Periods are dreadful enough, the cramps, the mood swings, odd food cravings, lethargy and what not. The most annoying thing though has to be vaginal rashes and discomfort. It gets extremely uncomfortable when dealing with rashes and there are countless ways to deal with it. We sat down with Author- Dr. (Mrs.) Manzer Altamash Shaikh who is a consultant obstetrician, gynecologist and fertility specialist at Masina Hospital in Mumbai. She discusses the reasons of vaginal rashes and ways you can deal with them.

Discomfort During Menstruation And How To Deal With It

Sanitary napkins which are essential parts of menstrual hygiene can sometimes leave behind a rash.

Rash due to sanitary napkins could be due to contact dermatitis, allergy to components of the pads or due to physical friction.

Contact dermatitis is the term that is used by doctors to describe an allergic reaction over skin when it comes in contact with a specific material or odour. In case of the sanitary napkins the rash is on the vulva due to either different materials used in the pad or due to its fragrant layer.

Some women may get a rash due to constant friction between the napkins and the skin due to constant physical activity running etc.

Pads collect menstrual blood exiting from vagina generating heat and moisture. Rashes could also be caused by infrequent changing of napkins causing excessive heat and moisture accumulation, which in turn may promote growth of bacteria and fungus.

Some simple tips and awareness can help prevent napkin rash. 

1) Consider Alternatives For Pads

The best way to avoid a rash is to avoid using sanitary napkins and using silicon menstrual cups or tampons instead. Menstrual cups are economical, eco friendly and do not cause rashes. As the cup is inserted inside the vagina and collects blood, it doesn’t cause napkin rash and can be reused.

If the rash is due to contact dermatitis, merely changing the brand may help the lady as most often the lady is allergic to a particular brand. Using cotton pads can prevent rashes but they are little more expensive. Many women are allergic to fragrant layer of the napkin and using a non-fragrant napkin can help them.

2) Use An Appropriately Sized Napkin:

To prevent rashes due to undue friction it’s important to wear an appropriately sized napkin.

3) Change Frequently:

Its is also very important that the lady wears a napkin as per her flow. Using extra absorbent, extra-large napkins when the flow is less and leaving them for a long time (6-8 hours) thinking that they aren’t soiled can increase chances of rashes by exposing vulvar skin to heat and moisture. Using napkins appropriate to menstrual flow and changing them every 3-4 hours is of utmost importance in preventing a rash no matter how less the flow is. This is essential to prevent developing odour and irritation from bacterial growth.

4) Wear Loose Fitted And Airy Clothing

opt for lose fitting cotton underwear to prevent rashes due to friction.

It is also important avoid wearing tight jeans and jeggings during menses and instead opt for lose fitting garments. This will ensure adequate airflow around pubic area and prevent sweating and development of rashes.

5) Maintain Adequate Personal Hygiene

It’s important to wash vulvar vaginal area frequently and pat dry its before wearing the napkin to prevent build up of moisture and rashes.

Avoid hard soaps to wash this area as it can disturb the balance of healthy bacteria.

6) Hot fomentation/ cold fomentation

Use hot fomentation or cold compresses to soothe the area.

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