Feminine Hygiene Tips

The average woman spends 40 years caring for feminine hygiene. Here are some tips that can help make this monthly task easier to manage.

Most women will experience nearly 500 menstrual cycles, or about 2,000 period days, during a span of years that lasts approximately half her life. As each month rolls around during her reproductive years, she must make preparations for feminine hygiene that will protect her health and well being.

A couple of generations ago, women recycled strips of old sheets or linens as monthly garment protection. Nowadays women use cotton pads or tampon inserts to prevent periods from causing problems. There still isn't much training for many preteens and teenagers, however, beyond a brief overview in a school health class or a mother's veiled explanation.

Here are some basic hygiene and well-being tips that can help girls navigate this challenging monthly cycle:

1. Find the best fit. Shop any drugstore or supermarket and you will find a variety of cotton pads that can meet any woman's needs. There are thin, long, contoured, and winged versions in packages on the shelves, along with those fornight-time use or light days. Some offer deodorized protection. Most have sealed tapes with tabs that pull right off for easy adhesion to undergarments. You can wear one type at a certain phase of your cycle and switch to another a few days later.

2. Keep a stash in several locations. As you chart your period each month, you will begin to know when to expect it. Monthly symptoms can tell you it's coming, as well. So stock up on pads and place a few in several locations. Start with the bathroom, of course, by placing some in the cupboard or a drawer. Then stick a few in your purse. Add some to other household bathroom drawers. Take some to work and store in a desk drawer. That way, you will never be without one of these important items.

3. Change your pad frequently. Every two to four hours is the suggested time for most people. This will keep a woman feeling fresher and more comfortable while reducing the risk of odor or leaks. If you buy the individually sealed kind, use the plastic or paper wrapping of a new pad to enclose the used pad for extra security before discarding it.

4. Bathe daily. You can take a bath or a shower. Either way, the water will cause your period to stop temporarily. But very warm water may lead to an increase afterward, since heat can dilate your veins and arteries. During a period, your body is likely to perspire more, with glands working overtime due to hormonal fluctuations. A daily shower will help you feel better before heading off to work, especially if you experienced overnight leakage.

5. Avoid feminine deodorant products. While body spray or talc powder feel and smell great after bathing, you may not want to apply deodorant products directly to the reproductive area. Talc or other powders have been shown to cause irritation and possibly cancer when used over time in the underclothing of some women. Spray deodorants amount to little more than applying chemicals to a sensitive area of your body. Remember that during your period, the cervix can stretch and dilate as though mimicking childbirth in mini-fashion, so your uterus may be a little more prone to infection. Keep foreign objects and fragrances away. Douching has fallen out of popularity with many doctors who claim it adversely affects the pH acidic balance of the vagina and surrounding tissues. Let nature handle the issue of feminine cleanliness.

Following a few tips like these can keep you feeling fresh and clean during those predictable four or five days each month.

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