LET’S TALK ABOUT MENSTRUAL HYGIENE.
WAIT! I know you probably wanted to exit this page immediately. Yeah, it is cliché. It is a topic that has been discussed many times. However, you will be surprised that there are probably some things you did not know before or some things you did not really take serious initially.
Please, read and follow this closely.
With the larger number of women menstruating in the world today, it is only normal to expect women to know the dos and don’ts of their monthly flow. However, it is disheartening that there are no open conversations about women’s menstrual hygiene and most sanitary towel brands are more focused on advertising and selling their ‘durable products’ than preaching the proper hygiene to women.
Also, it is important to note that habits, when formed are quite hard to let go. It will not therefore be irrational to attribute the low rate of practice of menstrual hygiene in women in Africa to this as it is not something they have been used to.
Allow me flashback to many years ago when I was in Primary School. We had this Aunty over from the village, she was meant to stay for a few months. This Aunty lodged in my room and then one day, I stumbled on a nylon filled with blood stained Ankara fabrics. I wanted to throw up. I asked her what it was and she told me in Yoruba ‘my monthly thing’. I was so ignorant of what that was and I was not convinced she wasn’t plagued with a deadly disease so I informed my Mum and she was shocked claiming she had given her money for sanitary pads. Mum confronted her and she claimed it was better to save the money rather than use pads when she could make do with old clothes, rags and towels. This story is what brings me to:
How Poverty Can Contribute to Poor Menstrual Hygiene
Poverty is a plague that has eaten deep into the African Society. Nigeria especially is the most populated African Country with an average of 130million people. Presently, majority of Nigerians live in abject poverty, they strive to eat and live healthy lives. For every home with girls and women, sanitary pads remain an essential commodity. Sadly, because of the prices of sanitary pads that are continuously on the wheel, many homes have resorted to prioritizing the provision of food than buying sanitary pads for their menstrual cleanliness and protection. Some even use leaves, plastics, paper and many other unimaginable things. Yes, it’s that bad.
Now, let us leave that and address those that are lucky and can afford sanitary pads. Even though you use pads, it does not mean you are not prone to health dangers if you are not doing the right things. What most girls know as soon as they commence menstruation is how to use pads properly and probably how to use pills for menstrual cramps. Interestingly, many African Mothers always remember to tell their daughters to stay away from boys when they start menstruating but somehow, they forget to teach them proper menstrual hygiene. It is time to let them know that there is more to staying away from boys, there is also being healthy and saving ourselves.
Now, for everyone, here are some things you should know about your menstrual hygiene.
- USE CLEAN SANITARY TOWELS:using unclean pads can lead to fungal infections, urinary infection, reproductive tract infection and it make one vulnerable to infertility. This is why the use of clothes and all sorts is kicked against. Menstrual Hygiene goes beyond cleaning your body, using clean pads matter too. You don’t want to experience any of these infections. Do the right thing.
- DO NOT WEAR ONE PAD FOR WAY TOO LONG: there are many culprits in this category and it is one habit one should not even form. Failure to change pads frequently (at least every 6-8hours) exposes you to rashes and vaginal yeast infections with the side effect of bad odour. No matter how low your flow is, cultivate the habit of changing.
- NOT WASHING HANDS: this is one of the simple things many still find very difficult to keep up with. Failure to wash hands before and after changing your sanitary pad can cause yeast infections or Hepatitis B.
NOTE: CANCER IS REAL AND UNHEALTHY MENSTRUAL PRACTICES ARE LINKED TO CERVICAL CANCER!!
You know better.