We may pick off from somewhere and some may not pick up at all. The day came when the news of what was basically rumors became my reality. First it was one then two and subsequently hundreds. ‘Stay home’ they said, ‘avoid over crowding, wear a face mask. If you have symptoms, seek for help’. All this I heeded to. What they forgot to say was keep a spare napkin at home.
We were all lost in the urgency of the moments. Tossed by the fear that had gripped the nation. Nothing really seemed more important. For me, it was even worse as I was in the heart of it all. The stress had kept my monthly companion from coming and the truth is, I did not even notice. Normally, by now I should be screeming in pain or adopting a particular sleep posture. On the contrary, I was more engaged in seeing to it that every other thing was in order.
On this fateful day, as usual I had made the campaigns and ensured that everywhere in my neighborhood remained closed. I did not even want to imagine that one positive case could come from my locality. Boom by noon I felt an urgent need to rush to the bathroom. I had an episode of diarrhea which usually is the Hallmark of my period. I am not sure to call myself dumb but I was actually not thinking right. A gew hours later, the second urge came. This time around the pain came with it and I could feel the soreness of my breasts. In all this, Menses was so far off from my mind.
By the next morning when I visited the bathroom, there she was staring back at me: my white undies carefully kissed by a huge shade of red and a black eye. I literally shouted out loud. It now occured to me that in planning, I had left out a whole part of me. I rushed to my sisters for help. Sadly no one had anything in store; they too had forgotten. Now because my monthly friend had come, the others started panicking as to what they were going to use given that it was that time of the month for almost everyone. I mean we were sure we had enough food and drinks to last us for weeks because even the provision stores on our street will not open for fear of the pandemic.
I may have babbled but I want to find out how many of us remember to stock up on sanitary napkins or other menstrual products? You know some people chose to see Menses as Nemesis or a curse but truth is, Menses only makes you responsible. The definition of adulthood is responsibility. What really is your response-ability? In shopping do you remember that you need a sanitary napkin? Well the answer is simple. Some may remember because the Menses came, some may remember because they had it charted on a schedule yet to some even when the Menses comes, they postpone buying their own menstrual products to the extent that they use tissue paper. How sad. While this is the reality, classify yourself.
We need to be mature enough to plan for this. How do we handle it?
Start by knowing your menstrual cycle. A trick to help you is using beads or a period tracker app.
Once that is known, we should identify those factors that can make the Menses late or come ahead of time. Always bear in mind that the first thing that can make your period late especially if you are sexually active could be pregnancy.
Causes of Late Periods
It can throw off your hormones, change your daily routine, and even affect the part of your brain responsible for regulating your period the hypothalamus. Over time, stress can lead to illness or sudden weight gain or loss, all of which can impact your cycle.
If you think stress might be throwing off your period, try practicing relaxation techniques and making lifestyle changes. Adding more exercise to your regimen may help get you back on track. This is exactly what may happen to us in the context of this pandemic so the above advice is vital.
2. Low body weight:
Women with eating disorders, such as anorexa nervosa or bulimia may experience missed periods. Weighing 10 percent below what’s considered a normal range for your height can change the way your body functions and stop ovulation. Getting treatment for your eating disorder and putting on weight in a healthy way you can return your cycle to normal. Women who participate in extreme exercise such as marathons may stop their periods as well.
In the same way low body weight can cause hormonal changes, so can being overweight. Your doctor will recommend a diet and exercise plan if they determine that obesity is a factor in your late or missed periods.
4. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS):
This is a condition that causes your body to produce more of the male hormones (androgens). Cysts form on the ovaries as a result of this hormone imbalance. This can make ovulation irregular or stop it altogether.
Other hormones, such as insulin, can also get out of balance. This is due to insulin resistance which is associated with PCOS. Treatment for PCOS focuses on relieving symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe birth control or other medication to help regulate your cycle.
5. Birth control:
You may experience a change in your cycle when you go on or off birth control. birth control pills contain the hormones estrogen and progestin, which prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs. It can take up to six months for your cycle to become consistent again after stopping the pill. Other types of contraceptives that are impl or injected can cause missed periods as well.
6. Chronic diseases
Chronic diseases such as diabetes also can affect your menstrual cycle. Changes in blood sugar are linked to hormonal changes, so even though it’s rare, poorly controlled diabetes could cause your period to be irregular.
7. Early Peri menopause.
Most women begin menopause between ages of 45 and 55. Women who develop symptoms around age 40 or earlier are considered to have early Peri menopause. This means your egg supply is winding down, and the result will be missed periods and eventually the end of menstruation.
8. Thyroid disease:
An overactive or underactive thyroid gland could also be the cause of late or missed periods. The thyroid regulates your body’s metabolism, so hormone levels can be affected as well. Thyroid issues can usually be treated with medication. After treatment, your period will likely return to normal.
Causes of Early Periods
On the other hand, getting your period early is unpleasant. Unfortunately, there are many factors that can cause early menstruation including:
- hormonal imbalance
- taking certain medications
- poor nutrition
- sudden weight gain or loss
When you can identify all these, next will be to always remember to keep a pending stock of napkins depending on what you used in the previous month and your available means.
So if I used a packet and half in the last cycle, I should be able to have at least o packet and half kept at home and even more. Also consider switching to reusable menstrual products such as reusable pads and menstrual cups. You save up and you don’t have to run out of them when you need it!
This way we can avoid embarrassment and help educate others to always have a security stock as PERIODS DON’T STOP FOR PANDEMICS.
Please tell a girl to tell a girl.
By Dr Mbi.
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Cover image source: Women's expo