health

Is it compulsory to menstruate?

Dear Reader,

At the end of this article, you should be able to decide for yourself whether seeing your period every month is a necessity for you or not.

 

When I have my periods, they last for 3-5 days. I barely notice it before it starts and barely remember it for the next couple of days. Some women are not so lucky.  Back in the university in a room with 5 students, here’s our experience when my roommate (let’s call her Susan) is on her period:

  1. We all start her period together, because we wake up to the sounds of her pain
  2. We know exactly how long her period lasts…
  3. We know this because we are the unpaid medical support crew (not complaining)
  4. Our duties include buying pain medicines, boiling water for hot water bottle, holding her while she vomits and making excuses to her class mates on why once again she’s down with ‘malaria’
  5. As the unpaid medical crew, we try to run shifts around her, juggling our school schedule with helping ‘our sister’

And all this while this Susan’s bloody drama is happening, I’m asking myself this question Susan has asked herself a thousand times: Is it compulsory to menstruate?

Another experience to share is that of a friend living with Sickle cell disease, let’s call her Toyin. For Toyin, her menstrual period is = mini sickle cell crisis. This crisis starts some days before the period begins with bouts of intense bone and abdominal pain and therefore for at least one week every month, it appears to me that her reproductive system is trying to kill or injure Toyin for us. After the menses are over, we may still have to battle anaemia from the blood loss during this period. Is it compulsory to menstruate?

At times, women may not want to see their period for convenience-sake, for example Rahmat, who just wants to fast during the Ramadan season without taking a break because of her period, or Chioma, who wants to go on a long trip and doesn’t want any red surprises in a public bus along the way.

Is there a way out? A way to avoid the dreaded period blues?

Yes, there is. For women like Susan, Toyin, or maybe you; I’m sure you get super distressed watching the calendar with fear as your dreaded appointment with your period approaches.

The answer is hormonal contraceptives. If this were a video game, this would be the cheat, I’m about to share with you. It’s a simple health tip that you don’t have to use simply because you want to prevent pregnancy, but you can use it to help you have lighter, less painful periods or even NO periods at all. And the best part is, it’s safe and reversible because when you stop using them, your period will eventually go back to its default setting. Examples of contraceptives that help are daily contraceptive pills like Levofem(it requires skipping the inactive tablets and starting another pack immediately), Contraceptive injections like Sayana Press and contraceptive implants like Jadelle or Implanon.

Why should we menstruate?

Don’t get me wrong, menstruation is a good thing, but the main purpose it serves is to let you know that another opportunity to get pregnant just passed by. For many women who start menstruating at say 12 years old and probably do not get married until 25/30, you would have spent a minimum of 576 days (almost two years) of your life menstruating when you aren’t ready for a baby and so basically do not need the menstrual alarm.

Drop your cross!

Someone informed me, that menstruation is a woman’s curse, something we must endure gallantly as proof of our womanhood and because pain is normal for us. Do you agree? I think not. Menses are supposed to be as common and non-terrifying as going to poop in the toilet therefore If your period is always negatively affecting your life or you find it inconvenient at the moment, then here’s my candid advice, it’s time to drop that cross and walk the hormonal contraceptive path to redemption. Send me an email to pharmacistreny@gmail.com or use the contact form on this site.

Do you have menstrual pain or other stories to share? Leave a comment for me below

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