Lisa has been taking good care of her feminine health since her urinary tract infection treatment not long ago.
With our previous discussion on What to Eat for Optimum Feminine Health, we now look into lifestyle habits that can be adjusted to prevent feminine healthcare issues.
I believe that like Lisa, a lot of you girls out there may have overlooked some of these feminine healthcare tips, so in line with Juliet Station’s mission to debunk healthcare myths, here are some of the feminine care mistakes that you may have been making.
1. Holding back your urine
A lot of women have bad habits of holding back urination, sometimes due to being busy at work, or halfway through a video game, or when watching your favourite Korean drama series.
Lisa had her urinary tract infection due to her bad habit of always holding back her urine. Not only is this bad for health, this habit can also cause bladder and kidney infection, or high blood pressure (stimulation of sympathetic nerve during holding back of urine).
It is advisable to drink more water, and to keep a habit of urinating once every 2-3 hours to release harmful bacteria through the urine.
I also wondered, “how much water is too much? Is the traditional 1500ml-2000ml rule universal for everyone?”
How to know if you are drinking enough water? You can check through the colour of your urine!
- Transparent/colourless: too much water, no more drinking required
- Transparent yellow: normal condition, normal urine colour
- Yellow: Not enough water intake/sweating. More water needed
- Plain Tea Colour: Abnormal, no water intake for half a day, body lacks water. Water needed immediately.
At this stage, the skin of older people or young infants will start to dry up, kidney functions are affected and blood pressure is low.
- Dark, Thick Tea Colour: Can be life-threatening, sign of 1~2 days of zero water intake. Water needed immediately, absorption of water by stomach and intestine slows down.
Urine of this colour is rarely seen, medicines, foods or liver contents usually need to be released first. Jaundice causing a change in urine colour is often seen among people in mountain valleys, natural disaster victims, or old age people living alone.
2. Not washing your hands before you enter the toilet
That’s right - before you enter the toilet (of course, after, too!)
There is a huge amount of bacteria on our human hands. If we only wash our hands after coming out from the toilet, we can’t ensure complete hygienic protection.
Imagine this: you use your hands to push open the door of a public toilet, collecting the bacteria on the door handle on your hand, and after going to the toilet, you use these same hands to wipe or clean your private area (or maybe change a sanitary pad).
Now, do you think that it is enough to only clean your hands after you go to the toilet?
3. Wiping from the back of your butt in the toilet
From the front to the back! From the front to the back! From the front to the back! (important messages must be repeated 3 times!)
A lot of girls are unaware of this! No matter if you have urinated or taken a dump, always follow this rule when you wipe - from the front to the back.
Why? The positions of the urethra, vagina, and anus are close to each other. If you wipe from the back to the front, bacteria from your anus may enter your vagina, or the bacteria from your vagina to your urethra.
4. Wearing tight pants or underwear
When you open your wardrobe, do you see a lot of cool looking leather pants or skinny fit jeans that goes well with your slim legs?
Even though these clothes are fashionable, they may “attract” gynaecological diseases!
There are only 2 ways to maintain the health of women’s private part: hygiene and airiness (ventilation). Tight pants or jeans that stick onto your privates can cause bacterial growth or cause bacterial infection by keeping bacteria close to your body.
The best choice for a healthy set of clothes is to wear loose, airy cotton pants or underwear. Remember to also change your underwear frequently, and dry them in a well ventilated space.
5. Using sanitary pads wrongly
There is a common misconception: sanitary pads that have high absorption and protection capabilities can be used for long hours and do not need to be changed frequently.
In hot and humid conditions, menstrual blood during menstruation provide a conducive environment for bacterial growth. No matter the volume of menstrual flow, we should always change our sanitary pads once every 3 hours (or more often when there is heavy flow).
Remember how our hands are full of bacteria? When you change a sanitary pad, do not use your hands to touch the surface of the pad, to prevent dirtying the sanitary pad.
I’d also like to remind you to not keep sanitary pads in bathroom cupboards, as humid conditions can pollute the sanitary pads.
6. Using panty liners
Some of us use panty liners even when we don’t have our menstrual periods, thinking that this is more hygienic.
Did you know that this is actually wrong?
The two ruling conditions of feminine healthy still applies, hygiene and ventilation. Using panty liners for long periods of time leaves your private part in a humid condition, providing a conducive environment for bacterial growth.
If you have to use pantyliners, do not choose those with fragrance. Fragrance chemicals can cause allergic reactions.
“Thanks for your reminders, Juliet. I’ll take note of them!”
To know more, check out the 7 Things You Should Avoid During Your Period to better understand feminine care!
What are your thoughts on this topic? If you have any tips or questions to ask, just leave a comment in the section below!