FEMININE HYGIENE ON A HIKE

With many many difficult experiences while hiking, Aungsumi has learnt and developed solutions for many "women problems" that may occur when you're away from civilization. Now she's ready to share them with you. 

Aungsumi Sinha

Communication Leader, Mountain Sports.

Ladies, before a hike, do you always have one pertinent question - hygiene and how do you take care of that in the wild? For this topic, we asked Aungsumi  to share her wisdom and first-hand experience. 

 

"Coming from a place surrounded by surreal hills and forests, it's not very surprising that my family and I have always been the outdoorsy kind. My first hike was with my grandfather to the closest hill, close to my house. I was 6. It was also the first time my grandpa let me climb a steep rock, (it had crevices). I was good at climbing I guess, always managed to reach the small door on top of the shelf for sweets. :P 

My love for nature began early and remains undaunted. A new forest to explore is always more fascinating than anything else."

 

She was 6!!! Yes, that's when she began. Practically bought up in the hills of Assam, Aungsumi has spent a lot of time in nature, hills etc hiking, trekking and doing all sorts of outdoorsy stuff. She's had many many difficult experiences but it has also helped her to learn and develop a solution for many "women problems" that may occur when you're away from civilization. Now she's ready to share them with you. 

General hygiene for women during a Hike. (Hiking per day for approx. 6 hours for 2 days.)  

My first trek has taught me many things, one of the most important being women's hygiene. What I would suggest anyone heading out for a trek/hike is to prepare, especially if you are prone to UTI and other hygiene-related problems. 

 

Things to keep handy: - Antibacterial wipes for your lady parts - I recommend V-wash wipes. It's very important that you keep your privates clean and dry. Hikes can make you sweat, especially if its summer. 

 

- Do not stop yourself when nature calls. That would only cause more problems later on. Use wipes, dry it up; should be the mantra. This is something I learned 2 years ago from my gynecologist - wipe front to back and not the other way. 

 

- Change your underwear every day. Twice, if it's too hot. 

 

Hiking with Periods 

This is a bitch, especially if you are prone to extreme cramps. I have 2 options when I have my periods approaching and I have a hike/trek planned. 

 

a. I consult my gynecologist for pills to delay my periods. (talk to your gyno if its ok for you, everybody reacts to pills in different ways.)

 

b. I deal with it. 

- Carry pad/tampons, extra in fact. Seal it/ziplock it. 

- Wipes, again. Use them, depend on them. 

- Carry your medication (if you get cramps) 

- I carried sealed bags with me for disposal for the day and dispose them off after we get back to base.

- Be careful of the place you urinate. If you are allergic, you would want to stay away from weeds, for example, foxtail grass and similar grasses to avoid any kind of discomfort and reactions. 

Women who are super sensitive and allergic to almost any sort of weed or fuzzy things. 

Keep your medications handy, never forget them. Same goes for soothing balms, ointments etc, whatever suits you best. 

Know your environment before you head there. Its always better to be safe than sorry. :)

Washroom in the Wild?

Ladies, when you are walking in the wild and you gotta go... well you gotta go in the wild. 

You probably won't have the pleasure of a toilet at every hiking spot. So know how to spot the spot. 

If you are in a rocky terrain, this should be easy. Take cover behind a rock and stay away from the shrubs and the weeds. Your lady part will thank you. If you are in a terrain which is mostly grassland, pick a spot which is bare, if not, use your shoe to flatten out the surface. 

Do not squat too low, pain is gain here ladies.

Taking a shower?

I understand that taking a shower is not always an option when you're hiking unless you have a river or waterfall nearby. If your campsite has a water supply, you can take full advantage of that otherwise wipes are your friend again.Wipe your underarms and other areas more often. This will get rid of the odor so you can start the day on a fresher note. 

If water is available and you're camping with a group of people for more than a day or two, it could be interesting to carry a shower cabin along. This gives privacy to shower/change etc. 

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