How much water actually is used for menstrual hygiene/health?

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  • siri
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Quantity of water for menstrual hygiene/health

We are trying to assemble quantitative data on how much water actually is used for menstrual hygiene/health (that is, number of litres, not just 'more', 'high' etc). We have found only a few reports. We have also found little on standards (e.g. a disaggregation of the 20 litres/day/person, apart from 'personal hygiene'). Any ideas?

Siri 
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  • Elisabeth
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Re: How much water actually is used for menstrual hygiene/health?

Hi Siri,
I am just wondering how far you got with your research on this topic by now, and why you want to know?
I haven't seen any publications on this but I would say that the amount of water used depends on the type of menstrual hygiene product used. The reusable cloth pads would require more water for washing than menstrual cups. Tampons or disposable pads would require even less water, just enough for handwashing.
Also, some of the menstrual hygiene needs are just met when having a shower, so it might be hard to separate them out from general personal hygiene needs.

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Elisabeth
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  • siri
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Re: How much water actually is used for menstrual hygiene/health?

Hi Elisabeth, Thank you for following up (as usual).

The reason we are interested is that we often hear that particular products cannot be used, e.g. in refugee settings, based on the thought that water quantity and quality are insufficient.  However, we found little evidence.

Our experience from pilots confirms what you have suggested: that reusable pads/cloth use most water, menstrual cups much less, and disposable pads/tampons the least to clean. You then have to calculate laundering, if there is leakage. As usual, collecting water is a topic of great interest to village women .And menstruators are keen to have choice - e.g. adjusting the product type depending on the rainy season. As usual - informed choice is important, if feasible. So would love to hear whether anyone has references.

Best,
Siri 
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