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Know your Flow – #HealthHacks

by Admin on

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 oluwatosinfatade@treasuredclaypot.com.ng

Until another health-related post, have fun!

International Women’s Day

by Adebayo Akande on

THE X-FACTOR

Written by Adebayo Akande
For a long time I questioned the women movements. I didn’t loathe it, just wasn’t particularly enamored with the idea. I reasoned “men also have problems. Why don’t we have ministry of Men affairs? Why aren’t we empowering the men? If women consider themselves to be equal, why fight so hard to prove it? Then if women are equal to men, why should the statement “treat her like a lady” still sting our ears?
Before you try to convict and blacklist me as a chauvinist, let me say that I know too well about the influence and power women wield that men don’t understand, my mother and sisters are testimonies. And a part of me feels a political movement isn’t necessary to prove this.
Or maybe it does. Maybe a revolution is needed to open the eyes of the world to what obtains in most, if not all third-world countries. I am presently working in one of the core northern states of Nigeria, and I can now relate with the plights of the girl child.

I was asked to give a career talk to secondary school students, and I was excited about this. I had given this talk a few times to similar groups down south, and I could see the glee, their chipper mien as I talked about Ben Carson, the Wright brothers, Wole Soyinka, Theresa May among others. It was a rousing speech, and it almost always ended this way- the students standing and clapping. And the school administrators would ask for an encore. So you can understand why I was looking forward to this particular one.
Let me just say this particular talk was a catastrophe. At least to me it was. I was terribly sad after the session. The students were happy, they asked questions, they seemed enthusiastic, but then they were grossly unprepared. Let me explain.

First, I had to speak to SS3 students through a translator! Yes, they would soon write SSCE and JAMB, yet they could hardly string a complete, meaningful sentence in English! My interpreter told me not to think too much of this, as those in the University are no better! And this wasn’t even the sad(dest) part.
The boys in the class wanted to be doctors, engineers, soldiers, pilots, scientists, lawyers and so on. It was easy to notice the girls weren’t talking. And this wasn’t due to shyness, at least not entirely. Now let me describe the classroom setup- the students sat on mats, the girls were huddled together against the wall at the back, and had to sit with knees folded, and as I would later learn, they were to keep mute.
I moved close to them and tried to force them to talk. One of them eventually obliged, and from her speech, it was clear that she was miles ahead of the class in terms of intelligence. I asked what she wanted to become in the future, and the next thing she said sent chills down my soul. “I’m betrothed already. I will be a housewife.” (Yes, she used the word betrothed)
I was speechless! I looked into the eyes of the other girls. What I termed shyness was now clear to me for what it really was- shame! I thought of my female colleagues, and I wondered what could have been of them if they had grown up in such conditions. I wondered how many potential surgeons, political scientists, were locked up in houses making babies; bringing life into the world yet dying on the inside.

I engaged some contemporaries, and I was told it was a mix of culture and religion. But I almost immediately found fault with this logic. Were the daughters of the custodians of this culture and religion subjected to similar treatment? No! Their own daughters are studying in tertiary institutions abroad. Are they above culture?

This article isn’t so much to whine, nor to rant. But the challenges of the twenty first century woman are real! Even for the “empowered women”. There are still pressures from society, expectations that fall in the continuum from unrealistic to outrightly bizarre. Both the illiterate woman locked up in some third world purdah and the brilliant female neurosurgeon has to cope with immense pressure on a daily basis. So while this piece has highlighted just a few of the denigration women face from society-and we shall discuss these and many more in subsequent posts-, the main purpose of this article is to do the least we can for the women in our lives-appreciate them!

So this goes out to the young girls who have been made to believe that all they matter for is their culinary or fecundation abilities, I pray one day, not too far away, this world would do right by you, and for your female children after you. That your dreams won’t remain just dreams, but there’ll be enabling environment where you can be you-gifted, brilliant, and creative.

To those who have suffered abuse in whatever form-physical, mental, emotional; that healing comes, and life becomes worth living once more. To the career women, those who have to bear the responsibility of training and catering for their families on their own, the world is better because of your sacrifice!

To those whose only crime was having more than one X chromosome, and who have to grapple with the harsh realities of fitting into a vicious society, and to those who have been robbed of their dreams; to the daughters, sisters, mothers who each day teach us that life is more colorful than the black and white we see, who remind us that being tender, considerate and loving are signs of strength not weakness; to the wives who give us the beauty of a smile, and manifest the miracle of bringing forth new life; to the amazing women who turn defeated men into warriors with words and care, I say you may never get to know just how powerful you are, and us men may never really realize the extent to which we need you, and the depths to which we appreciate you! We may not always compliment you, but we can’t deny the fact that you complement us! I say again, that maybe we don’t really understand the enormity of your strength, so it scares us. But then we must know and accept this fact- you were created different from us, but not inferior.

And especially today, as on all days, I celebrate the women in my life, and the woman of my life. If I manage to replicate in my daughter[s] what I’ve seen and learnt from you, I would consider myself a success!

Happy International Women’s Day 2017!

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