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What young men ought to know about women’s menstruation

As we are starting to openly talk about various health conditions, this is the perfect time to re-introduce the menstruation subject to young men.

Before writing this piece, it only felt right to try and find out what young men actually know about menstruation just to understand what foundation we have before adding information to it.

Most of these young men had a rather similar understanding of what menstruation means for a woman.

Some young men believe that women are not allowed to wash their private parts during this period. Some said that there is special soap that women use when they are menstruating that the chances of pregnancy during this time are high.

One of these young men who talked to KURA on condition of anonymity has explained the reason why he thinks a woman can easily get pregnant during this period.

“I just know that since she can easily get pregnant especially because she is bleeding and not allowed to use contraceptives,” he said.

It is worrying how little these young men know, and worst of all, how false the information they have is. However, this is no surprise because menstruation has always been treated as only a woman’s concern.

To understand menstruation, a person should first know what it means.

In simple terms, a woman’s menstruation indicates a sign of good life or normal development.

Menstruation is the normal vaginal bleeding that occurs as part of a woman’s monthly cycle.

Each month, one of the ovaries releases an egg in a process called ovulation. If ovulation takes place and the egg is not fertilized, the lining of the uterus sheds through the vagina, hence the menstrual period.

Before Menstruation, there is a premenstrual syndrome (PMS). These are symptoms that occur one to 2 weeks before a woman’s period.

There are physical and emotional symptoms which include; breast swelling or tenderness, acne, bloating and weight gain, headaches or joint pain, exhaustion, food cravings, changes in sexual desires, irritability, mood swings, anxiety, lack of focus, and more.

Every woman is different. It is possible that one can feel more pain from these symptoms than others. It is also possible that they can last longer for some women compared to others.

Hormonal changes are the triggers for these symptoms. Hormone changes prepare the uterus for pregnancy.

In most women, normal hormone changes are linked to decreases in serotonin, a brain chemical that improves mood.

A woman who is on her period (menstruation) is advised to practice proper hygiene; wash her body including her private parts as she normally would and change her pad frequently without waiting for it to be full.

One of the things that would benefit a young man who is learning about a woman’s menstruation period is her menstrual cycle.

It is important to know this because with it, you can know when a woman is most fertile meaning chances of getting pregnant are high, that is of course if her cycle is regular.

For accuracy purposes, it is advised that a menstruation cycle should be tracked for six months to identify if it is regular or not.

A menstruation cycle starts from the day a woman starts her period to the day before her next period.

A 21-35 days menstrual cycle is considered a normal cycle, the average menstrual cycle is about 28 days.

After understanding what a menstrual cycle is, it is important to know why we track it and how to track it.

Tracking the menstruation cycle of a woman helps provide accurate information she can use or go through with her doctor if there is an issue.

A woman will track the color and frequency of her flow, whether it is heavy or light, any symptoms of PMS or pain she might experience and how she feels emotionally during each cycle.

If she is on medication during this period, she is advised to write it down as well in case it causes changes to her usual symptoms or cycle.

There are various ways used to track a women’s menstruation period; a calendar, writing it down in a journal, making digital notes on your smartphone, and period tracking applications that can be installed on your phone.

One of the things that young men do not know when it comes to women’s menstruation is a woman’s chances of getting pregnant at that time.

A woman on her period cannot get pregnant, since menstruation is the result of the absence of pregnancy.

According to gynecologist Emery Nimubona, a doctor at Kigali Citizen Polyclinics, this is the best time for a woman to start considering for contraceptive methods if she plans on being sexually active without getting pregnant after her period.

Gynecologists will typically ask a woman to start contraceptives as soon as she starts her period, to reduce the risk of any irregularities in her cycle.

It is not impossible for a woman to have sexual intercourse while she is on her period. However, the risk of contracting or transmitting sexual diseases or viruses is high. 

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