Have you seen the Leila the Spy Video that was doing the rounds on social media earlier this year? The one that has a tag-line that says – ‘it’s just the period, period’? It is part of an initiative by Marsa Sexual Health Centre, with an aim to create a positive sexual attitude in the Lebanese society and bring an end to stigmas and stereotypes that are related to sexuality and sexual issues. One of the stereotypes that the video tries to shatter is the shame related to buying sanitary pads. Girls are shown wearing large sun glasses and carrying the pads in black bags that hide the contents. When the protagonist has her chance, she goes out in the open without bothering to hide the packet, thereby sending out the message loud and clear – that there is nothing shameful about using sanitary napkins.
Why Sanitary Napkins are More Hygienic than Towels
Unfortunately, the shame of buying napkins from the market can keep girls from using them, resulting in the unhygienic use of cloth towels. This can cause several problems.
Washing: If one is using a reusable menstrual product, it becomes important to clean them thoroughly each time they are used. The consequences of wearing an unclean towel can be serious health hazards. If the stains are not completely washed out, over time they become breeding grounds for germs, which in close contact to a woman’s personal parts could cause serious vaginal and urinary tract infections. A woman is said to be more susceptible to contracting infections when she is menstruating and therefore needs to be doubly careful what she is exposing herself to at the time.
Drying: The cloth towel needs to be dried completely before using it or else the constant exposure to moisture may cause bacterial infections. The wearer also needs to be careful about drying herself, always being careful to wipe front to back for fear of contracting diseases. Candida or yeast infection, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and others could also become chronic if the woman’s private parts are not kept dry and clean. Moreover, the place where she dries the cloth towel is also important as it requires exposure to sun and air and yet it must not pick up harmful organisms from the environment.
The risks involving an unclean towel are too many and too extreme for women to be exposing themselves to them. Therefore the best way out is to use disposable sanitary napkins that help them stay dry, clean and infection-free.