your labia, and only after that proceed to the perineum and anus. This will reduce the likelihood of pathogenic microorganisms and traces of fecal matter entering the vaginal area.
The female reproductive system is very cleverly organized and doesn’t require additional cleaning from the inside. For that reason, healthcare professionals strongly object to any hygiene procedures aimed at washing away the healthy vaginal flora (such as douching, for example).
Always choose sanitary products with an absorbency level appropriate for your menstrual flow. Changing them less frequently than once in 4–8 hours (4 hours for pads and 4-8 hours for tampons) may be fraught with unpleasant consequences because a hygienic product is a breeding ground for bacteria and infections.
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There is no need to deprive yourself of the pleasure of taking a bath while on your period. Normally, running water can’t do any harm. However, make sure the bathtub itself is clean since during menstruation your immune system is more susceptible to infection.
Feminine hygiene deodorants and sprays are among the factors that trigger vaginitis (its symptoms include itching, redness, abnormal and heavy vaginal discharge).
Any contact between the vulva and the chemicals contained in any sanitary products, including feminine hygiene deodorants, should be minimized. It is best that you use wet wipes or rinse your genital area with water.
You can replace toilet paper with wet wipes, which are softer and more delicate. Choose products that are free from alcohol and flavoring agents and have a balanced pH level.
Wet wipes containing alcohol or having an inappropriate pH level can cause skin and mucous membrane irritation.
The vagina’s pH is acidic due to beneficial lactobacilli inhabiting it. They protect the body against infections and other pathogens.
Many experts recommend washing the genital area with running warm water without any detergents, and some suggest using intimate hygiene products with an acidic pH of 3.8.
In fact, hot water doesn’t really work for this type of stains. Wash a fresh stain with cold water using regular (cream-free) soap, and it will leave no traces.
Some sanitary products come in contact with the anal area. They can get contaminated by intestinal bacteria.
To prevent transmitting the bacteria found on the hygiene product to the body via your hands, you should wash your hands after changing your menstrual product.
During the day, when you are active, your menstrual flow is normally heavier, so the pad absorbs more blood, sweat, and sebum. This creates a breeding ground for bacteria, which is why you shouldn’t wear one pad for more than 4 hours.
When you are asleep, your bodily functions slow down and the bleeding intensity decreases, so it is acceptable to wear a pad overnight.
Roll up a used pad, wrap it in the wrapper of the new one or in toilet paper, and then throw it away (for tampons, just toilet paper is enough). This will help block the smell and prevent the spread of bacteria which can build up in there over time.
Flushing even the smallest hygiene product can easily clog the sewer. If there is no trash bin in the bathroom, you can at worst take the used pad (tampon) with you and throw it away somewhere else.