Why women need to talk about feminine hygiene

In a poll conducted at Bronx Prep Middle School, 67% of its female students admitted that they were not comfortable talking about their periods at school.

The poll was mentioned in an award-winning podcast called, “Sssh! Periods,” hosted by seven eighth-graders from the same school. And, according to it, 33% of female students believe that periods are a dirty topic. These girls will reportedly carry this thought until they reached adulthood – and beyond.

Indeed, many women say they have a hard time working during their menstrual cycle.

Find out why it’s important that women feel comfortable talking about menstruation and feminine hygiene, especially when it comes to protecting our health and avoiding potentially dangerous practices.

Why it’s important to be able to talk about vaginal health

If women are afraid to open up about intimate issues and problems, they’ll be more reluctant to ask for advice and get professional help. Medical practitioners will also have a hard time diagnosing vaginal infections if their patients can’t open up about their symptoms.

For example, if you’re suffering from bacterial vaginosis, you won’t get the diagnosis or treatment you need if your doctor isn’t fully informed.

Some of the things patients need to be able to talk to their doctor about include the color of their vaginal discharge and the presence of a foul-smelling fishy odour. You also need to be able to tell them about any itchy feelings in your vagina, or a burning sensation while urinating.

Only once your doctor has diagnosed a condition will they be able to prescribe and recommend the right treatment. For a condition like bacterial vaginosis, for example, treatments can include medicines like metronidazole, tinidazole and clindamycin. You may also try treatments like VeeCleanse Applicators and other vaginal suppositories.

Talking can help debunk feminine hygiene myths

If everyone stays silent on the subject of feminine hygiene practices, then important information won’t be discussed – and bad habits and potentially dangerous old wives tales can flourish.

One common practice which is not recommended is vaginal douching. This is a popular hygiene practice among American teens and women of color. Others also practice vaginal steaming, an ancient medical technique that involves squatting over a steaming bowl of water infused with flowers and herbs.

Both practices are not recommended by doctors because of the risks of bacterial vaginosis and other yeast infections. 

Talking can help to pass on knowledge about feminine hygiene products

When women open up about their feminine hygiene, especially older women speaking to their daughters, it can help to pass on knowledge and experience about using feminine hygiene products.

In an article from Huda Beauty, gynecologist Dr Rebecca Booth says that the sensitive vulvar skin needs regular cleaning. The professor from the Yale University School of Medicine explained that exfoliating these parts with a pH-balanced, fragrance-free soap lessens the clogged pores and hair follicle bumps

She adds that that vulvar moisturizers are not important in a feminine hygiene routine. According to Dr Booth, this is because the genital region is not usually exposed to sun or wind damage, it does not need any moisturizer.

More talking = better health and knowledge

It’s understandable that talking about such a private and sensitive topic can be hard for many women. But the more open conversations we have, and the more we remove the taboo, the more of the right knowledge we can share, and the more we can protect ourselves and our daughters’ health.

Photo by Timothy Meinberg