Every girl at a certain time in their life will start her journey into womanhood through a natural and necessary physical development known as menstruation.
Sadly, despite this being a normal and natural phenomenon that every female experiences monthly until often in their fifties, menstruation and periods have a degree of stigma attached to them.
This often results in them not being spoken about, and many women being misinformed or simply clueless about what constitutes a “normal” period.
And this is the source of many common women’s health problems.
3Sixty Biomedicine’s chief executive Boitumelo Sebambo, shares these basic warning signs that every woman should look out for when having their menstrual cycle that could be an indication that their period is not “normal” and they should seek advice from a medical practitioner.
* You have periods that occur less than 21 days or more than 35 days apart (a normal period lasts four to seven days).
* You miss three or more periods in row.
* Your menstrual flow is much heavier or lighter than usual.
* You have severe pain during your period or between periods that interferes with normal day to day activities.
* You have unusually heavy bleeding (soaking through a sanitary pad or tampon every hour for two to three hours) or are passing large clots.
These abnormal period indicators can be caused by stress and underlying medical conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) that affects about 8 – 13% of women, and can cause infertility in addition to hirsutism (excessive growth of dark, course hair), acne, irregular periods and even hair loss.
These abnormal conditions can be managed but diagnosis by a gynaecologist is important.
Parents should also encourage teenage girls to visit the gynaecologist and be on the lookout for irregular symptoms in their cycles to avoid long-term effects on their health.
Each week this month, the Salome range will be shining a new spotlight on common but often overlooked conditions that women experience throughout their lives – from teenage years to their fifties.
The first week is focused on heavy menstrual bleeding and menstrual pain, with PCOS as well as menopause being explored and unpacked via their social media platforms.