Every year on May 28th, World Menstrual Hygiene Day is observed. It’s an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of menstrual care for women and girls, as well as the struggles that those without access to sanitary products face. We’re working to break the silence around cycles, combat the stigma frequently associated with them, and stimulate discussion about the relevance of menstrual hygiene for women and girls all over the world on Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021.
Last week, we took the opportunity to give answers to questions that are commonly asked about menstruation on my social media. Which I believe may be common to many more females. We continue this week from where left off.
- Is there something I won’t be able to do until my menses starts?
Your period doesn’t have to stop you from doing things you usually do. You can still go to school, do your house chores, visit your mates, participate in sports, do everything you usually do. Menstruation should not be used as a yardstick to shirk responsibilities. The pain normally should not affect your daily activities like your sleep, going to school or work, consistently. If the pain is excruciatingly unbearable and more painful than your usual, consult a gynaecologist.
- How long does a typical cycle last?
It typically takes 3 to 5 days from the first sign of blood to the last. After your first phase, it’s normal for your cycles to be a little erratic for a few years. As a result, your cycles will not always occur at the same time each cycle and may vary slightly from month to month. It takes 2 to 5years to normalize to become regular – monthly. Don’t worry; as you get older, your cycles may become more frequent and begin to resemble adult cycle ranges, but they may still be unpredictable.
- Is it common to have two periods every month?
Yes, it’s possible. Your period may last longer or shorter than usual in some months, or begin earlier or later than usual. Sometimes, you may even have two period in a single month. For example you have a 28day cycle and you had you menses on 2nd January. You may see your menses again on 30th or 31st of January; 2 menses in single month. Any bleeding occurring between 2 calculated normal consecutive periods If you have a normal period, a deviation in it could suggest a medical problem that need the attention of gynaecologist
- What does it mean if your time is longer than seven days?
It may indicate something threatening going on. You should see the doctor if you have bleeding that lasts longer than 7 days a period or is so severe that you have to change your pad or tampon nearly every hour.
- What causes less menstrual bleeding and is it normal?
This is neither here or there. Lighter cycles are normally not a cause for alarm. It is normal to have menstrual flow varying from month to month, with some months being naturally lighter than others. There are a myriad of causes of less menstrual flow but periods may be lighter due to the following factors: ovulation disorders, being underweight, stress, pregnancy, or a lurking cause of infertility so please see the gynaecologist.
- I sometimes have late menses. What might be wrong?
Your time may be late for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, you may be expecting a child. You can use a home pregnancy test if you think this is the case or check with your doctor. I see young ladies come to the hospital anxious that they might be pregnant because they’ve missed their menses even when they’ve never had sex before. Relax young lady!! Smile and chill okay. Medically speaking, you can’t be pregnant if you’ve not had penetrative sex greater than 5days for shorter menstrual cycles and 7 days after your first day of menses. This is not absolute but simply based on chance. Anything after ten days is a 50-50 chance of pregnancy happening. The pregnancy probability increases as this period approaches ovulation.
However, a host of other causes, such as medication like contraceptives and certain pain killers (aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen), stress, diet, or exercise, may trigger late or even missed periods. Hormonal variations may trigger late or even missing periods in young women, whose cycles are not yet well developed. Persistent irregularities more than 5years is worth the gynecologist’s attention.
- Is it okay to have sex during my menses?
It’s a risky game to go without contraception during your menses, since fertilization can happen during this stage of the menstrual cycle. Here’s the trick; although menstrual blood flow contains unfertilized ovulated egg during menses, you may not be lucky to have the egg expelled early before the time of penetrative sex. Why risk this? Use a contraceptive method. Speak to your doctor.
- Is it possible to become pregnant a day after my period?
Although it is impossible, you could become pregnant shortly after your period. Sperm can last up to 5 days in a female’s body after sex. This means that if you ovulate early, you can be able to get pregnant soon after your period ends, particularly if your menstrual cycle is naturally short. Ovulation is the release of an egg by the ovaries, which is ready to be fertilized by male sperm.
Is it normal for your breasts to hurt while you’re on your period?
It’s natural to experience breast pain that comes and goes with menses. Any other form of breast pain should be examined by a doctor.
I sincerely think the idea of taxes on sanitary pads should be reviewed. Menstruation is a female human right and it is little harsh to put taxes on their importation. Taking the taxes of sanitary pad may go a long way to improve accessibility and good personal hygiene during their period.
Sanitary pads are made of cotton. Ghana is blessed with abundance of cotton. Can we increase the production of sanitary locally? Policy makers I implore you to look at this.
Thanks for reading;
Bear this in mind that, nothing is never promised so you need to make the best of what you have. Have a nice day!!