Belated happy mothers’ day to all mothers. It comes as no surprise that topic for this week is menstruation. Menstruation is a natural phenomenon, and is somewhat a maker of a fertile female. This monthly occurrence comes with its own issues, differing from one female to the other and even in the same person, symptoms vary month to month; from heavy flow to small volume flow.

Monthly, the reproductive system (baby making system of our bodies) of a female undergoes preparatory changes in anticipation for a potential pregnancy controlled by hormones. This is called the menstrual cycle. The absence of sexual intercourse to make the formation of a developing baby complete, culminates into the shedding of the inner lining of the reproductive organs.

Ladies face a lot of issues with regards to menstruation from abdominal pains to irregular menses to keeping good hygiene during these periods. Join me as we learn how to cope with these signs and symptoms.

Abdominal cramps

This is the most common accompanying symptom of menstruation or sometimes few days before menstruation. Menstruation is the event in the middle of the menstrual cycle. The baby formed after a probable and rightly-timed sexual intercourse is housed by the womb which has undergone hormonal transformations to become viable. The reason for the cramps is that the structural and the preparatory changes that occurred in the inner lining of the womb have overstayed their welcome and rendered not viable because no baby formed.

It is like preparing some delicious meal for visitors you’re expecting and they fail to show up. The food looses its significance and goes bad. The normal reaction is to throw away the food. Isn’t it? This is exactly what happens in the lining of the womb expelled through menstruation because the visitor (the baby) never formed(never showed up). In order to do away with these overstayed womb changes, the walls of the uterus(womb) contract to bring out these tissues mixed with blood. The contraction is accompanied with abdominal pains, sometimes in thigh pains associated with occasional nausea and vomiting, facial breakouts, breast pains and lumpiness. The pain normally should not affect your daily activities like your sleep, going to school or work, consistently. If it is excruciatingly unbearable and more painful than your usual, consult a gynaecologist.

Not all abdominal pains are menstrual cramps. Any consistent pain occurring outside menstruation may be a sign of something sinister ongoing. You need to see your health provider.

More and more ladies are found in the cooperate world now so these cramps should not be an impediment to the achievement of our daily targets and pursuits. Here are home remedies to cool down the pain. The use of a heat patch in the form of a hot towel and hot bags. These soothens the abdominal muscles by relaxing them. Exercise has been proven to be very effective. Aerobic exercise lasting 30min for at least 3days for 8weeks have been shown to ameliorate these cramps. Exercises like yoga, biking and dancing may help. Taking a warm bath is also helpful.

Menstrual cramps and certain foods substances like alcohol, coffee, spicy foods, highly sugary foods, and red meat are bad cohabitees. Do away with them during your menses.

I heard a whisper from a reader saying why should we go through all these pains for something that is supposed to be normal? My answer is, your body is being primed for labour pains worse than the menstrual cramps. You’ll agree with me that it is better to take things gradually than all at once. Hope you find this understandable.

Unhealthy practices during menses

Ideally, wearing the sanitary pad or a tampon for more than 4-6 hrs is not good practice. This is because the expelled blood is a good and nutritious medium for bacteria growth causing infection like a febrile syndrome called toxic shock syndrome.

Secondly, wearing a blood drenched sanitary pad for a long time causes irritations of the skin around your vulval, perineal areas and buttocks causing skin peeling off and itchiness. Also, be mindful of where you have your pads changed, most especially away from home. This is because most washrooms are highly infectious sites.

Thirdly, having sex during menses. Although there are a cultural and religious underpinnings against sex during menses may not make sense, medically that advise sounds legitimate. Here’s why.

Inside of certain areas of our bodies like on the skin, mouth, intestines and vagina has certain resident living organisms called normal microflora that don’t cause disease. A change in their location however cause a disease. Think about the female reproductive system as one straight corridor separated by a closed door. That is one straight path from vagina to womb(uterus) barricaded by a closed cervix. So by extension the womb does not have these resident living organisms. But during menses, this door is opened for blood to trickle out.

Having penetrating sex during menses may move these living organisms through the opened cervix into their new location(womb) to cause infections like famous pelvic inflammatory disease(PID).

Last but not the least of all the unhealthy practices is the improper disposal of the used pads. Some dump it in WC to flash it. Others fail to properly rap it to hide the blood stains. These are no no. Rather rap the pads gently and rerap them in tissue paper before dumping it into the bin. Not the WC to choke it.

Easy-to-do home remedies to replenish the menstrual blood loss.

Menses is a blood loosing period. Things lost must be replaced. This is why balanced diet is non-negotiable. Green leafy vegetables eg. Nkontomire, lettuce, “ayoyo” and okro are good iron sources to build new blood. Fish and egg yolk are natural reservoirs of other blood-building components like folic acid. This helps prevent the dizziness associated with heavy blood flow. The dizziness is a sign of anemia caused by the menstrual blood loss. Blood tonic, folate and iron tablets are also good to replenish blood lost. I hope you’ve relearnt something or read something new today.

Thanks for reading;

Bear this in mind that, nothing is never promised so you need to make the best of what you have. Do have a nice day!!