Hygiene is a set of practices performed in order to preserve once health or to maintain a healthy life and prevent diseases. Types of hygiene include;
· personal hygiene,
· food hygiene,
· oral hygiene,
· occupational hygiene,
· Menstrual hygiene e.t.c.
Menstruation is a normal biological process and a very important sign of reproductive health; it is marked by the monthly release of blood from the female’s body through the vagina.
Menstrual hygiene can be defined as the hygienic practices to be carried out during menstruation. Effective menstrual hygiene is vital to the health, well being, empowerment, mobility and productivity of women and girls. Poor menstrual hygiene practices may cause stigma, ill health, it can also lead to school absenteeism and high rate of school drop outs. Some poor menstrual hygiene practices that should be stopped include:
· Wearing a single menstrual pad or sanitary cloth for a whole day
· Wearing a single pant for days without washing
· Washing the vagina with soap
· Using unhygienic materials such as mud or leaves to manage menstrual flow
The general hygienic measures include:
· Take a bath or shower regularly at least twice in a day
· Use clean undergarments and change them regularly
· Wash the genitals with clean water after using the toilet
· Do not wash the vagina with soap
· Keep the pubic area clean and dry to prevent rashes
· Do not douche or pour water into the vagina
· Do not deep your finger into your vagina and do not allow anybody to do so
· Take something warm (warm water) to allow easy flow of blood
· You can also engage in minor exercise
· Wash your pubic area fro vagina to anus, do not wash in opposite direction to prevent infection
· Discard used sanitary materials properly.
· Ensure that reusable sanitary materials dries properly before reuse
· Do not use a single sanitary pad for a whole day, etc
To manage menstruation hygienically and with dignity, it is essential that women and girls have access to good water and sanitation, they need somewhere private to change sanitary cloths or pads, clean water and soap for washing their hands, bodies, and reusable materials, they also need facilities for safe disposal of used materials and a clean place to dry the reusable.
This calls for the need for both men and women to have a greater awareness of good menstrual hygiene practices.