Health Risks Due to Poor Menstrual Hygiene

Miles away, in a village set across the valleys, lived a girl called Maya. Maya’s mother worked in a city 10 kms away from her village, and young Maya grew up with her grandmother.

Maya didn’t have access to sanitary napkins, and thus when she started her menstrual cycle, her grandmother cut up an old cotton sari and Maya used those strips to hold the blood. But dear grandmother did not realize that her humble old cotton sari is not sterile and clean and was full of germs.

Suddenly Maya fell sick and with no doctor around in the village; the poor girl waited for her mother to come take her to the city. Before they could move her to the city though, Maya lost her life. The doctors later realized that Maya suffered a urinary tract infection which lead to Urosepsis.  

Urinary Tract infections and Urosepsis were alien words for Maya and her family. Maya didn’t know she could contract a deadly illness because of her lack of personal hygiene especially during her periods.

Had she used a clean sanitary napkin, could this have been avoided? 

Could lives be saved by educating young girls about menstrual hygiene?


Unsanitary and poor menstrual hygiene can cause severe health issues in women. It is thus very important to be educated about cleanliness and healthy routines during menses. Clean hands, washed undergarments and proper disposal of the used napkins are all important aspects of hygiene in extension menstrual health.

If sanitation is not maintained, it can lead to illnesses and even death. Here is a list of health problems caused because of unhealthy period habits and poor menstrual hygiene –

Many of these illnesses if left untreated will lead to damage to reproductive system and overall health in general.

– Alteration in the pH balance of vaginal secretions which fosters the growth of unhealthy bacteria

– Dermatitis (reddening and blistering of skin) Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

– Susceptibility to cervical cancer increases

– Urosepsis is a form of sepsis that can occur

– Infertility

– Bacterial vaginosis (BV) which directly impacts pregnancies

– Risk of Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

– Fungal or bacterial infections of the reproductive tract

Menstrual health and sanitation are of great importance in the life of a woman.

Be safe, Be clean.