The 28 May marks menstrual hygiene day globally and annually. This specific day is dedicated to educating and informing people especially girls and women about menstruation.
Menstruation is the periodic shedding of the lining of a woman's uterus. This occurs monthly for about 3-7 days to every normal and healthy woman. The average age to get a period sits at around 12.5 years old but there's precocious puberty which is girls getting their period as young as 7 or 8 years old.
I remember having my first period fourteen years ago and to be honest, I kept silent because I didn't know how to talk about it. But thanks to school, I knew how to exactly go about it without telling my parents which seemed to work for sometime.
It's a normal occurrence not to say natural and a blessing to womanhood. It's so unfortunate that up to date, menstruation is considered a taboo among some cultures where the girls or women are stigmatized, in more worse situations girls drop out of school because of lack of access to sanitary products needless say, lack of sanitary awareness.
It's on days as these that we bring the knowledge and end the silence and stigma on menstruation and bring to your understanding on how to go about Menstrual Hygiene Management. Hygiene is very vital from this point on as the blessing could easily become a predicament if not handled well. Below are tips on how to maintain good hygiene during a period;
- Ensuring that the sanitary product is safe for use whether its pads, pads or a cloth sanitary towel.
- Changing your pad or tampon every 4-6 hours or when it is full and plus keep checking for stains as it might be heavier. Leaving it too long might result into bad odour and irritation like rashes or even risk urinary tract infections
- Washing of the genital area daily. It's important to keep the area clean and remove any harmful bacteria that remains after removal of sanitary products.
- Disposing off of used sanitary products correctly after use. Wrap the used product in a few layers of tissue upon disposal. Don't flush as this might clog the drainage system. Cloth sanitary towels must be washed clean with disinfectants like vinegar to kill germs and dried under direct sunlight.
- After toilet use, wipe correctly from front to back and not back to front if need be, wash the genitals with clean water.Most importantly, wash your hands with clean water soap.
With all that in mind, precaution has to be taken avoid sexual encounters. Menstruation is an indicator of possible pregnancy in case of sexual intercourse. It is the only and true test of fertility so you wouldn't want to get pregnant as young as you are.
Menstruation doesn't mean you are grown, it's just nature calling.
Learning how to mark the calendar especially on the day you start helps in keeping track of the special days and not to risk any unplanned for disasters since this happens monthly say every after a cycle which is about twenty eight days.
As mentioned earlier, menstruation is a normal occurrence but it has problems associated with it.
Menstrual problems like cramps which is pain during, before or after the period. This could be abdominal pain, bloating, fatigue or even a little lower back pain. The pain could be eased with hot water bottle gently placed at the abdomen, drinking warm lemon juice could also help. However, there are severe cases which include vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, dizziness which could be indicators for medical help.
Lengthy bleeding could also require attention as it not healthy and indicate serious medical complications.
Good feeding is strongly advisable, drinking plenty of fluids to enable the body's metabolism in shedding out the dead tissue.
By the way, it's until today that I realized days as these exist on the calendar and I know there's others who are just getting to know about Menstrual Hygiene Day.
Now that you know, what could you do to educate others about menstruation?
Did you know that there are ladies out there that can't access sanitary products? Thanks to organisations that I know of, that have provided the less privileged with both knowledge and sanitary products.
You could also find out these organisations and sign up on how you could be part of the movement either by donating sanitaries or going on missions to give knowledge as well as gaining perspective on menstruation. Together we can make a difference.Thanks to the men who have also joined in to educate and help the girls and women on menstruation. It's not only left for the women to deal with, the men as well play a role in breaking the silence to provide a balanced support system. So there's nothing to be ashamed of, it's a beautiful thing that could ever happen to any girl or woman.
PS; as a lady always have a pad or tampon at your disposal it could come in handy you know, to help out another lady in need.