Bhopal 12.11.2021. The problems that women and girls face in managing menstrual hygiene got exacerbated during COVID-19 pandemic. Reductions in income and mobility during lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 have decreased access to menstrual hygiene supplies resulting in an increase in the use of alternative, home-made products, which are known to cause reproductive infections this causes far-reaching negative impacts on the lives of those women and girls who menstruate, including, restricting mobility, reducing participation in work and community life, compromising safety, and causing stress and anxiety, says an Expert.
Citing his recent scientific report titled Agony of Menstruation published in the International Journal of Medical Science and Public Health , Executive Member of the Indian Menopausal Society ,Dr Naresh Purohit told that an estimate of 1.8 million girls, women, and gender non-binary persons menstruate, yet millions of them don’t have access to resources to manage their monthly cycle in a dignified manner. The Covid-19 pandemic has only made it worse for most women.
Acclaimed Epidemiologist Dr Purohit said that “During menstruation, a woman can be predisposed to infections due to changes in the pH levels in the vagina. The elevated pH levels disturb the balance of naturally existing vaginal flora i.e. good bacteria like lactobacilli and yeast, potentially increasing the risk of infections.”
He explained poor hygiene methods include incorrect washing techniques, inappropriate use of absorbent material and delayed changing and disposing of sanitary napkins, tampons, etc. While keeping clean is essential, avoid excessive washing or douching during menses that further disturbs the pH balance.
He further emphasised to avoid moisture around private parts that becomes a breeding ground for infections. In case of use of reusable absorbent materials and the undergarments worn during periods, both must be clean, dried in the sun and changed regularly. Fungal and bacterial infections, urinary tract infections (UTIs), sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), rashes or abrasions and in some cases, increased susceptibility to cervical cancer in the long run are some of the ill-effects of poor menstrual hygiene.
Noted Infectious Disease Expert Dr Purohit observed that the key challenges related to menstrual hygiene during COVID are anxiety and stress over managing menstruation
and Iimited access to sanitary pads and sanitation facility including water due to pandemic restrictions.
He cautioned that the result of these challenges are far-fetching and can have a negative impact on the lives of thousands of women who menstruate.
Noted physician stressed that urgent measures are needed to
create menstrual hygiene awareness among menstruating women