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More questions than answers

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By Yetunde Arebi

Hi,

Once again, I want to dedicate today’s edition to my young readers. I have received a number of letters and phone calls since the last time we discussed about the need to pay attention to the male child.

Many were asking for answers to some of those nagging issues that have been bothering some of them. I must confess that I was not surprised by the nature of some of the questions. I wanted to ask someone similar questions too while growing up.

Unfortunately for most of us back then, there were very few people one could approach for answers to such, else you might just end up in trouble. Things are quite different now especially with the high paced technological age. Yet, there exists a huge void that desperately needs to be filled. So, getting the right answers these days is important.

Young people need to have access to the right and correct information about their sexual health and relationships. They must be able to decipher by themselves what is appropriate and expected of them by their given society, different from what is available on the internet and social media.

Though I have attended to some of the very urgent questions through text messages, phone conversations and e-mails, I am usually unable to attend to all, as some of the numbers used are often unreachable after a couple of days, or sometimes the phone numbers belong to other people. Because of space constraints, I will only take a few questions in this edition.

Please, remember to reach me via my contacts on this page. No calls, SMS only. Your identity is not needed, and even where provided, it will not be published. This is to encourage sincere and meaningful issues to be raised by those who truly need counselling.

Aunty Yetunde,

My problem is that anytime I see my period it is usually painful. Sometimes it is whitish with blood and this bothers me because my menses lasts for five days. By SMS

I believe you have raised three issues here, so let’s take them one at a time. The first is the painful period. This is called Dysmennorhea. Besides the pains, it may also include heavy bleeding, cramps and blood clots. Period cramps in teenagers are caused by too much secretion of a chemical called prostaglandin.

Even though some girls might experience severe pains, it is not a serious condition. However, in older women, such pains may be caused or further aggravated by other conditions such as fibroids or endometriosis. As a girl matures, the pains may gradually subside. Some women have reported that their pains only subsided after childbirth.

Painful period can be effectively managed. For most women, a heating pad (hot water bottle) or taking a warm bath helps ease the pains. Over the counter medicine such as Ibuprofen and other pain killers helps too. If you discuss with your parents, I am sure there are traditionally (natural herbs) prepared medicines that may help the condition too.

As for your periods lasting five days, this is very normal. Periods usually last between two to seven days, but the most common is three to five days. So, you are in order. I do not really understand what you mean by ‘whitish with red blood’. Perhaps, you meant to write watery red blood. If I am correct, please note that not every period will be the same or like every other woman’s own. Each individual is born with peculiarity. Periods can be light, moderate or heavy in terms of how much blood comes out of the vagina. If you are really worried, you may need to see a doctor.

Aunty Yetunde,

I was deflowered at six years old. I am 16 now, but I’ve not seen my first period. What is wrong with me?

By SMS

I doubt very much if your childhood experience has anything to do with what is happening to you. If you are living with your mother, aunt, or a close female relative you trust, please ask her what her experience, or her mother’s, was like, as history has a way of repeating itself. What you explained looks more like a hereditary trait, than a result of sexual abuse. If the answers don’t fit however, you might need to see a doctor.

Menstruation usually begins between two to two and half years after breasts start to grow. This is an indication that you are a real woman. It is also very possible that you have problems with your chromosomes. However, tests will show what the real problem is and you will be treated. Most times the procedures are very simple, so you don’t have to worry. Just keep me informed. At 16, you are not out of the range yet as some girls have been known to see it even much later than 16.

Aunty Yetunde,

Please I want to know why my menses changes because sometimes I will see it on the 7th of the month and see it on the 18th of the next month, even sometimes twice a month. I will see it on the 6th and see it on the 21st of the same month. Please why is it so? By SMS

You did not tell me how old you are. However, from the way you described what you are going through, I guess you are a teenager and started your menses not too long ago. This is very natural with beginners. Periods can be as far spaced as 45 days. As a girl grows older, menses develop a more defined pattern and regularity. You really have nothing to worry about.

Hi sis Yetty,

I am a 15 year old guy. Why is my penis not long?

By SMS.

For guys, puberty growth starts anywhere from 10 to 13 years. However, due to several factors which include hormonal secretion, heredity, diet, medical history, structure or pattern of the body type, puberty may start early for some while it may begin much later in others. At 15, it will appear as if you are a late starter, though I do not have much detail to work with. However, you are still young and have between eight to ten more years to achieve full growth potential. Do note that every individual will grow differently from the other. That is the way nature has designed it. It is important that you do not compare yourself with your friends too much as this may affect how you feel and ultimately affect your body image and self esteem. Learn to concentrate and nurture those things you like about yourself. Eventually, you will catch up with your friends and no one will remember or notice the difference.

You may also talk to your father or an adult male you trust about your worry. It is possible they went through similar experiences too. However, it would appear that many men have a thing going on in their minds about their manhood.

Even much older men are not spared from this psychological problem, as many torture themselves endlessly about the size of their penis and the need to get a better one than what they have. With this in mind, many companies are smiling all the way to the banks, selling what they say can enhance or inflate the size of the penis.

Many of these drugs and procedures no doubt have their side effects on the human body and psyche and some scientists insist it is not even physically possible to achieve this. As you grow older, I am pretty sure you will learn to love and appreciate whatever size you end up with.

Aunty Yetunde,

Please if someone sees her menses on the 11th of last month, then this month she sees it on the 12th, when will be my ovulation. Please help me, I want to know. By SMS.

The calculation here will mean that you have a 32 days cycle. Midway through this cycle means that you are likely to ovulate on the 16th day of the cycle or thereabout, not of the month. However, in order to have a rough idea about the date or days of ovulation, you need to carefully study your menses over a period of time. Three to four months is usually recommended. To do this correctly, you may need to write down the dates in a diary or tick them on a calendar. You must count from the first day of one menses to the first day of the next menses. The number of days between each menses, determine how many days cycle you run. Divide this into two and give two days before and after, making a total of five days, and you have your ovulation period. To be precise on the exact date for ovulation, you will need some other special medical device.

Aunty Yetunde,

Please, I want to know why someone will not see her menstrual period at the age of 29. By SMS

Just like other forms of puberty developments, not all girls will start menstruating at the same time. Research however reveals that the average age for a girl to get her first period is 12, but a girl can start her period at any time between the ages of 8–15. Those who suffer from delayed puberty will however start theirs a bit later, say up to 17 or 18.

Most of the time, menstruation will start about 2 years after breasts start to develop. If a girl has not had her first period by the age of 15, or if it has been more than 2–3 years since breast growth started, she should see a doctor. Apart from medical conditions, family history or heredity pattern may also be a determining factor in the take off time of menses. Extreme dieting and exercises leading to severe weight loss may also contribute to delayed menstruation. It is important to get adequate information from those who ought to know, rather than compare yourself to your friends. Remember that every adult once passed through adolescence, so they can provide you with firsthand experience.

A healthy woman will usually have her monthly period until menopause. For most women, menopause occurs between the ages of 45–53 and average of 50 years. Though there are cases of women with very early menopausal symptoms from age 35– 40.

If you are yet to see your menses at 29, I have to admit that this is a rare occurrence and a sign that there is a problem somewhere. You will need to see a doctor for proper examination and diagnosis. You may need a therapy to boost your hormones, or you might have to go through surgery. Please do not stress yourself too much. I hope your parents/guardians are aware of your condition. Please do keep me informed by sending an SMS. I wish you the best of luck. (yet to get a feedback as I write)

Do have a wonderful weekend!!

 

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