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How to Cleanse During Menstruation

author image Elizabeth Moore
Based in Princeton, N.J., Elizabeth Moore has written health-related patient education materials since 1992. She is a registered nurse with more than 15 years of clinical experience. Moore earned an Associate of Applied Science in nursing from Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing.
How to Cleanse During Menstruation
Appropriate cleansing during menstruation is easy to do. Photo Credit: Steve Mason/Photodisc/Getty Images

At one time or another, most women will experience doubt or concern about maintaining genital hygiene, especially during menstruation. The stigma persists that the menstrual cycle renders female genitals unclean. While this is untrue, good personal hygiene includes appropriate cleansing during menstruation.

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How to Cleanse During Menstruation

Step 1

Run warm water in the shower or bathtub. It is okay to wear a tampon while cleansing, or to have no protection at all. Have mild soap or cleanser and a washcloth available, if preferred.

Step 2

Wet the entire genital area with warm water just as you normally would any other time. Wet the buttocks and external anal area last to avoid bacterial contamination of the vagina or urethra.

Step 3

Gently wash from front to back, using unscented, mild soap or cleanser to the external genital area, if preferred. According to the "American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists," It is best to cleanse the genitals with plain, warm water only. Use soap and warm water to wash the buttocks and external anal area.

Step 4

Rinse the entire genital area with warm water. Avoid leaving traces of soap or cleanser, as even mild products may dry out or irritate delicate skin if left on too long. Rinse the buttocks and anal area last.

Step 5

Gently pat yourself dry with a clean towel. Check that the entire area is dry before getting dressed. Covered wet skin can enhance the growth of bacteria and other organisms.

Step 6

Remove and discard any tampon you may have worn while cleansing. Apply a new tampon or sanitary napkin and clean underpants.

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