It’s the time of the month again! And everything is going crazy!

Here are 10 things you should know about your period. Learn how to manage menstrual problems and find out when you should seek professional help.

1. Know the difference between primary and secondary dysmenorrhea.

Wait what’s that? Basically, there are two types of menstrual cramps. Primary dysmenorrhea is when no diseases accompany pain, whereas secondary dysmenorrhea is caused by abnormalities—ovarian cysts or infections, among others—in the reproductive system.

2. Pay attention to pain progression.

Make it a point to observe pain levels before, during, and after menstruation. Mild pain associated with primary dysmenorrhea may be normal, but progressive and increasing pain every month could be a red flag.

3. Eat clean to ease period discomfort.

Steer clear of salt, caffeine, alcohol, spicy food, and sugar. These can cause bloating, anxiety, mood swings, and weight gain, and can destabilize the blood sugar, so skip processed and junk food. Load up on fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains instead.

4. Break a sweat to beat period pains.

Listen up, ladies: Exercising is essential during—and prior to—menses “because it increases and improves blood circulation. Plus, exercise lessens the agony of cramps, so hop on the treadmill and pump some weights!

5. Alleviate cramps with heat.

Apply a hot compress (heat pads, heat wraps, and warm water bottles) to painful areas—usually the lower abdominal area or the lower back—or taking warm baths. The warmth will soothe muscles and reduce discomfort from menstrual cramps.

6. Talk to the doc about pain pills.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as mefenamic acid, ibuprofen, or naproxen are common pain medications. Follow the doctor’s dosage instructions to avoid serious side effects and overdose.

7. Give your V some much-deserved TLC.

Lady parts need love, especially when it’s that time of the month. It’s important to change pads or tampons every four to five hours to prevent bacterial growth. Avoid douching because it washes away the normal flora of the vagina and makes you more prone to infection.

8. Unlearn menstrual myths.

Have you heard people telling you “you can’t take a bath during your period,” “you can’t go swimming during your period,” or “menstrual blood is dirty blood” sound familiar? Don’t fall for these myths as they aren’t backed up by scientific evidence.

9. Know the conditions that affect your period.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a very common condition that causes menstrual irregularities, It may be the cause for sporadic menses— every two months or at longer intervals—or continuous bleeding.

Endometriosis is also another condition that can cause pain during your period. It’s an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus (the endometrium) grows outside it.

Thyroid disorders and pelvic infections may also have an impact on menses.

These conditions will all be investigated or ruled out as deemed necessary by your gynecologist.

10. Keep track of your menstrual cycle.

Monitoring your monthly flow is just as important as tracking workouts, sleeping habits, and calorie intake. This way, you can talk to your OB-GYN if you notice irregularities in your period. “Menstrual bleeding typically lasts less than seven days” The first day of bleeding marks the beginning of the menstrual cycle. If you experience bleeding longer than seven days or heavy bleeding that needs constant changing of pads—say, every one to two hours—then you have to seek consultation immediately.

If the pain is intense that it disrupts daily activities please schedule an appointment to see Dr. Gan immediately.

You can talk to Dr. Gan about the period problems you are facing and don’t forget to bring in your monthly menstrual cycle notes.

— Dr.Gan Kam Ling

Consultant Obstetrician And Gynaecology

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