Monday, May 20, 2019

Health | Menstrual Hygiene: Every Woman’s Experience

To some, she’s Auntie Flo because she comes with an associated flow. To others, she’s simply Auntie Rose because they see red whenever she shows up. Rose draws its origins from Rossa, Italian for red. We’re talking menstrual periods, many a woman’s worst nightmare.

First-time and regular episodes alike continue to present varied experiences. From mild pain to excruciating cramps, they’ve experienced it all. To some, it’s first time freaky before it transitions into something they gradually get used to. To others, its a lifetime of recurrent anguish that only ebbs at the dawn of menopause, all of 25+ years later.

The onset of one’s menstrual period is often preceded by PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome), a collective term that describes the physical and psychological distress that afflicts some, right before and during their menstrual periods.

Physical symptoms may include conditions like weight gain, bloating, dizziness and mild headaches among others. Emotional symptoms, on the other hand, include conditions such as loss of concentration, insomnia, mood swings and irregular sex patterns.

How would the average female manage their menstrual hygiene, one will ask? Whereas some get the hang of the burden, many continue to struggle. From over-the-counter medication to exercise, rest and diet, among others, countless remedies have been explored. 

I spoke to a close confidant, a daughter of Eve I’ll call Jessie.

Exercise: Moderate aerobic exercises like walking or light jogging help to reduce bloating and the pain of cramping. They improve one’s blood circulation and trigger the release of endorphins, sometimes called “feel-good hormones”, largely because of their ability to ease pain or stress.

Hot baths are a form of heat therapy. They work by relaxing the uterine muscles, increasing blood flow and easing or relieving menstrual pain.

Orgasms: Having an orgasm helps to release endorphins, and these come with several benefits as already highlighted.

Enough rest, particularly in foetal position, takes pressure off the abdominal muscles which, in turn, help to relieve cramps. In this position, the skeletal muscles around the abdomen relax, lessening abdominal tension in the process.

Diet: Healthy foods and vegetables such as carrots, fruits and foods rich in zinc – such as pumpkin seeds help to relax body muscles. They reduce the production of certain glands that, in the long run, help to ease the cramping. In some experiences, she says, foods such as ginger have been found to be as effective as ibuprofen in relieving menstrual cramps.

Over-the-counter medication: Often the last resort unless advised by one’s doctor, this should be resorted to when PMS conditions appear severe.

At the onset of PMS, it’s best to deal with the obvious symptoms. Menstrual flow is heaviest during the first days of one’s cycle. At this stage, one will need the right pads to avoid potential public embarrassment and the resulting stigma.

Brands like Afripads have menstrual kits that have varying absorption rates – Maxi (light) and Super Maxi (heavy). Had troublesome periods before? Tell your tale, and let the world learn a thing or two!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave your comment here...