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