Happy Flow Monday: The importance of menstrual hygiene maintenance

Today is Happy Flow Monday! The online petition is almost at 1000 signatures - you can help by signing the petition if you haven't done so already, and by sharing this post on social media and with your networks.

Make your voice heard by signing the petition to make sanitary wear free for all who need it.

For this week's Happy Flow Monday question, we asked: How do you maintain good hygiene during your period?

Maintaining proper menstrual hygiene is essential to the health, well-being, mobility, and productivity of women and girls. Staying on top of personal hygiene during periods should not be compromised. Apart from wanting to keep the genital area clean and fresh, opting for light and comfortable clothes and having regular showers are quintessential.

Ladies, let us take care of our body, health, mind, and spirit during menstruation. There is no other time to enjoy womanhood at its best, than during the time of the month. It's our time, let us make the most of it by staying clean and fresh.

Anusha Rawoah - Mauritius

It is important to keep your vaginal area clean especially during periods when there is blood flow from the body. Keeping the vaginal area clean is quite cheap, I usually use cold water and splash it up my Girl_T (well that's what I named her), I change my pads every now and then depending on the flow to prevent infections. Moreover for good sanitary pads with my sensitive skin I avoid sanitary pads with plastic lining, as they can cause rashes, itchiness, and boils when rubbing against the skin. I also use clean underwear and change it every day, (preferably 100% cotton). I also make sure that I wash my hands with warm water and soap after changing pads.

Thulile Makhubu - Swaziland

First, since this month I decided to use the menstrual cup, it had saved me from having to change myself all the time. This also helps to avoid allergies due to the heat of the sanitary napkins.

Second, I wear clothes that make me comfortable and I drink a lot of water. I continue to play sports that allow me to have good physical condition.

Finally, I take care to clean and sterilize my menstrual cup.

Mbolatiana Raveloarimisa - Madagascar

During my periods I maintain good hygiene by taking regular baths throughout the day as I have a heavy flow. I change the sanitary pads regularly. I have horrible period pains and on day one I become completely dysfunctional. #Letustakecareofoursexualreproductivehealthrights

Mpho Maema - Lesotho

A young girls's first period is one of the major events in her life. Her first menstruation comes with the duty to maintain good hygiene during her period.
1. Change your sanitary napkin every 4-6 hours -changing sanitary napkins or tampons within every 4-6 hours is the cardinal rule to establish vaginal hygiene. Changing your sanitary napkin or tampon regularly curbs the growth of organisms and prevents infection.
2. Wash yourself properly - washing your vagina regularly is extremely important because organisms cling to your body after you have removed your sanitary napkin.
3. Don't use soaps or vaginal hygiene products - vaginas have their own cleaning mechanism which comes into play during menstrual cycles and artificial hygiene products can hamper the natural process, leading to infections and growth of bacteria.
4. Discard the sanitary napkin properly - disposing of your tampons and sanitary napkins properly is an important step.
5. Stick to one method of sanitation - don't use a combination of sanitary wear just change frequently for a heavy flow.

Alice T Mashinge - Zimbabwe

During my period I maintain good hygiene by using unscented sanitary ware, that I change regularly - as and when needed. Taking warm baths to assist with period pains and staying clean - also using unscented soaps & lotions, relying on my own vagina's natural cleaning mechanism to keep the pH balance.

Discarding of sanitary wear properly is also very important to me. Including self-care mechanisms such as drinking tea and having a hot water bottle to further assist with menstrual cramps.

Bongeka Cutshwa - South Africa

I first heard about menstruation from my elder sister Jessie when I was in my seventh grade. It was scary, I knew it was not an easy task before my own experience monthly, the number of days to attend depends on an individual, stomach pains and the number of years this has to go on.

What she taught me is what I still apply today coupled with the knowledge I learnt from school and friends. She said when you are on your period don’t use tissue it’s not hygienic and it can mess your clothes. Avoid bright colors, bath 2 to 3 times a day to avoid bad odor. Ensure you change your sanitary wear 2 to 3  times a day but it all depends on the flow. She also advised me to use deodorants and spray to smell fresh. When it comes to disposing you always need to wrap it when throwing in a bin, burn them or bury them and only flush products designed to be flushed.

Lucky for me when I started my period I was in boarding school and I had learnt about personal hygiene and I saw what other girls did so I knew what to do. Further I learnt this should be coupled with having a healthy period, I discovered that to avoid stomach cramps and heavy flow, I engaged in simple exercise a few days before my period. Later I also learnt to avoid pineapple fruit and juice when about to start your period to eat lots of vegetables and drink a lot of water. For those who have bad period pain it is important to research on their diet or substances that may react to their body. That is how I ensure I have a healthy and hygienic period.

#Happy Flow Monday

#Expect respect

Busiku Handema - Zambia