Monday, May 2, 2011

Eight Myths about Women's Monthly Woes

This post addresses on women's monthly torture. The menstruation. I am not so embarrassed to talk about it because it is women's real deal constant battle on monthly basis and no woman actually takes the joy in experiencing this every month although I must say, women turn into panic freaks when it comes late.

Can you feel the pain?

Some women, including myself, battle with menstruation's cramps almost every month. The cramps are actually caused by the muscular contractions in the uterus. Contractions are necessary for shedding in the uterine lining. Some cramps can be very uncomfortable, i.e. intense abdominal pain that irritating and debilitating, and some cramps are without pain. Unfortunately, mine is always so painful and the intense pain can last for few days and at times, it wakes me up in the middle of the night. Furthermore, the torture does not come only from the stomach cramps alone but also accompanied with back pain, moodiness, constipation, physical anxiety and headaches. My top record was experiencing menstrual pain with spasms (and I needed to be rushed to see a local doctor). I've heard some extreme cases whereby some women have to completely rest at home (hence skip school and work) and even faint during their menstruation period. Luckily, although I'm battling with menstrual pains every now and then, with the occasional help of pain killers, I can still do my daily activities as per normal.

When I was younger I visited many doctors about my menstrual pains and the most that they could do was prescribing pain-killers to be taken when the powerful cramps attacked. I believe that menstruation woes are hereditary. It means, if our mothers don't deal with this pain each month, likely we won't deal with this either. And vice versa. My Mom dealt with this for the longest time, so do I and so does my sister. Bad luck.

Since I first got my period 15 years ago, I've heard old-time taboo advices, which to me sounded more like urban legends, about menstruation. Here are some of the menstruation myths that I still recall.
  1. Avoid drinking any beverages with ice. Always drink lukewarm water/tea. Cold drinks increase the menstrual pain even more.
  2. Do not take soda during the period. Soda causes heavier bleeding.
  3. Do not drink alcohol during menstruation. Alcohol promotes higher blood flow hence causes heavier bleeding.
  4. Do not wash your hair when menstruating. Washing hair during menstruation will cause the period last longer.
  5. Do not eat too much seafood when menstruating. Seafood consumption creates super smelly blood expels.
  6. Do not do any sports or exercises during menstruation, especially those that involve a lot of running and jumping, as they can cause heavier bleeding. (For this one, I purposely made myself believe so to skip doing sports during physical education lesson on my schooling days! I was that lazy.)
  7. Stay away from water during menstruation. Bathing or playing with water can make the period last longer.
  8. Do not walk near dogs when menstruating. They can smell the blood and attack us.
Elderly people say if I follow some of the aforementioned advices, there are chances that my menstruation problems are not going to be so torturing anymore and the pain of menstruation cramps would be minimized or even gone forever! However, I have to strictly practice these. The whole things take a habit and I have to practice these overtime. Point no. 8 is presumably to refrain women from having extra pain resulting from dog bites during menstruation. *joking*

My take is that, I'd probably only believe point no.1 although I have not really proven it because I love iced drinks more than hot ones. However, some girlfriends and my husband had stressed on this advice to reduce my monthly pains so I guess I'd give it a try - no ice water for at least 3-4 days during menstruation. As for the rest of the myths, especially those concerning hygiene issues, I prefer to just hear and joke about them. I will never put those into practice. Unthinkable. For me the truths are: (1) warm bath can soothe and relax muscle, thus reduce the abdominal pain and (2) no hair wash for few days is just too uncivilized. Therefore, no reason to be away from water, really, particularly during menstruation when we need to be extra hygienic.

Believe it or not.

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