PCOS, Endometriosis, Fibroids, Amenorrhea, Oligomenorrhea, PMS, PMDD. Do these sound familiar to you?
Every time I begin a topic under Menstrual Health, I think to myself, ‘this has not been talked about enough.’
While menstruation is a cause for alarm, I mean a woman bleeding through her vagina for close to a week, its not thought of as something critical.
The sign of blood from any person’s body is often handled with care and urgency but as society has always had it, issues close to the lives of women are trivialized and taken as trifles. Just imagine if men were the ones who bled for a week? I think every man would be given a week off from any process so he could handle the pain. But honestly, I think they would die.
This society expects that women will deal with our menstruation internally, maybe because it comes from within, and whatever pain or cause for alarm you might have, is thought of as normal, because menstruation is a natural occurrence.
Well, thing is, the birth process is natural and normal but that doesn’t stop women from dying on the maternity table, does it? Maternal death is actually the most common cause of death for women in the global south, so you might want to hold off that having a baby thing before you understand the implications.
Just like the birth process, normal and natural but fatal, menstruation comes with the same implications.
Do you think its normal to have menstrual cramps? Do you think its normal to cramp till you kneel down, sweating, screaming and feel like your insides are going to rapture? Do you think its normal for someone to be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, get shots of painkillers because they are on their period?
While we might handle this pain and hope to the great mother that it will end, we are recently coming to the realization that this pain is not normal at all. And we women, deal with a lot of pain, too much that it has become part of us.
The terms pain and women have become so synonymous its impossible to think about one without the other. And while religion might tell you it’s a curse or being part of a woman, we are living in an era where anything is possible, including getting an epidural during birth, we can put this discussion on the table.
If the tiktok videos of the period and birth pain simulators have anything to show us, you know men could literally die if they had period or birth pain, is that we have to dedicate for dialogue, research and solutions to these menstrual disorders which bleeding women have little to no idea about.
And let’s not just dwell on the pain, have you thought about the frequency of your period? Does your period come less than 21 days of your cycle? While its not mandatory for every woman to have a 28-day cycle, having a 14-day cycle, should be a call to the doctor’s.
Do you bleed for too long? Normally, women bleed for 3-5 days, bleeding for two weeks is, and I say this with only the little knowledge I have from biology and talking to women, risky. You might end up getting anemia.
How about, with the exception of contraceptive-induced prolonged wait, not having your period for 3months? You might want to see a gynecologist.
And you have a gynecologist? Most women in Kenya do not have one and you should think of getting one so that they can take you through this process of having a comfortable and aware menstrual cycle.
Finally, you want to know what causes these disorders right? Is it something about your diet, is it drugs and substances, hormonal imbalances, STIs, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), genetics?
This week we will be talking to health professionals and women who have experienced these disorders so you can be in the know and detect before its too late. Knowledge is power, so keep tabs on our website and social media and we will keep you informed.