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Menstrual Hygiene

Technology offers sanitary pads, tampons or menstrual cups or caps to deal with the menstrual flow.

health and fitness Updated: Jun 20, 2003 19:20 IST

No woman feels completely comfortable when she has her period. If it is not pre menstrual tension or stomach cramps it is the problem of dealing with the menstrual flow.

Technology offers sanitary pads, tampons or menstrual cups or caps to deal with the flow. The user has to decide what suits her best. Absorbent pads may be noticeable in form fitting clothes. They cause some soreness on the inner thighs.

Some women prefer tampon to external pads. A plug of absorbent cotton or gauze is inserted inside. But these should not be left unchanged beyond six hours. Some brands state that tampons left unchanged for more than 12-18 hours increases the possibility of toxic shock.

It is not clear what causes toxic shock. But there seems to be a link between tampons and Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Approximately 1% of all menstruating women carry the bacteria in question (Staphylococcus aureus) in their vagina. Absorbent tampons provide the medium for them to grow and spread infection.

TSS cases were first reported in 1978. It is marked by high fever, severe vomiting and diarrhoea. The cases can be mild to fatal.

The menstrual cup (or cap), is inserted within and collects the flow and can be emptied, cleaned and re used.

Whatever the preference, washing is important. There need be no taboo about bath on these days. Some people have the problem of odour during menstruation. Cleanliness and change of pad/tampon as often as is necessary reduces this problem. It is not advisable to use perfumed pads or tampons. In fact, using powder in the genital area is not recommended.


First Published: Jun 20, 2003 19:20 IST