LET’S TALK PERIODS
Even as the idea of granting leave on the first day of periods remains debatable, we look at basic facts of this natural function
Recently, there was a furore over a firm’s announcement of granting ‘first day of period’ leaves. While a few applauded this step, others called it “regressive”. No matter which side one is on, it seems like a good time to brush up on information about this physiological phenomenon.
Not everyone goes through premenstrual syndrome (PMS) — the emotional, behavioural and mood disturbances, mainly irritability and anxiety are caused due to the cyclical hormonal changes. Experts estimate that 20% to 40% of women in general are affected by PMS. When it gets severe, it is known as pre menstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
THE PAIN PYRAMID
Unlike PMS, the statistics for dysmenorrhoea (medical terminology for period cramps) are not favourable. As per statistics, 90% of women are susceptible to it, and to top this, the occurrence is genetic. Eating too much sugar, food items made of white flour (maida), processed food and smoking increases the susceptibility too. Gynaecologists categorise period pains into primary (within normal threshold) and secondary (unbearable). Primary period cramp: Some prostaglandins are released during the menstrual cycle that causes contraction of uterus causing the innermost lining of the uterus to shed off. At times, this prostaglandin causes harder contraction of the uterus and causes pain. Secondary period cramp: Reasons for this can be either a fibroid or endometriosis, or an infection. In such cases of extreme pain, a visit to the doctor is a must. Pre-period pain: Apart from experiencing pain during one’s periods, it can also occur one to two days before menstruation and last from two to four days. These cramps tend to begin after ovulation when an egg is released from the ovaries and travels down the fallopian tube. Pain occurs in the lower abdomen and lower back. However, the good news is that many studies state that Have plenty of fluids a week prior to periods, as this helps reduce the consumption of junk food and excess salt. Exercising helps too. “Be physically active as this reduces the toxins near the pelvic region and this will help reduce pain or cramps,” says Dr Bandita Sinha, gynaecologist and infertility specialist, World Of Women, Vashi. Counselling based on relaxation therapy, warm water bag to the abdomen therapy, yoga and healthy diet
Hygiene is of utmost importance. Blood is one of the biggest sources of infections. Therefore, it is necessary to wash and dry oneself properly before changing the sanitary napkin. Irrespective of the amount of blood flow in the napkin, it must be changed within a few hours as the uterus is open during this period. It is more susceptible to infection to the reproductive tract. It is highly recommended that sanitary napkins be changed every four hours in hygienic conditions.