KARACHI: Ladies and ladies, it’s that time of the year again when its suddenly acceptable to discuss menstruation openly, World Menstruation Hygiene Day. We decided to revisit some of the most common myths that surround menstrual health in our country all the while trying to analyse the steps one can take towards better personal hygiene.
We spoke to Dr Nasreen Abid, a gynecologist based in Karachi, who currently practices at Naeem Hospital and Maternity Home.
You can’t shower while on your period because it can cause changes to your body. Or you shouldn’t shower on the first day of your period because it can cause infertility.
“This is totally untrue. Taking a shower regularly, especially during your period, is highly essential to protect yourself from various vaginal infections,” says Dr Abid. “In fact, in this weather, you must shower twice a day.”
You should change your sanitary pad/tampon every five hours. Not too frequently.
“You can change your pad as frequently as you’d like. It all depends on your comfort,” shares Dr Abid, adding, “The minute it soaks up, you should change it because wearing it for too long is unhygienic and harmful. It can cause rashes or cellulitis.”
Removing hair from the pubic region can cause infections.
“Removing your pubic hair regularly is one of the most significant steps of maintaining menstrual hygiene,” stresses Dr Abid. If you don’t remove it, the sweating in the area can lead to various infections as the hair becomes a breeding ground for germs.”
Note: Hair removal by waxing or shaving can cause irritation or dryness and you should consult your GP or doctor if faced with these issues
Playing sports during your period is unhygienic.
“While it would be incorrect to say that women should stop themselves from doing anything while on their period, it’s true that playing sports can cause excessive sweating which then leads to a rise in bacteria thereby putting you at risk for infections,” maintains Dr Abid.
Lack of awareness
Dr Abid believes that the state of menstrual hygiene awareness in our country is abysmal. “In Pakistan, we face bigger issues than this,” she tells Cutacut. Here, women don’t even have the basic know-how of menstrual hygiene.
“Some of my patients use a cloth in place of a sanitary napkin which they wash and then reuse,” she reveals, and that too is rare. Most women don’t even have the concept of wearing underwear let alone sanitary pads.
“They will bleed into their shalwar and then just wash it and wear another one,” she says, while urging the government to introduce menstruation awareness classes in schools so young girls can be taught about it.