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Health experts advocate proper hygiene to beat menstrual disorders

Menstrual pain

Menstrual pain

Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea) are throbbing or cramping pains in the lower abdomen. Many women experience menstrual cramps just before and during their menstrual periods.

For some women, the discomfort is merely annoying. For others, menstrual cramps can be severe enough to interfere with everyday activities for a few days every month.

Menstrual cramps may be caused by identifiable problems, such as endometriosis or uterine fibroids. Treating any underlying cause is key to reducing the pain. Menstrual cramps that aren’t caused by an underlying condition tend to lessen with age and often improve once a woman has given birth.

Making the revelation recently in Lagos, a gynaecologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Dr. Okechukwu Ugwu, advised women to maintain good sanitary measures during menstruation as well as avoid intercourse so as to keep the vagina from infection.

Ugwu, who spoke to The Guardian in an interview, said that the vagina is highly acidic which protects the woman from infection.

According to him, “Hygienically, tampons or sanitary pads are the best for menstruation. It is unhygienic to use tissue paper or cloth. Those who use these get easily infected because the vaginal has a ph. of about 3.5 to 4.5, which means it is highly acidic. Its being acidic is to protect the woman from having infection.

“We have normal resident flora, they are bacteria that grows in the vagina like lactobacillus acidophilus. This normal flora help to protect the acidity of the vagina, so when the woman is seeing her menses, blood dilutes the acidity and changes it to alkaline which means she is prone to infection at that particular point. So when she starts using tissue, handkerchief and even cotton wool, bacteria is bound to grow on it and it can easily defect the woman, plus the sweat of the woman. But the pad or tampon, once it gets fade, can be removed, even if it is not fade, should be changed because blood is a good culture medium and bacteria grow on it more often. That is part of the reason we tell the woman as much as she can to avoid intercourse during her menses because it introduces bacteria into her uterus and can cause endometritis (infection and inflammation of the womb).”

Meanwhile, the gynaecologist who also explained on why most women experience menstrual cramp, expressed: “Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a psychosomatic disorder, which occurs in the luteal phase in a woman and then stops at the onset of menses. Luteal phase is after ovulation, between ovulation and the next menses is usually 14 days, so any psychosomatic that occurs within that period till the ending or onset of next menses is PMS.

It is called psychosomatic disorder. The psychological aspect of it is that some women within that period feel depressed, some feel anxious, and the somatic part is the bloatedness. Some feel bloated, some menstrual pain, breast fullness and mastalgia, which is, breast pain. So when it combines with anxiety, depression and irritability and then the bloatedness, mastalgia which is breast tenderness and pain and the menstrual cramp itself, that is what constitutes premenstrual syndrome.”

However, some women shared their experience.

Tope, a 27-year-old undergraduate said: “I always refer myself as an ‘escapist’ because I consume some aspirin a day to my period. I usually feel like the world has come crumbling at my feet anytime I am seeing my period, that is why I take that drugs to suppress the pain, not minding its side effects.”



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