What is a period?


Menstruation or period – normal vaginal bleeding that occurs as a part of the women’s monthly cycle, is a common experience for women between the age ranges of 12-15 years to 45-50 years, but not everyone has a good knowledge about menstruation and menstrual hygiene. Therefore, it can be seen that there are many misconceptions and stigmas related to menstrual health. So, while the World Menstrual Health Day was also commemorated recently on 28 May, this article tries to increase awareness around menstrual health and despite the gender, it is essential for everyone to have a sound knowledge on menstruation-related health.

What is menstruation?

Menstruation is the regular discharge of blood and mucosal tissue from the inner lining of the uterus through the vagina. The menstrual cycle is characterised by the rise and fall of hormones. Menstruation is triggered by falling progesterone levels and is a sign that pregnancy has not occurred. Usually, menstruation occurs in every 28 days and continues to bleed from two – seven days. It is normal for the menstrual cycle to vary from 21 to 31 days. However the menstruation stops occurring during the pregnancy and the first few months of breast feeding, and permanently ceases after the menopause which generally occurs during the age of 45-50 years.

For a healthier period

There is a high possibility to get a variety of health problems if you do not follow proper health habits during the menstruating period. Thus, it is essential to take utmost care of your vaginal hygiene during this period. Following are some precautions to avoid to common health problems during the menstruation.

Infections are a common issue related to mental health and cause due to poor hygiene. One has to wear either pads, period cups or tampons during menstruation since the menstrual blood would stain the clothes otherwise. Yet there is a high possibility for fungi to develop if you wear damp pads for a longer period causing a higher chance of getting urinary tract infections, vaginal infections, and those unpleasant skin rashes. Also, the pad linings can cause irritation to sensitive skin. Thus it is advisable to change your pads, cups or tampons at regular intervals advised by an expert. Synonymously, it is important to make sure that you wash your hands properly with hand wash or sanitiser after changing the period products because dirty hands tend to develop yeast infections.

Another thing to keep in mind during the period is that the manner in which you wipe the vagina also affects your menstrual health. If you wipe from back to front of your vagina, there is a high tendency of transmission of the bacteria from the anus into the vagina or urethra opening making you susceptible to infection. Hence, it is advisable to wipe the vagina from top to bottom of the vagina when you are on period.

Also, do not try to utilise chemicals, scented products and strong soaps to clean your vagina during the menstruation since it can cause infections down there. In fact, vagina is self-cleaning and therefore doesn’t require artificial products to clean.

While you follow these health habits, it is very crucial to consume a nutritious diet is a requisite for more energy levels during the menstruation ‘period’.

By Induwara Athapattu