Dealing with your period is something that you tend to get used it, no matter how you experience it. Every woman has a different experience, from how often they menstruate to how heavy their flow is and which symptoms occur. But while we try to deal with that time of the month, some of the things we use to keep everything neat and tidy could actually have a poor affect on our intimate health. Menstrual products can cause a variety of problems, making it even less pleasant to go through your period each time. Plus, disposable menstrual products aren’t great for the environment. But what are the problems they can cause, and is there anything better?
Itching and Rashes
Everyone has had the occasional itch to scratch in a place where it might not be so polite to take care of it in public. However, regular itching or rashes could be a bad sign. If you can’t stop scratching or you notice that your skin is looking red, your menstrual products could be to blame. In particular, if you use sanitary pads, you could be suffering a reaction from them. Many brands use perfumes or other chemicals that you probably don’t want near your vulva. It could be time to switch brands or try another product.
Even during your period, you shouldn’t notice unpleasant smells downstairs. If something smells bad, it could be a sign of an infection. Sometimes, however, the unpleasant odour could be caused by your menstrual products. Pads or tampons that use perfumes are meant to make everything come up smelling of roses. However, they often do the opposite, and end up giving off a bad smell instead. And that’s on top of the potential to irritate your skin. It’s best to look for non-perfumed pads if you want to avoid problems.
Women tend to be much more prone to urinary tract infections than men. All kinds of things can cause them, from sex to tight jeans. Cystitis is a particularly common infection that many women suffer with regularly. You might not know that cystitis could also be caused by using tampons. The treatment for cystitis is usually a course of antibiotics, and you don’t want to have to take them all the time. So taking measures to prevent it reoccurring by using tampons safely, staying hydrated and maintaining good hygiene is a good idea.
Other infections can occur too, in addition to UTIs. For example, yeast infections are a common occurrence for women. These can occur if you don’t maintain good hygiene and perhaps wear a pad for too long or use pads that aren’t clean. Make sure you keep your menstrual products wrapped up and carry them around in something clean, whether it’s a disposable pad or tampon in a plastic wrapper or a reusable pad in a bag.
Toxic Shock Syndrome
Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a very rare complication which can be caused by tampon use. Although it’s rare, it can be very serious, so it’s essential to take steps to avoid it. It’s most likely to happen if you leave a tampon in for too long, which is why it’s important to change them regularly and to remember to take out your last one at the end of your period. Symptoms of TSS include a sudden high fever, low blood pressure, vomiting and diarrhoea, confusion, muscle aches and more. Everyone should be aware of the dangers and the signs, especially if you’re a regular tampon user.
If you want to avoid problems caused by your menstrual products, maintaining good hygiene is essential. You can also make sure that you find the right products for you. Some might cause allergic reactions or irritation, and you shouldn’t continue to use these products.
More Natural Options
Another thing that you might want to consider is the more natural menstrual product options that are available. These include things like cotton pads and menstrual cups, which could be better for you and better for the environment too.
Cotton pads are designed to be reusable, in the same way that you might use reusable nappies for babies. They are often made with bamboo and cotton covers so that they’re kind to your vulva. After use, rinse them with cold water, soak them in cold water or keep them in a bag or box until you can. Then put them in the washing machine to wash them properly. It’s a good idea to wear closer fitting knickers with reusable pads to help them stay in place.
Organic Tampons and Pads
If you don’t like the idea of reusable menstrual products, you might want to consider organic tampons and pads instead. While these are still disposable, they offer a more natural option that you might prefer to some of the big brand products like Always or Bodyform. There are even some subscription services that can ensure your products are delivered to your door every month to make sure you always have some in stock and don’t need to settle for anything else.
Menstrual cups are another option that is gaining in popularity among many women. They’re not for everyone, but many women find them convenient. The small cup (often made of silicone) is folded and inserted into your vagina, where it unfolds. It collects your period blood, which you then simply pour out when you remove the cup. There is usually a small protuberance to grab onto to pull the cup out. Mooncup is the most well-known brand, but others are available. A menstrual cup could last you ten years or more.
You could also consider “period panties”, such as those made by THINX. These feel like normal underwear, but they’re designed to safely hold as much blood as two tampons. They’re worth considering as a convenient option, and they’re machine washable.
It’s important to look after your feminine health, so make sure you pay attention to what’s going on down there.