I was born in the 80’s in Jamaica and when I was growing up there were a lot of things my parents wouldn’t talk about. If you asked it would seem as some sort of disrespect or sign that you are trying to know “adult business”.
After chatting with some of my friends I realised it wasn’t just me or us 80’s kids having these problems but some of our friends born in the 90’s as well. Thanks to book, classes or friends we were able to find out the information we needed. However sometimes we were misinformed by friends or peers and were also shy to even ask about these questions.
So I put together a small list of things I wanted to know back then and was unable to discuss with my parents. Girls I hope you find this helpful.
Symptoms may be mild to moderate and can include:
- Nausea (feeling like you want to throw up)
- Vomiting (throwing up)
- Loose bowel movements/diarrhea
- Bloating in your belly area
- light-headedness (feeling faint)
Are menstrual cramps the same as PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome)?
Menstrual cramps are not the same as PMS. Symptoms of PMS such as bloating, weight gain, and moodiness happen before a woman’s period begins, and get a lot better when her period starts. On the other hand, with dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation, typically involving abdominal cramps), cramps usually get worse the first day or two of a woman’s period and they have a different cause and treatment.
What medications can I take for my menstrual cramps?
If you are having menstrual cramps, talk with your parents or healthcare provider about your options. If your menstrual cramps are painful, you may think about taking some type of the over-the-counter medication for one to two days. These medications are “anti-prostaglandins.” They help relieve the discomfort, make your flow lighter, and cause your uterus to cramp less. Look for over-the-counter medications that contain ibuprofen or naproxen sodium. Take this medicine when you first start to feel uncomfortable, and continue taking it every 4-6 hours or as recommended by your healthcare provider. Since this kind of medicine can upset your stomach, you should take it with food. Make sure you read the label to see how much and how often you should take the medication. You should not take these products if you are allergic to aspirin-like medicine or have stomach problems. It is important not to take more medicine than is recommended or prescribed.
Is there anything else I can do to help my menstrual cramps?
Natural remedies such as a microwavable warm pack or a heating pad placed on your abdomen (lower belly) may help. Soaking in a warm bath may also relieve uncomfortable cramps. Some teens find that increasing their physical activity helps; others find that resting quietly for short periods of time helps.
Acupuncture is an alternative treatment that is sometimes recommended to treat dysmenorrhea. You should also eat healthy foods, drink lots of fluids, and get plenty of rest. You can try different treatments to find out what works best for you.
2. Birth control
Does birth control reduce period cramps?
For decades, doctors have prescribed birth-control pills in the hopes of easing women’s menstrual pain, and now a new study finds that it really does serve the purpose: using oral birth control pills helped regulate cycle, relieve cramps, bloating and other pain in a 30-year study of Swedish women.
Does contraceptives cause cancer?
A number of studies suggest that current use of oral contraceptives (birth control pills) appears to slightly increase the risk of breast cancer, especially among younger women. However, the risk level goes back to normal 10 years or more after discontinuing oral contraceptive use.
For more info on Birth Control.
3. When should a young woman start seeing a gynecologist?
The gynecological exam is an important part of health care for all women. Its purpose is to check the size and shape of the uterus (womb) and ovaries, to do a Pap smear to find early signs of cervical cancer, and to screen for sexually transmitted diseases.
Young women and adolescents should start having gynecological examinations when they turn 18 or when they first become sexually active (if that occurs before the age of 18). The examination may also be necessary before the age of 18 for concerns like abdominal (belly) pain, irregular or painful menstrual periods, or vaginal discharge. A young woman who has never had sex before can have a gynecological exam.
The entire exam takes only a few minutes. The doctor will often ask a female chaperon to be present as this helps the patient feel more comfortable. This person can be a parent or friend or it can be another person from the doctor’s office, like a nurse. The doctor explains what she is doing throughout the exam. Feel free to ask questions at any point. Afterwards, it’s normal for the patient to have a small amount of blood spotting over the next day or so. Don’t forget to check the results of the tests for sexually transmitted diseases and the Pap smear, which take a few days to come back.
Vitamins are very important to a women’s health, please see the following links for more info:
Essential Vitamins for Women at Every Age
What You Should Know About Taking Vitamins
Critical Vitamins for Every Woman
I am Destiny Brown saying, learning never ends.