Menstruation is a natural physiological process that every healthy woman undergoes. But although every woman experiences it on a regular basis, not everyone is well-informed about the need to ensure hygiene. Menstruating women need to pay particular attention to personal hygiene. During this time, a woman’s vulnerability towards potentially life-threatening ailments increases. Poor menstrual hygiene can lead to many issues, such as fungal or bacterial infections of the reproductive tract and the urinary tract. COMMON REPERCUSSIONS OF UNHEALTHY MENSTRUAL PRACTICES 1. Irritation of the skin causes discomfort and can possibly result in dermatitis – a medical condition in which the skin swells, turns red, and at times becomes sore with blisters. 2. Introduction of bacteria into the urethra may cause urinary tract infections (UTIs). It can happen anywhere in the urinary tract and can be fatal as it can even damage the kidneys if left untreated. 3. Growth of harmful bacteria may cause an infection when in contact with the genital tract. This again could result in damage to the vagina. 4. Alteration in the pH balance of vaginal secretions can occur, which can lead to a change in the natural flora. A high pH level can provide an ideal environment for unhealthy bacteria to breed. 5. There’s a delicate balance of good and bad bacteria that live in the vagina. If this balance is hampered, it can cause bacterial vaginosis (BV). This tends to impact women the most when they’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant 6. Susceptibility to cervical cancer is increased due to reproductive tract infections and UTIs. Cervical cancer is the cancer of the cervix (‘mouth’ of the uterus) and is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). 7. Unhygienic practices also make women prone to becoming infertile. TIPS TO MAINTAIN GOOD HYGIENE DURING YOUR PERIOD 1. Use a sanitary napkin, tampon, or menstrual cup. All these methods are good, and you don’t need to switch. Stick with whatever you prefer. 2. Change your sanitary napkin/tampon/menstrual cup frequently, even when the bleeding isn’t much. Menstrual blood tends to get contaminated with the body’s native organisms, so change regularly. This also helps you to avoid skin rashes. 3. Regularly wash your genitals and make sure the blood in and around the vagina is effectively washed away. Not only do you feel cleaner, but it also makes you healthier and protects your privates. 4. Try to wash every time you change – or at least a couple of times a day. 5. Carry spare napkins/tampons at all times, especially if you’re going out. Don’t wait until you get home to change (you know what can happen!). 6. Ensure that you store them in a clean bag or pouch. Throw in a soft towel, wet tissues, and a hand sanitizer. At the end of the day, it’s for your own good Ensuring hygiene during one’s period is not a tough task. With a little effort it’s easy to maintain good cleanliness, so familiarise yourself with the simple tips in this article. After all, you’re the one who stands to benefit!.