It is the best to teach children about hygiene and self-care when they are very young and they learn also very quickly. But during puberty there are lot of changes in the body of girls and boys such as the onset of body odour, acne or pimples, growth of body hair, menstruation and ejaculation. Menstruation and ejaculation mean loss of body fluids and the significance of this must be explained earlier and they are important in sex health education.

Cleanliness is the magic word here, taking bath or showering every morning and evening is the best and it becomes more important during puberty because of body odour, ejaculation and menstruation.

Cleaning the hands before and after taking meals, toilet visits, brushing the teeth in the morning and evening, taking care of their hair and skin regularly must be start when the girls and boys are very small.

Must girls and boys have information about other sex?

At first, the gender-specific hygiene information of her/his body is important but at the same time both girls and boys should also learn the hygiene needs of the other sex. Open discussions among girls and boys; if possible, is good for their later married life too.

Menstruation and hygiene: what are important to know?

Girls can use sanitary towels or tampons to soak up the blood when she gets her menstrual period and usually girls start with sanitary towels. Sanitary towel is worn by a girl inside her panty.

A tampon is a small rolled-up piece of cotton with a string at one end. The girl can push it into her vagina and the string has to hang outside her body. The purpose of the string is to pull the tampon out. The advantage of tampon is that a toilet visit is easy.

Tampons can be bought in every store or supermarket. They are available in different thicknesses and select according to your need.

If tampons or sanitary towels are not available, strips of an old cloth or bathing towel could be used to absorb the blood away.

In emergency situations, soft tissue papers or rolled up toilet papers could also be used.

How often a sanitary towel should be changed?

A sanitary towel should be changed many times during the day, even if the bleeding is not heavy. Tampons should be changed several times in a day.

What about the overnight use?

A sanitary towel can be used overnight without changing, but tampons should not be used overnight.

If somebody is keeping the tampons for a very long time without changing that could make her sick.

How to dispose used sanitary towels and tampons?

They must be wrapped in special paper cover and disposed.

What about taking a bath or shower?

A girl can take bath or shower at any time during her period. It is important to wash the vaginal area daily to prevent infections. It is better to wash and dry from front to back to avoid vaginal infections.

The tampon should be removed during the bath or shower and a new one is used after the bath.

What about swimming?

A girl can use a fresh tampon and go to swim without any problem to the public safety. The sanitary towel should not be used.

How to reduce the body odour?

Take bath or shower regularly in the morning and in the evening and it is important to change your cloths and socks regularly. If a girl or boy wants to use deodorant she should use only under her arms. A deodorant for the whole body is useless and could also make you sick. Regular bath or shower in the morning and in the evening is enough for the body and the deodorant is only for the arm pit. It is also relevant to boys.

The girl must consult a gynaecologist before using any vaginal deodorant because this may cause serious irritations.

What to do if there is acne or pimples?

Almost every girl and boy gets acne during puberty. Wash your face several times in a day with cold or warm water. The soap used must be unperfumed and an antiseptic soap is worth to try. Never pick or squeeze the spots and this paves the way for the infection.

Drink lot of water (2 to 3 litres/day); if you sweat more you have to drink more. Eat freshly cooked food; avoid processed food, fast food, junk food, chips, sweets and soft drinks to minimize the problems. If it is too serious go to your doctor and he may decide to use hormones or other medicines. But you must ask your doctor to explain you all the advantages and disadvantages of such treatment. Be careful always with hormones.

What about boys’ hygiene?

They must also take bath everyday to keep their body clean. If not, bad smell and infections are the reward.

What is smegma?

When a boy goes through the puberty he produces white/yellow substance around his glans and foreskin. It is normal but it can become smegma if you do not wash it properly everyday. Smegma is very smelly. If not cleaned properly the foreskin can be inflamed, infections are certain and very painful to pull back also. If he learns once then he follows it always.