7 Basic Hygiene Practices that Every Woman Should Follow During and After Periods by Sexologist Dr. Martha Tara Lee

Hygiene makes an important part in our well-being. Small daily rituals like taking a bath, brushing your teeth, and changing your undergarments make a whole great difference.

Though these practices apply to both genders, women would need to take a step further especially during the special days of the month. We know it can be a hassle, but you have to pay attention to your hygiene during this time if you want to prevent any complications in the future.

Let’s jump on this very important topic of every woman: period and the necessary hygiene during and post period time.

What is Menstruation?

Menstruation is one of the crucial biological processes occurring in a woman’s body on a regular basis. This physiological phenomenon that every woman experiences deserve utmost caution and hygiene.

Although women undergo periods regularly; they may still overlook the importance of proper sanitation practices during these days. Ensuring menstrual hygiene management during menses is crucial as slight negligence makes women vulnerable to microbial infections.

Most of the women focus on physical hygiene while abandoning intimate hygiene. The negligence can lead to vaginal irritation, reproductive and urinary tract infections, and even cervical cancer.

Adopting adequate hygiene measures could avert the chances of these conditions.

1)    Washing genital area during the menstruation

Maintaining your genital hygiene is essential during menstruation. Proper hygiene measures during periods help to protect the genital areas from skin irritation, infections, and other related issues. Blood provides the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. Doctors suggest washing the genital area at least twice daily during menstruation to prevent microbial infection.

2) Thorough hand washing to prevent bacterial transmission

Apart from genital areas, proper handwashing is vital before using any menstrual product. It is important to prevent the transmission of bacteria to the genital area via hands. Similarly, wash your hands after using the product to prevent bacteria from spreading to other body parts.

3) Avoid scented products during periods.

During menstruation, it is imperative to avoid scented toilet paper or napkins. They contain different chemicals that may cause irritation and burn-like symptoms. Before using any product, make sure that they are fragrance and additive-free. Instead of using chemicals, prefer organic products, free from preservatives and pesticides.

Apart from toilet papers, scented oils, pads, powders, and deodorants should be avoided during and after periods as they may cause a reaction.

4) Changing pads frequently to prevent infection

Changing your pad frequently during the menstrual cycle is the utmost requirement that every woman needs to follow. According to health experts, avoiding the same pad for more than four hours is a crucial part of Menstrual hygiene management.

No matter if you are experiencing heavy or light blood flow, you should change your pad within four hours. The reason is that when menstrual blood leaves the body, it gets contaminated with the body’s natural microbes.

If you are using the same pad for longer than four hours, these organisms acquire favorable moist and warm conditions to multiply, which causes infections and irritations.

5) Essential hygiene practices while using tampons

If you prefer using tampons to absorb menstrual blood, try to use a saturated one to soak up all blood. The tampon is also a good choice for women as they are made of absorbent material. However, extra caution is required while using tampons as they are inserted into the vaginal opening.

Change your tampons every four to six hours as changing them after regular intervals are important. Using them for a long time can cause odor or infection.

6) Things to consider while using menstrual cups

In the recent few years, menstrual cups have become increasingly popular to be used during these periods. It is a small, bell-shaped cup inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual blood. They are made up of reusable materials that people wash and use again and again.

Menstrual cups are considered safe by doctors; however, proper hygiene measures are essential to prevent complications.

Menstrual cups can be used for 6 to 12 hours; however, they should be emptied twice a day and thoroughly washed before using again.8) Avoid douching after periods

Many women use vaginal douches after periods to wash the vagina and get rid of an unpleasant odor. Douching is a method that uses a mixture of vinegar and water, which comes in a spray bottle or bag.

Even douching once a week increases the risk of cervical cancer in women. Instead of douching, health experts recommend using water for washing the vagina to keep it clean.

Proper hygiene is crucial for your well-being. But the need is more pressing during and after periods. Take these simple measures to ensure that your body is safe from any kind of infection.


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Can I Wear the Same Pad All Day? (for Teens) – Nemours KidsHealth. (2018, July). The Nemours Foundation. https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/changing-pads.html

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About Dr. Martha Tara Lee

A born and bred Singaporean Chinese, Dr. Martha Tara Lee is Relationship Counselor and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching. She has a doctorate in human sexuality, masters in counselling and two other degrees. In practice for 12 years, Dr. Lee is also the appointed Resident Sexologist for sexual wellness boutique PinkLifestyle.com and Clinical Sexologist of Singapore Cancer Society. She was recognised as one of ‘Top 50 Inspiring Women under 40’ by Her World in July 2010, and one of ‘Top 100 Inspiring Women’ by CozyCot in March 2011. She is the author of Love, Sex and Everything In-Between (2013),  Orgasmic Yoga: Masturbation, Meditation and Everything In-Between (2015), From Princess to Queen: Heartbreaks, Heartgasms and Everything In-Between (2017), and {Un}Inhihibited (2019).