Some women perceive menstruating as a very uncomfortable experience, while others look at it as a natural cleansing process.
Every woman may have a different view towards menstruation, but surely all women want to have a mess-free period, and a fresh and comfortable day. Just as brushing your teeth and washing your hands are essential habits to stay healthy, keeping yourself clean while on your period is equally important.
Aside from wanting to feel fresh and to keep your genital area clean, staying on top of personal hygiene is also important in preventing bacterial infection during menstruation. When you’re on your period, the pH balance in your vagina changes, which makes you slightly more vulnerable to contracting infections. Washing the genital area twice a day assures you of confidence that you don’t smell odd, and that you don’t catch an infection.
Use lukewarm water and mild, unperfumed soap to wash your genital area, or simply just water. Perfumed shower gels, bubble baths or soaps can dry out the delicate mucous membranes and the vagina, which can disrupt the sensitive pH balance. Wash your genitals like how you usually do— externally. Douching, or washing inside the vagina, isn’t really good, even on your period.
Always wear clean and fresh underwear ever day, and put on new sanitary pads or tampons frequently to prevent menstrual odor. Change your pad or tampon four to five times a day, or as needed especially on the days when your period is at its heaviest (like during the first two days of your flow). When you go to bed, a thicker night-time sanitary pad will protect you from leaks, and your bedding and night clothes from stains.
Wearing cotton underwear and loose fitting clothes are better during your period to keep you fresh and dry all day. Tight clothes or fabrics that constrain “breathing,” such as synthetic ones, can increase moisture and heat, which is attractive to bacteria. Avoid using vaginal deodorant and feminine sprays as well because these products are inessential and possible irritants.
It’s also advised to change your underwear or clothes after a workout or playing a sport because sweaty underwear can make you feel and smell awful. Also remember to wipe from front to back after using the toilet to avoid getting harmful bacteria from your rectum to your vagina. Practicing safe sex at all times is also important in maintaining proper hygiene, especially when you have your period because you are more prone to passing on or contracting blood-borne disease during menstruation.
If the thought of having menstrual odor bothers you, keep in mind that it’s completely normal for the vagina to have its own slight, unpleasant smell. If a strong odor persists despite keeping yourself clean, it’s best to consult a doctor to check for any infection.
Stick to these tips above, and you are assured of staying fresh and comfortable every day!