Feminine hygiene as a concept did not garner much attention until the last decade or so. Before that, talking about menstruation or any kind of intimate hygiene for women was a very hush-hush topic. Over the last few years, voices for intimate hygiene for women have come up and have given rise to feminine hygiene products, discussions, and research on the same. Women and men are now much more aware of the various implications of not paying enough attention to intimate hygiene.
Research indicates that over 60% of women in India get diagnosed with vaginal and urinary infections every year. There is an admittedly huge gap in the availability of clean hygiene products in villages and towns even today. While old cotton cloth pieces have been replaced by sanitary napkins, we still have a long way to go to address this major issue. While few may argue that some of these products are not essential, it is a fact that the old warm water and soap wash technique does not work anymore.
Feminine hygiene does not simply refer to menstrual hygiene. It means taking overall care of your vagina and vulva even during non-cycle days. The use of various personal care products to care for and clean yourself and your intimate wear is also part of intimate feminine hygiene.
Let us take a look at some of the essential feminine hygiene products.
1) Sanitary pads, tampons, and menstrual cups
Unhygienic products and places, especially during menstruation, are said to be the major reasons for various infections and diseases in women. Many women have shifted from cloth pieces to well-made sanitary napkins, leading to an awareness of feminine hygiene. While pads are still considered the cheapest and easily available product for menstruation, tampons and menstrual cups are slowly catching up in cities and towns. The ease of use, comfort, and higher absorption are some of the reasons women are steadily shifting from sanitary napkins to tampons and menstrual cups.
A menstrual cup, being more ecologically safe, has become a go-to product for many women today. Many menstrual cups provide leak-proof protection for up to 10-12 hours and are easy on the pocket with one cup lasting up to 5 years.
Pantyliners are products meant to keep your intimate areas dry and comfortable on days they do not feel so. Some days, humidity, heat, white discharge, or a combination of all three make you feel irritated and prone to infections. Panty liners help in making you feel fresh and dry.
Not only that, panty liners help keep your panty from getting spoilt and stained. White discharge is an acidic mixture meant to protect your intimate area. However, they are not good for your panties which may end up stained and discolored. Pantyliners are soft breathable layers of thin material that absorb the discharge along with sweat and wetness, keeping your panty clean and your intimate areas dry and fresh.
Pantyliners are essential to female hygiene to keep yourself free of infections.
Your intimate areas have to maintain a certain pH level to remain healthy and fresh. Soaps are generally too harsh for such sensitive areas. It is therefore advisable to avoid using any kind of body soap or body wash to clean your intimate areas. Instead, there are intimate wash products or feminine hygiene soaps available in the market that can clean your private parts thoroughly yet gently without affecting their sensitivity.
These wash products can be used during menstrual days as well as other days to avoid dryness, itching, and irritation, along with protection against yeast and bacterial infections. Most of these products are free of chemicals and gentle on the skin.
4) Toilet seat covers and sprays
Research has proven that due to the natural way women use toilets, they are more prone to infections and diseases than men. Direct contact with various germs and viruses in a personal toilet or a public one, can cause women to get urinary and vaginal infections that could lead to serious illnesses.
One of the best ways to avoid this is to add toilet seat covers and feminine hygiene sprays to your hygiene kit. Using toilet seat covers can eliminate the risk of direct contact and feminine hygiene sprays can help avoid infections.
5) Intimate powders
One of the more persistent problems that women face during summers and monsoons is that of sweat. It is unavoidable and can cause rashes and allergies in your intimate areas. There are a variety of intimate powders available that come in lovely fragrances and minimal to no chemical content. Regular use can help maintain freshness. You can also use this powder when you are doing some strenuous activity like exercise or running.
There may be instances when you may not find water to clean after you have done your business. Using random tissue or toilet paper to clean yourself may cause irritation and dryness to the sensitive skin in and around your intimate parts. Carrying a set of intimate wipes, that contain ingredients suitable for the sensitive skin around your intimate parts can solve this problem.
These wipes, available in various fragrances, are especially good while traveling. The hard water in public toilets can wreak havoc on your sensitive skin and cause rashes. These intimate wipes can come to your rescue during your travels and set your mind free about such issues.
Disposing of used products is as important, if not more, as using the right products. If you are using the right products but your disposal method is wrong, you still stand the risk of contracting various infections or spreading them on to others. This is why feminine disposal bins are a must-have product in every home, office, and public toilet. In most cases, when used sanitary napkins or tissue or wipes or tampons are simply discarded in any dustbin, a sanitation worker ends up cleaning it like he would any other bin. This leads to the spread of infections and diseases. Meanwhile, a feminine hygiene bin is specifically designed to dispose of napkins and other items. A sanitation worker knows how to dispose of the waste from this bin, without compromising on his or others’ health.
Feminine hygiene is no more a hush-hush topic. It is an important part of your healthcare that needs to be addressed as you would any other health issue. For the same, you need to have all the must-have products feminine hygiene handy, and ready.
Learn more about feminine hygiene during monsoons.
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