Paree Health

We, girls, are such hygiene freaks, but sometimes our period can take a toll on us. Yes, you know it! Periods can be painful and messy. Still, it is very important to maintain hygiene during periods to have a healthy life.

 

  • Use healthier menstrual products - Menstrual flow itself does not smell bad, but bacteria within menstrual flow can cause odour. Some menstrual products improve conditions for bacteria and contain chemicals that effect healthy bacterial levels, so choosing healthier options can lessen odour as well as keep your vagina healthy.
  • Avoid scented pads – chemicals used in scented pads can effect vaginal pH, which in turn effects balance between good and bad bacteria within the vagina, so can increase risk of odour and infections.
  • Have regular bath – Have baths regularly, also wash your genital areas to keep then clean and hygienic.

The vagina is a passageway between the outside of the body and the inner reproductive organs. The pH balance of the vagina is acidic, which discourages infections from occurring. A healthy vagina produces secretions to cleanse and regulate itself, similar to how saliva cleanses and regulates the environment of the mouth. These vaginal secretions are normal vaginal discharge.

The menstrual cycle affects the vaginal environment. The pH balance of the vagina fluctuates during the cycle and is the least acidic on the days just prior to and during menstruation. Infections, therefore, are most common at this time.

Any changes in colour or amount of discharge may be a sign of a vaginal infection. Vaginal infections are very common; most women will experience some form of a vaginal infection in their lifetime.

Symptoms of abnormal vaginal discharge are -

  • Discharge accompanied by itching, rash or soreness
  • Persistent, increased discharge
  • Burning on skin during urination
  • White, clumpy discharge
  • Grey/white or yellow/green discharge with a foul odour

Yeast is a fungus that normally lives in the vagina in small numbers. A vaginal yeast infection means that too many yeast cells are growing in the vagina. These infections are very common. Although they can bother you a lot, they are not usually serious

Causes

A healthy vagina has many bacteria and a small number of yeast cells. When something happens to change the balance of these organisms, the yeast cells can increase rapidly and cause symptoms. Pregnancy, diabetes or HIV infection can also cause a yeast infection.

What are the symptoms?

A yeast infection causes itching or soreness in the vagina and sometimes causes pain or burning when you urinate or have sex. Some women also have a thick, clumpy, white discharge that has no odour and looks a little like cottage cheese.
These symptoms are more likely to occur during the week before your menstrual period.

 

Can vaginal yeast infections be prevented?

If you practice good genital hygiene, you can help prevent infection.

  • Keep your vaginal area clean.
  • After using the toilet, wipe from front to back to avoid spreading yeast or bacteria from your anus to the vagina or urinary tract.
  • Wear underwear that helps keep your genital area dry and doesn't hold in warmth and moisture. Cotton underwear are preferable.
  • Change pads often.
  • Don't douche or use deodorant tampons or feminine sprays, powders, or perfumes. These items can change the normal balance of organisms in your vagina.

Menstrual cramps are painful sensations felt in lower abdomen that occurs before and during a woman's period. The pain can range form dull to severe and extreme. Menstruation cramps begins during ovulation.

Causes – During menstruation cycle if the egg is not fertilised, the uterus contracts to dispel its lining.

Symptoms
  • Dull/ extreme pain in lower abdomen
  • Pain in lower back and thighs
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Loose stool
  • Constipation
  • Bloating

Ways to prevent menstrual cramps –

  • Exercise regularly
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduces stress
  • Eat healthy
  • Drink plenty of water
PMS are emotional and physical symptoms related to a woman's menstruation cycle. Common emotional symptoms are irritability, stress, anxiety, fatigue, mood swings, increased emotional sensibility and unhappiness. Physical symptoms include bloating, constipation, abdominal cramps, swealing and tenderness in breast and muscle pain. The exact symptoms and their intensity vary significantly from woman to woman, and even somewhat from cycle to cycle.

PMS is elevated by –

  • High Caffeine intake
  • Increasing age
  • History of depression
  • Improper diet

It can be reduced by –

  • Maintaining proper diet
  • Stress management
  • Exercise
  • Counselling

Each woman has a menstrual cycle that is specific to them. A menstrual cycle could span anywhere between 20 - 30 days, though an average cycle is about 28 days. Read more about the menstrual cycle and its phases

Usually, irregular periods are not a cause for concern. But if your period is frequently early or late or occur more than once in a span of 28-30 days or is accompanied by severe cramping or pains or there is heavy or scanty bleeding, then its best to consult a doctor.

Some of the reasons for irregular periods are:

  • Stress: If you're worried, fatigued, going through a mental turmoil, it can affect your body in many ways. Irregular periods could be one of the after effects.
  • Diet: Going on extreme diets or eating poorly can cause irrepairable harm to your body and mind. It could lead to irregular or no periods.
  • Over exercising: Exercising more than what the body can handle can also lead to irregular periods.
  • Menarche: In the initial years, when a teenager first gets her period, it can be irregular. It sometimes even takes upto three years for it to stabilise and become more regular.
  • Pregnancy: This can lead to a temporary stop to your period for the duration of your pregnancy.
  • Hormonal medications: Medicines that have hormones in them, including some birth control pills, can change the way your periods occur. If you have been prescribed any such medicines, please ask your doctor for all the details on the effects it can have.
  • Menopause: As you grow older, your reproductive age decreases. The body reduces or stops secreting certain hormones that can lead to irregular hormones, until a time when it stops completely.
Disclaimer: The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before taking any step regarding your general health or any specific medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.