What Nobody Tells You About Menstrual Health

Tabitha Mwai
Posted May 15, 2019 from Kenya

Last year was the first time I participated in Menstrual Hygiene Day. The theme was on #NoMore limits which spoke to me. The conversation made me realize how little Menstrual Hygiene and Health Education I received in my childhood. Yes, we had Science lessons and reproduction or rather adolescence was mentioned in class. This gave me a biological overview of what will happen to my body when I attain the age of 12 years.

So what actually happened? When I got my first period, I was terrified and had no idea what to do or who to talk to. Trust me, girls are not so friendly when you have soiled your dress and it is your first experience. Thank God for an older girl in the class who told me what was going on, gave me some pointers and instructed me to go talk to my mother about it.

What Nobody Tells You

I realize that there are so many things nobody talks to young girls about and they include and not limited to the following:

1. Period is part of being a woman and they are monthly till a point when you are either pregnant or hit menopause. If you miss it something is off.

2. CRAMPS HURT! Nobody warned me. They hurt as crazy and that is why so of us miss out on class or even work because the pain is unexplained.

The other part is the cramps manifest in different ways not just lower abdominal pain. Sometimes you will be bedridden because it is that time of the month.

3. NOT All period last for 3 days. This is just the bare minimum. Some experience it up to 7 days. There are, however, medical conditions related to this. So if you are having unusual periods see a medical practitioner.

4. THE FLOW IS NOT UNIFORM. Everyone has a different flow despite the number of days and you will need different types of Pads. For others, the flow is different at different times so you need to be self-conscious.

5. NOT ALL PADS ARE FRIENDLY. This is the hardest lesson to learn. Some sanitary towels are not so friendly and it is because of the material used to make them. The worst way to learn about this is when you get burnt and it will hurt badly. Choose the products you use carefully, preferably something with a cotton layer will be ideal.

6. YOU WILL NOT ALWAYS HAVE A SIGN. I used to think that there is a universal sign to know that my periods are on the way the truth is there is none. At times you will get cramps, at times your dates will be right while other times they will just show up. To be safe always have a pad or a tampon in your bag.

7. THERE ARE THINGS THAT CAN AFFECT YOUR CYCLE: I was surprised when I found out that anytime I traveled a far distance, my period came early. Being a woman requires you to be so alert because even certain foods will affect the cycle as well. There is no hack to this, everyday is a learning experience.

This is just about it. Feel free to share with us something you learnt along the way relating to Menstrual Health.

I run an initiative called Decent Conversations where we focus on Sexual Reproductive Health, Wellness, Relationships and Life Skills. We are in the process of implementing a Girls’ Menstrual Health project. This will be a comprehensive package, concentrating on provision of appropriate sanitation and hygiene (sanitary towels and panties), timely information about menstruation and puberty education. 

To partner will us send an email to thedecentconversations@gmail.com or reach us on 0786404432 / 0724569526.

Thank you!

This story was submitted in response to Menstruation Matters.

Comments 9

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Sis. Salifu
May 15
May 15

Its true its not easy to see some signs in your body and don't know what it is. Its like you are have died haha. That feeling

Tabitha Mwai
May 20
May 20

It is so confusing and the sad part is you have no clue who to tell.

Corine Milano
May 15
May 15

Hello Tabitha, thank you for sharing your story and pointing out the misconceptions and myths that accompany menstruation. I also am happy to hear of the project you're working on to provide girls with information and provisions! I hope you make some helpful connections from other women who are doing similar work!

Tabitha Mwai
May 20
May 20

Thank you dear.

Jill Langhus
May 16
May 16

Hi Tabitha,

Thanks for sharing your very true, and personal post. I love the idea of your new initiative, too. I hope you get some good responses to collaborate with you on it this important program. Please keep us posted on how it goes.

otahelp
May 16
May 16

thank you Tabitha for sharing what we need to educate our female children with at the a very important time before the menstural cycle starts. i really learnt from you. kudos and keep sharing your story and thoughts.

Tabitha Mwai
May 20
May 20

Thank you. Let's educate our little sisters.

ELIZABETH ZIRO
May 17
May 17

This is great. Keep up the good work at Decent Conversations

Tabitha Mwai
May 20
May 20

Thank you

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