The date March 8 calls for recognising the achievements of women irrespective of the national, ethnic, linguistic, economic, political or cultural divisions. That’s because it is marked as International Women’s Day every year. As people celebrate women and their achievements on this day, it’s also important to highlight feminine hygiene. To keep infections at bay and to have good reproductive health, women should follow a feminine hygiene routine. Read on to find out when is the right time to start with feminine hygiene routine.
To know all about the most essential feminine hygiene tips, HealthShots connected with Dr Thejaswini J, Consultant – Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Electronic City, Bengaluru.
What is feminine hygiene?
We have repeatedly heard people stressing on the importance of washing hands and bathing. As for feminine hygiene, it is a set of practices and routine care that women follow to maintain their genital and reproductive health, says Dr Thejaswini. The genital area contains bacteria, sweat, and other debris that can cause infections if not cleaned regularly. Maintaining good feminine hygiene practices involves
• Washing the vulva with water and mild soap every day
• Using clean and breathable underwear and not seamless synthetic undies
• Changing sanitary pads or tampons frequently during menstruation
• Trimming pubic hair
Using intimate hygiene products like vaginal wipes, powders, and deodorants can also help. But the expert says that it’s essential to choose products that are gentle, fragrance-free, and pH-balanced to avoid disrupting the natural bacterial balance of the vagina.
What’s the right time to focus on feminine hygiene
While you should stay clean since birth, women should start focusing on feminine hygiene from puberty. This is the time when the body undergoes significant hormonal changes, and girls begin to experience menstruation. It’s crucial to educate them about the importance of maintaining good hygiene practices to prevent infections and promote overall health. They should be taught how to use sanitary pads, side effects of not changing sanitary pad frequently, and how to wash the genital area with water and mild soap. They should also be encouraged to change their underwear daily and avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing.
Importance of feminine hygiene
Following feminine hygiene tips is crucial for overall women’s health and well-being. Poor hygiene practices can lead to infections such as bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections and urinary tract infections.
These conditions can cause discomfort, pain, and in severe cases, lead to infertility and other complications, says Dr Thejaswini.
Maintaining good hygiene practices can also help prevent sexually transmitted infections and cervical cancer. Women should also maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption to promote reproductive health.
Vaginal douching and steaming trends
One look at social media and you will find many women promoting vaginal douching and steaming. Well, they are not recommended by healthcare professionals, as they can disrupt the natural bacterial balance of the vagina and increase the risk of infections, says the expert. Vaginal douching involves flushing the vagina with water or other solutions. It sounds like the best way to stay clean down there, but this process can remove the healthy bacteria and irritate the vaginal lining.
As for vaginal steaming, it involves sitting over a pot of hot water that is infused with herbs, which can also cause burns and infections. Now that sounds painful! You should avoid these trends and focus on following simple feminine hygiene tips like washing with water and mild soap, and wearing clean and breathable underwear. If you experience symptoms like vaginal discharge, itching or odour, you should consult a healthcare professional for appropriate treatment.