Happy Breastfeeding Week!

It is a sensitive topic and there are so many things that we can write about it. But first, I am sending you warm greetings during this International Breastfeeding Week (August 1st – 7th). I want to tell all the mothers with young babies, please breastfed for at least two years and also exclusively only breast milk for the first six months as it is beneficial for both your child and you – lowers chances for Breast cancer (will talk this another time)

Menstruation

What is Menstruation Period?

Now for those who do not know, Menstruation Period is hormonal controlled monthly experience among women of reproductive age (12 years to 40/45 years). This natural process involves hormonal changes during the ovarian cycle that are the key to the human population – yes, women are the reason we exist but we uphold our “men” contribution. 



During the menstruation period, a woman’s body breakdown her inner uterine walls and sheds them off together with the unfertilized ovum. The amount of blood loss is between 30ml to 80/100ml and varying among individuals. 
This whole period that regularly is 3-5 days to some even 2-7 days comes with so many physiological and psychological changes to a woman.

Note, during pregnancy both ovarian and menstrual cycle ceases and hence no menstruation. If you notice bleeding during pregnancy, urgently seek medical care and support as it is a warning sign for intrauterine complications.

Today, we want to share best practices on how to stay safe during the menstruation period. In general hereafter, we want to talk about dealing with mood swings, pain, and cramps, what to eat, is it safe to have sex, how to keep your Yoni “Vagina” clean, and importantly how to embrace this process.

Mood Swings:

Gents, yes they have this! Sometimes you walk onto your woman and she is probably pissed for no reason or doesn’t want to eat, or she just wants you not to go watch soccer and so many others - I could forever go on using personal experiences.
But these menstrual changes could be just that, and it is important you know that and she knows it too. So, ladies, we all have ways to deal with sudden mood changes, and what we are suggesting is not necessary a scripture not to be changed or needs to appear exactly to all. This all is sometimes referred to as Premenstrual Syndrome

Mood Swings

During a week or few days before the period starts some women experiences: Irritability, Anger, Depression, Crying, Oversensitivity, Feeling nervous and anxious, and alternating sadness and rage. These changes can persist as well during the menstruation period and weigh heavily among women and especially those with not-understanding partners; well single women are lucky somehow. 

To deal with this, you need regular physical exercise. Yes, girls, an active physical lifestyle is the key not just to shape your body but also to kill the mood bugs, especially when done a few days prior to starting your menses. 

An active physical lifestyle is a key not just to shape your body but also to kill the mood bugs.

So we encourage women to have this active lifestyle, a 1km evening walk/jogging is more beneficial. If you cannot make it a custom well try doing it when you are mood swings, it will help to cheer you up and if you have somebody go with him/her out and exercise together.

Pain and cramps:

During period some experiences lower abdominal pain, lower back pain, knee joints pain, and even thigh muscle pains. It sometimes becomes severe and feels like legs are set on fire, with tingling sensation, and in many variable ways, it can be explained. 
To some women, the pain is severe to the extent they cannot keep up with their daily routine. Some countries have menstrual leave in their labor codes, either at a national level or in industrial agreements: Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, a few Chinese provinces, and Zambia – yes Zambia.

 Pain and cramps:

Menstrual spasms are totally typical and can begin a day or two preceding your period and keep going for a couple of days. They are brought about by muscle tearing inside the uterus because of a hormone called prostaglandin – it's an absolutely normal experience of the menstrual cycle. While a few women experience mild side effects, others can encounter other symptoms like fever, diarrhea, migraines, and dizziness. 

Some countries have menstrual leave in their labor codes, either at a national level or in industrial agreements: Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, a few Chinese provinces, and Zambia – yes Zambia. 


The following can help alleviate period cramps and reduce period pain:

● Use a heating pad on your lower abdomen or lower back

● Take a warm bath

● Place a hot water bottle on the lower abdomen or lower back

● Massage your abdomen

● Ask your doctor about using an over-the-counter pain reliever or an anti-inflammatory drug

● Do an easy exercise like yoga, walking, or swimming to help increase blood flow 


What to eat During Periods:

Yes, the menstrual complications are affected highly by what you eat. These foods or drinks helps to alleviate the complaints: water, water-rich fruits (watermelon and cucumber), leafy green vegetables, ginger, chicken (sorry guys, we’ll be buying more chicken now), fish, dark chocolate, nuts, yogurt, and peppermint tea. The reason is the power of hydration in lowering pain, increasing iron levels, anti-inflammatory effects, proteins, and other micronutrients. 

What to eat During Periods



Avoid using too much salt, sugar, coffee, alcohol, spicy food, and red meat.


Is sex safe during the menstruation period?

This is still a debate on whether you can or cannot have sex on period. The answer to this is individualized.
 Medically there is no danger for pregnancy but higher danger for sexually transmitted diseases, so Protection is MUST even when having sex with someone you trust as your menstrual blood can affect him as well.

Is sex safe during the menstruation period?

 In addition to sexually transmitted diseases, women are at increased risk of developing yeast infection or vaginosis when having sex during periods.

The benefits of having sex are:

● shorter periods due to uterine contractions during orgasm

● lighter, less painful periods

● reduced stress

● improved sleep

● headache relief

● strengthened immune system

● improved fitness

Having sex during menstruation can sometimes be messy. However, there are some steps people can take if they are worried about this, including:

● using towels to cover sheets or other surfaces

● having sex in the shower

● staying in the missionary position or laying on one side

● Using a condom.

● Using a disposable menstrual cup



How to keep your Yoni “Vagina” clean during Periods:


menstrual hygiene

This is the part we all waited on how to keep it clean and safe. There are several ways that you can use to stay healthy and safe. The goal is to control blood loss and odor. To deal with bleeds, there are several things you can use such as:

● Reusable and washable cloth pads

● Commercially available pads

● Tampons

● Menstrual cups

It is important to notice the smell and understand what it means. Clean blood usually smells like metal, it’s a smell of iron and it should not warn you of anything. 
The resulting “rotten” smell from bacteria mixed with the menstrual flow shouldn’t be strong enough for others to detect. You might be able to control such odors by changing pads and tampons frequently, especially during heavy-flow days. 

Clean blood usually smells like metal, it’s a smell of iron and it should not warn you of anything. 


A “rotten” smell can occur when a tampon is left in for too long or forgotten. This can happen at the end of a period when you don’t have to insert a new tampon as often and you have no further bleeding. 

If you’re concerned that you may have forgotten to remove a tampon, try to feel at the opening of your vagina for the strings. If you can’t feel them, see your doctor for a vaginal exam to confirm. 

A “rotten” smell can occur when a tampon is left in for too long or forgotten.


Some women report a “fishy” smell during menstruation. Unlike other common odors, fishiness usually indicates a medical problem that you need to see a doctor for. This odor is most often attributed to bacterial vaginosis, a type of infection. It’s also a lot stronger than a normal period smell.

You may have bacterial vaginosis if the “fishy” smell is accompanied by:

● burning, especially during urination

● irritation

● itchiness

● vaginal discharge outside of menstrual bleeding

Bacterial vaginosis may be noticeable during your period, but it’s not caused by your menstrual cycle. It results from the overgrowth of healthy vaginal bacteria.

Women Embrace this:

Women should feel proud of this process. You need to fully understand yourself and talk about your body proudly and rights to say when anything is wrong. 

Women

With you embracing yourself, will be able to talk to doctors when things are not right down under. So take pride and March forward.

Written by Augustine Rutasingwa ( A doctor to be, Traveller),  you can find him on Twitter (#Daktari Mtalii)
and Nancy Rumazi( A Nurse, A writer ) you can find  her on Twitter   (@NRumazi)