Feminine hygiene products (also called menstrual hygiene products) are personal care products used by women during menstruation, vaginal discharge, and other bodily functions related to the vulva and vagina.
These products are either disposable or reusable. Sanitary napkins (American English) or sanitary towels (British English), tampons, and pantiliners are disposable feminine hygiene products. Menstrual cups, cloth menstrual pads and period panties are the major categories of reusable feminine hygiene products.
Products meant to "cleanse" the area of the vulva or inside of the vagina, such as feminine deodorants, douche, feminine powders, feminine soaps, and feminine wipes have also been described as "feminine hygiene" products. These products may lead to allergic reaction and irritation as the vagina naturally flushes out bacteria. Many health professionals advise against douching because it can change the balance of vaginal flora and acidity.
Society and cultureEdit
In low-income countries, women's choices of menstrual hygiene materials are often limited by the costs, availability and social norms.
Costs and taxEdit
Tampon tax is a shorthand for sales tax charged on tampons, pads and menstrual cups. The cost of these commercial products for menstrual management is considered to be unacceptably high for many low-income women. At least half a million women across the world do not have enough money to adequately afford these products. This can result in missing school or even dropping out. Several initiatives worldwide advocate to eliminate the tax all together. In some countries, such petitions have already been successful (for example parts of the UK and the United States).
Access to products in prisonsEdit
The Federal bureau of Prisons in the United States announced that women in its facilities would be guaranteed free menstrual pads and tampons. In section 411 of the First Step Act which was passed on May 22, 2018 states, "The Director of the Bureau of Prisons shall make the healthcare products described in subsection (c) available to prisoners for free, in a quantity that is appropriate to the healthcare needs of each prisoner"
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