When it comes to menstruation and some other feminine issues, a good number of us would rather overlook it and probably do what we think is best for such conditions.
However, paying attention to our health (even in the most minute form possible) is key to balancing and living a healthy life.
Speaking with one of Nigeria’s consultant Gynecologist and Obstetrician, here are some of the common issues we face when it comes to menstruation plus what is true and what isn’t about menstruation.
HF: Can we meet you?
Dr. Fadipe: Hello, I am Dr. Fadipe, a consultant Gynecologist and Obstetrician at the First Consultant Hospital, Ikoyi, Lagos.
HF: What can you say about a delay in a woman’s menstruation for about, say 6 months?
Dr. Fadipe: If a woman tells me she hasn’t seen her period for a duration of 6 months, I want to know who the woman is, the age of the woman and if that has been a reoccurrence issue. why I say that is that an older woman called perimenopausal woman meaning getting closer to the age of menopause say around the age of 50 and 48 knowing that very soon she’s going to menopause, that would herald absence of menstruation. So if she doesn’t see her period for about 6 months, that can be explainable.
However as a general rule, for all women who don’t see their period for a duration of 6 months, they should go and do a pregnancy test first. The commonest reason why people don’t see their period is because of pregnancy.
Although for some women it’s a normal occurrence, and such women exist especially for those who have a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome. They may have up to 3-4months of absence menstruation. But if it is a one-time occurrence and it has never happened before, there’s a need for an investigation.
HF: What type of period blood will you consider normal?
Dr. Fadipe: Normal period blood is supposed to be bright red and is supposed to last for an average duration of 3-5 days.
Any period less than 3 days, meaning that even on the 3rd day you don’t spot, it is likely to be abnormal. In the old terminology, it is to be called hypomenorial (reduced menstrual flow) and that signals something, probably there is an obstruction in the way while the blood isn’t flowing out, such woman might have had a history of abortion and noticed that her period flow
Menstrual blood should be bright red with a total volume of about 8ml and a period of 3-5 days with the first 2 days being heavy flow. Anything above 5 days, like 6-7days is abnormal.
HF: Do diet and nutrition affect menstruation?
Dr Fadipe: Obese women are more at risk of a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome, a metabolic disorder and it affects hormonal imbalance. In the fat cells, estrogen is produced that might counteract the regular source and that might affect the pattern of the regular cycle for them.
What you take in doesn’t affect your menstruation. There’s no link between what you eat and your menstruation whether you take sugar or vegetables. That will affect your gastrointestinal
system, maybe the consistency of your stool or the colour of your stool.
So whether you take sugar or not, it has nothing to do with your menstruation.
HF: Early menstruation, early menopause. How true?
Dr Fadipe: Well, the trend now because of what we eat young girls tend to grow bigger earlier and this tends to affect the rate of metabolism and hormonal maturity because these are the sequence of events that leads to the appearance of the first menstruation and also the development of secondary sexual characteristics, development of feminine outlook and all that.
Diet has been linked to body maturation which leads to the early evolvement of menstrual and the eggs have a timeline. So, those who start early, you have a certain number of eggs that are ready at ovulation, about 300,000- 400,000.
These eggs will be churned out with your menstrual cycle over time and once an egg is released at ovulation, the rest die. So if you have that cycle starting much earlier, you’ll likely finish the cycle early.