Bod­ily func­tions are al­ways cause for hu­mour, but here’s how to know when things could be a grow­ing con­cern.

CLEO (Malaysia) - - BODY & SOUL -

Al­ways re­mem­ber that nor­mal cov­ers a lot of ground and your body goes through many changes.

THE QUES­TION: I know ev­ery­one’ s pe­riod is dif­fer­ent, but how will I know if mine’s a “bad” kind of dif­fer­ent?

WHAT THE DOC­TOR SAYS: Al­ways re­mem­ber t hat “nor­mal” cov­ers a lot of ground and that your body goes through many changes through­out the year. Sames goes f or your men­strual cy­cle. The av­er­age cy­cle is 28 days long and any bleed­ing from two to seven days is con­sid­ered nor­mal. But, bleed­ing more than three to four pads a day, for more than six to seven days in a month is con­sid­ered ab­nor­mal and if you’ve missed more than two rounds of mens es con­sec­u­tive ly, maybe it’ s time for an ap­point­ment.

Cramps are to­tally nor­mal dur­ing your pe­riod, though the in­ten­sity of it could vary from per­son to per­son. If the pain is per­sis­tent ly in­creas­ing, do let your doc­tor know as this could be in­dica­tive of some­thing else. And whilst t here are home reme­dies you could try, there are no DIY diet or ex­er­cises that has been proven to al­le­vi­ate pe­riod pains.

THE QUES­TION: Help, there’s a smell! What are the warn­ing signs of an ab­nor­mal dis­charge or smells that in­di­cate an in­fec­tion?

WHAT THE DOC­TOR SAYS: Vag­i­nal odour may var y t hrough­out your men­strual cy­cle, or even be more prom­i­nent af ter sex and dur­ing your ac­tual menses. But i f some­thing smells f i shy ( pun i ntended) and i s ac­com­pa­nied with an i ncrease or change i n colour of dis­charge, t hen t hat could be a con­di­tion marked by an over­growth of bac­te­ria t hat has up­set t he vagina’s PH bal­ance. As soon as t here’s also an i tch i nvolved, check with your gy­nae to r ule out i nfec­tion. I f you’re on your pe­riod, chang­ing pads reg­u­larly could help, along with show­er­ing at l east t wice a day.

THE QUES­TION: How will I know what con­tra­cep­tive works best for me?

WHAT THE DOC­TOR SAYS: Apart from the con­dom, are three main con­tra­cep­tive op­tions for women that are reg­u­larly used in Malaysia and each has its own sets of pros and cons. Un­der­stand­ing what works best for you could mean a lit­tle trial and er­ror:

Oral con­tra­cep­tive pill s ( OCP): These could be by far the most fa­mous con­tra­cep­tive but that doesn’t mean it’ s en­tirely bul­let­proof. You have to take your pill daily, at the same time, or you might risk get­ting a bunin the oven. OCPs are also rec­om­mended for fe­males with ir­reg­u­lar pe­ri­ods as it can help reg­u­larise your cy­cle.

Patches: Stick this onto your skin and you’ re set for a no-baby zone. While it does sound much eas­ier than tak­ing the pill, this op­tion is cur­rently harder to at­tain in Malaysia and only re­ally ad­vis­able if you’ re ready to have a plas­ter-like film on your skin for weeks on end.

IUD: This is the most in­va­sive and long-term op­tion of the three. One quick pro­ce­dure and you’ll be free from the anx­i­ety of an ac­ci­den­tal preg­nancy for up to three years. Whilst it has been en­dorsed by many, some women ex­pe­ri­ence heavy vag­i­nal bleed­ing as a re­sult —an­other re­minder that contraception is not a“one size fits all” model.

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