by Oluwatosin Fatade
Victory loves preparation, so does your flow.
Imagine it’s your daughter’s first day in secondary school. It was her 10th birthday just 2 weeks ago, and being the super mom that you are, you went all out to spoil her and anyone who dared to crash your gates. After 2 weeks, the neighbourhood was yet to recover from the sugar-loaded event of a birthday at your place, your daughter hadn’t either. She’d been complaining of abdominal discomfort in the last week and you’d infused her with all the bitters you could lay hands on; it’s all those birthday sugars, the ice cream, chocolate and cake you had at your birthday you had told her. Well, so you thought.
She is now enrolled at the leading secondary school in the locale, you drop her off at the school and take a few minutes to observe your beloved as she moves her frame along in the checked purple top and white pleated skirt. You drive off to your office and imagine what a great day she would have.
Imagine the rude shock garnished with much embarrassment that would fill the air when she returns that day to tell you how a boy asked why her skirt was red in the back! Then it dawns on you that all those abdominal discomfort were actually cramps heralding her first menses. How in the world did you miss that, after all the preparatory classes you had given her? It is probably forgivable for a first timer, but more so embarrassing when a lady who has been seeing her menses for at least 5 years still gets caught unawares.
While there might be exceptional cases where events like this cannot be helped, most are largely preventable.
I have talked to some ladies who have been menstruating for at least 6 or 7 years but cannot specifically describe their flow, they just know it’s due to arrive when the tommy starts acting up or whatever other signs herald it for them. But to such persons, what happens when the signs forget to show up? Your guess is as good as mine.
So let me attempt to put you through calculating your flow so you never get caught unawares even when the signs go a hiding.
To be able to foretell or correctly predict your flow pattern, you must have a record of at least 6 continuous months which will include the day you start and the day you end each cycle. The number of days for which you see blood must be noted, it can range from one to seven days. Another thing to take note of is the length of your cycle. Length of your cycle can be calculated by counting the number of days between the first day of a particular menses or period and the first day of the next one, emphasis on first day. A major and common error to avoid is counting from the last day of a period to the first day of the next. The length of your cycle should range between 21 and 35 days i.e. Not less than 21 and not more than 35 days. This is considered normal. When the ranges go out of sync with what’s described above, there may be a problem, or when the flow is too heavy (as defined by passage of large amounts or sizes of large clot, very soaked pads that have to be changed up to 2 or 3 times daily, fainting or collapsing during your menses).
The number of days of bleeding and the length of cycle varies from person to person, so there is no reason to be bothered or worried if yours is different from that of everyone around you, whether shorter or longer. If your pattern does not fall within that described above, visit a hospital for clarification.
Let’s take an example to make this clear…
Sharon is 20 years old, she began her menses at age 12. In the first year, she saw blood for 4 days, didn’t see it regularly every month but in the second year up to date, it has been regular and she sees her menses for 6 days, with the 1st and 2nd days flowing substantially, a little reduction in flow on the 3rd and 4th day and mere spots of blood on days 5 and 6. Sometimes she sees it for just 4 or 5 days only. The dates of her menses in the last 6 months are as follows:
Oct 20 – 25
Nov 17 – 20
Dec 15 – 20
Jan 13 – 17
Feb 11 – 15
Mar 12 – 15
If you calculate the number of days from the 1st day of menses in October to the next period’s and do so for successive periods; you will see that the cycle length is 28-30 days, while the period of flow is between 4 to 6 days. So we can predict safely and to near correctness that Sharon should be expecting another flow to begin about 28 days from March 12, which will be April 9.
Asides from being able to predict your next flow, a knowledge of the above will help you note when things have gone wrong or help your physician narrow down the cause of menstrual issues.
Don’t keep your issues to yourself, don’t let yourself be embarrassed or caught unawares, get a book today and start recording, or get a calendar to start marking off the dates. You will find them useful too in calculating your safe and fertile periods when you are ready to start making babies (note that this isn’t a failsafe method of getting pregnant or avoiding it, but a vital aid to achieving either).
You as a man can also record for your wife or fiancée or even your female boss, yes! (so you’ll know the period of the month to be extra gentle with her or avoid arguments totally; it also works super amazingly if your boss is a lady). Abeg I didn’t say anything o!
You still have questions? Why not ask me or your doctor? Or you can send an E-mail to email@example.com
Until another health-related post, have fun!