Menstruation is one of the vital processes of a woman’s body which deserves utmost caution and self-care. Ensuring proper hygiene during menses, and eating right is the key to ease the pain you go through.
What Is Menstruation
Menstruation, or period, is normal vaginal bleeding that occurs as part of a woman’s monthly cycle. Every month, your body prepares for pregnancy. If no pregnancy occurs, the uterus, or womb, sheds its lining. The menstrual blood is partly blood and partly tissue from inside the uterus.
Why You Should Not Use Tissue Paper During Menstruation
Iwalokun, who is the Head, Immunology and Vaccinology Research Department, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
He said that some tissue papers were products of waste paper, and such tissue papers were not hygienic for draining blood during menstruation.
The habit of using tissue paper in the form of sanitary pads is a poor hygiene practice on the part of any woman.
Because no health policy has supported the use of tissue paper as a sanitary pad, so its a bad behaviour and should not be adopted health-wise.
It doesn’t have any credibility of use. This should be a way of informing women that it carries a serious public health risk.
The practice places such women at risk of having infection which may pass through the vagina cavity and enter the bloodstream, thereby having a serious health impact, Iwalokun said.
The researcher said that the use of tissue paper during menstruation could affect the reproductive organs that could lead to other complications in life.
Sometimes it may be chronic infections that may not give serious symptoms to warrant going to the hospital, but it is indirectly damaging the reproductive system or that pathway.
One of them is the Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), many women do not know they have PID until when issues of infertility come up and untreated PID is a major cause of infertility.
It also depends on the pathogens that are coming from such paper, so it is important to identify the types of a pathogen that are isolated from such tissue papers.
There must be a quality study that will show the various types of pathogens, in order to identify the type of damage it can cause.
However, women should abstain from the practice of using tissue paper as sanitary pads, in order to avoid such health complications.
Women should always adopt proper hygiene at all times, especially during the monthly menstrual period, he said.
Other Precautionary Measure You Should Take During Menstruation In Nigeria
1. Change your sanitary napkin every 4-6 hours
Changing sanitary napkins or tampons within every 4-6 hours is the cardinal rule to establish vaginal hygiene. Menstrual blood, when released from the body attracts various organisms from our bodies, which multiply in the warmth of the blood and cause irritation, rashes or urinary tract infections. Changing your sanitary napkin or tampon regularly curbs the growth of these organisms and prevents infections.
2. Wash Properly
Washing your vagina regularly is extremely important because the organisms cling to your body after you have removed your sanitary napkin. Most people wash regularly, but not the right way–which is, using your hands in motion from the vagina to the anus, not vice-versa. Motioning your hand from the anus to the vagina can lead to the transmission of the bacteria from the anus into the vagina or urethra opening leading to infections.
3. Don’t use soaps or vagina hygiene products
While using vaginal hygiene products every day is a good idea, using these products during menses can turn things around. Vaginas have their own cleaning mechanism which comes into play during menstrual cycles, and these artificial hygiene products can hamper the natural process leading to infections and growth of bacteria.
4. Discard the sanitary napkin properly
Disposing off your tampons and sanitary napkins properly is an important step. Wrap them properly before you throw them away, so the bacteria and infections do not spread. Make sure you don’t flush them, since that will block the toilet causing the water to back up, spreading the bacteria all over it. Washing your hands properly is of utmost importance after you have wrapped and discarded the used tampons and sanitary napkins since you’re likely to touch the stained area while wrapping them.
5. Stick to one method of sanitation
Women tend to use tampons and sanitary napkins, or two sanitary napkins simultaneously during heavy flow which is an efficient technique. While it may keep you dry and prevent stained clothes, it can cause infections too. The combination of two techniques absorbs the blood making us oblivious to the need to change our tampons and sanitary napkins. Without frequent change, the accumulated blood invites bacteria and causes infections. So, it is advisable to use one sanitary napkin and change it as frequently as you can during heavy flow. These cardinal rules will help you stay healthy and manage your period better.
Food To Eat During Menstruation In Nigeria
Drinking a lot of water is always important, and this is especially true during your period. Staying hydrated can reduce your chances of getting dehydration headaches, a common symptom of menstruation.
Drinking plenty of water can also stop you from retaining water and bloating.
Water-rich fruits, such as watermelon and cucumber, are great for staying hydrated. Sweet fruits can help you curb your sugar cravings without eating a lot of refined sugars, which can cause your glucose levels to spike and then crash.
3. Leafy green vegetables
It’s common to experience a dip in your iron levels during your period, particularly if your menstrual flow is heavy. This can lead to fatigue, bodily pain, and dizziness.
Leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach can boost your iron levels. Spinach is also rich in magnesium.
A warm mug of ginger tea can improve certain symptoms of menstruation. Ginger has anti-inflammatory effects, which can soothe achy muscles.
Ginger may also reduce nausea. Few studies confirm this, but a 2018 study found that ginger effectively reduced nausea and vomiting during the first trimester of pregnancy. Since it’s safe and relatively cheap, it’s worth trying.
Don’t consume too much ginger, though: Consuming more than 4 grams in one day could cause heartburn and stomachaches.
Chicken is another iron- and protein-rich food you can add to your diet. Eating protein is essential for your overall health, and it can help you stay full and sated during your period, curbing cravings.
Rich in iron, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, fish is a nutritious addition to your diet. Consuming iron will counteract the dip in iron levels that you might experience while menstruating.
Omega-3s can reduce the intensity of period pain, according to a 2012 study. Subjects who took omega-3 supplements found that their menstrual pain decreased so much that they could reduce the amount of ibuprofen they took.
A 2014 study showed that omega-3s can also reduce depression. For those who experience mood swings and depression around menstruation, omega-3s may be helpful.
Turmeric is known as an anti-inflammatory spice, and curcumin is its main active ingredient. A 2015 study looked at the effects of curcumin on PMS symptoms and found that people who took curcumin had less severe symptoms.
Most nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and they’re a great source of protein. They also contain magnesium and various vitamins. If you don’t want to eat nuts on their own, try nut butter or nut-based milk or add these ingredients to smoothies.
Beans are rich in protein, so they’re good meat replacements for vegans and vegetarians. They’re also rich in iron, which makes them great additions to your diet if your iron levels are low.
Many people get yeast infections during or after their period. If you tend to get yeast infections, probiotic-rich foods like yoghurt can nourish the “good” bacteria in your vagina and may help you fight the infections.
Yoghurt is also rich in magnesium and other essential nutrients, like calcium.
11. Peppermint tea
A 2016 study suggests that peppermint tea can soothe the symptoms of PMS. Specifically, it can relieve menstrual cramps, nausea, and diarrhoea.
Food To Avoid During Menstruation In Nigeria
While all foods are OK in moderation, you might want to avoid certain foods that worsen the symptoms of your period.
Consuming lots of salt leads to water retention, which can result in bloating. To reduce bloating, don’t add salt to your foods and avoid highly processed foods that contain a lot of sodium.
It’s OK to have sugar in moderation, but eating too much of it can cause a spike in energy followed by a crash. This can worsen your mood. If you tend to feel moody, depressed, or anxious during your period, watching your sugar intake can help regulate your mood.
Caffeine can cause water retention and bloat. It can also exacerbate headaches. But caffeine withdrawal can cause headaches, too, so don’t cut out coffee completely if you’re used to having a few cups a day.
Coffee might also cause digestive issues. If you tend to get diarrhoea during your period, reducing your coffee intake could stop this from happening.
Alcohol can have a number of negative effects on your body, which can exacerbate the symptoms of your period.
For example, alcohol can dehydrate you, which can worsen headaches and cause bloating. It can also lead to digestive issues, such as diarrhoea and nausea.
Plus, a hangover can bring on some of the same symptoms that occur during your period, including:
5. Spicy foods
Many people find that spicy food upset their stomachs, giving them diarrhoea, stomach pain, and even nausea. If your stomach struggles to tolerate spicy foods or if you’re not used to eating them, it might be best to avoid them during your period.
6. Red meat
During your period, your body produces prostaglandins. These compounds help your uterus contract and get rid of the uterine lining, resulting in your menstrual flow. However, high levels of prostaglandins cause cramps.
Red meat may be high in iron, but it is also high in prostaglandins and should be avoided during menstruation.
7. Foods you don’t tolerate well
This might seem obvious, but it’s worth emphasizing: If you have food sensitivities, avoid those foods, especially during your period.
If you’re lactose intolerant, you might occasionally treat yourself to a milkshake, regardless. But during your period, it’s especially important to avoid the foods that can trigger issues in your body.
Eating these foods can cause nausea, constipation, or diarrhoea, which will only add to your discomfort when you’re having a painful period.
Frequently Asked Question On Menstruation
Why do periods happen?
A period happens because of changes in hormones in the body. The ovaries release the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. These hormones cause the lining of the uterus (or womb) to build up. The built-up lining is ready for a fertilized egg to attach to and start developing
How does a girl feel when on her period?
Your period may come with cramps and this is known as dysmenorrhea. PMS is a collection of symptoms that some women get around the time of their periods. It can include headaches, back pain, irritability or moodiness, feeling sad or emotional, bloating, and breast tenderness.
How long is a normal period?
A full menstrual cycle begins on the first day of a period and ends the day before the next period. A typical period lasts for around 4–8 days. However, the full cycle tends to last for 25–30 days. Cycles that last for fewer than 21 days are called “polymenorrhea.”
Why is my period for only 3 days?
A period can last anywhere from three to seven days. But you know your body best — a “normal” period is whatever is typical for you. If your periods usually last five or six days and now only last two, it may be because of a change in schedule, a new birth control, or even stress.