By Agbonkhese Oboh
In commemoration of World Menstrual Hygiene Day, celebrated every May 28 since 2014, we reproduce reactions to a story we published.
The story, on painful menstruation (dysmenorrhoea), is entitled “When managing dysmenorrhoea couldn’t stop a girl from having 3 degrees, you get Enitan Sophie Oluwa”.
Tayo: Well done, babe. I just read the article. I hail you… having pains every month? I’m sure you dread the monthly visitor.
Me that doesn’t have any pain, I don’t like being ‘on’. The Lord is your strength…keep up the good work.
Debby: Wow! I just read through. Thumbs up for the advocacy, for being a voice to many. Menstrual pain though; an inconsistent companion for me too. Inconsistent, because the pain doesn’t come every month, but when it does, it ain’t easy.
I use Felvin tablets sometimes to ease the pain. And the thought of it reducing after childbirth ain’t always for everyone, because that was my exact thought after I had my son. And I still feel pains even nine years after.
My period is knocking and I’m hoping it won’t come with pains this time.
Onoshi: When I read your story, I discovered I was just learning. Sorry about the fact that the pain comes often and you use loads of drugs to get relieved. You’re strong dear. Kudos.
Wow! I can’t help but say thank you for lending your voice. There’s something soothing about knowing you’re not alone in a corner with what people don’t believe in.
Kiki: I used to have mad cramps but I entered Uni and met people that got admitted during their period every month, those that vomited and some other really had cases and I knew mine wasn’t that bad…I stopped taking felvin cos it messed up my cycle, my doctor advised me to stop taking ibuprofen Cos it’s too strong..so I was enduring with paracetamol and was still very thankful Cos I had seen worse…so you are one heck of a strong woman babe.
Anon: I just read through. How proud of you I am. Incredible
I just want to remind you again that you are a champion and a survivor. You’d get by…amen! Once again, thank you for all you do for girls and women. You rock!
Linda: I can so relate. I couldn’t write an exam in my 400-Level because of this. I was carried out of the exam hall vomiting and a total mess. It earned me an automatic extra year. Thanks for sharing your experience and your advocacy on this topic. You are so inspiring; light and love.
Ayobami: Reading through your interview, I gained many insights. My own pain is always day one. I’ll be stooling, vomiting and rolling on the floor for at least five hours. After then, it’s see you next month.
There are different myths to it because I was the only one having it in my family. So I was just grabbing every information and hoping it would go.
The most regrettable was when I took agbo from a neighbour. I was about to be taken to the theatre for operation when my stepfather requested for another scan. Lo and behold, it was complications from the agbo I took.
Apparently, the person who gave me was managing fibroid, a different ailment.
Anon: Childbearing didn’t stop or reduced mine. But that simple paracetamol works for me. Three tablets just before the pains start. If I miss taking it and the pains start before I take them, it doesn’t work.
Anon: Chai! That thing no dey palatable at all. I can imagine how far you have come with it. Pele dear. Yours might go with childbirth.
I am also a victim, but mine is the leg cramp. I have also been facing this since I started my period. But it only comes on the first day of my flow.
Yemisi: When I was in university, I was introduced to felvin. But I noticed that my period ceases when I use and I just having spotting, which was kind of black. I had to discontinue and opted for paracetamol.
Onyinye Edeh: Thank you Enitan, for sharing/speaking up. Your voice matters and it is POWERFUL.
As I read through this piece, I couldn’t help but think “You are never alone.” We all experience a variety of issues, and I continue to see that no one person is alone in the struggle— the symptoms/reactions might be different, but you are never alone in the experience.
Thank you for sharing. May God and an amazing community of specialists and friends continue to help you navigate this reproductive health experience. Much love.
Ibukun Babarinde: So proud of you and your courage to speak.
Truly, you are a voice for many girls who probably are going through worse and also in worse situations.
Dr. Melanie: Ennie, thanks for shedding light on this. I also have a very hard time with dysmenorrhea.
For all my med school exams, I usually had to prepare specially for it (suppositories, injectables, all the works).
My undergraduate research was on dysmenorrhoea among secondary school girls; 70% of girls reported that they experience it.
And majority of these girls self-medicate.
Dr. Vickie: I feel you. It’s never a normal pain. Pain is pain.
Young girls deserve every support they can get. It doesn’t even ease with age… people just accept faith. God bless you for using your voice.
ALSO READ: NGO educates IDPs on menstrual hygiene
Dorcas: It’s so funny that I was just discussing this with someone, when I had my own pain. Hot water o, exercise o, drugs o… the pain will only keep increasing and you’ll wonder whether it’s normal or there’s something more to it.
You can’t stand any smell, or anything anybody has to say. What annoys me is when someone sees you folding like a “foetus”, vomiting, crying… and they’ll say “shebi it’s just menstrual pain, learn to be strong and ignore it”.
Like it’s that easy. It’s like seeing someone with a fever and you’re telling the person to stop shaking. I’ll call it luck, for those that have it easy, because it’s not easy.
You’re really strong, Enitan. Thank you for sharing this
Dr. Esther Olutola: Wow! I am inspired. Managing dysmenorrhoea isn’t a joke. Sometimes its like one is under a curse, not to talk of endometriosis.
I had a patient like that whom, after administering tramadol, pentazocine and diclofenac injection, had no relief.
Permit me to say that your experience has launched you into greatness you may never have had if you didn’t go through all these. You may, in fact, be better at counselling patients than some health practitioners, because of your experience…it’s far better than theory.
I really do hope and pray God shows you mercy and give you permanent relief.
Anon: Thanks, Natinee, for sharing your story. It’s quite touching. Like you said earlier, a lot of girls are passing through this hell alone.
I believe your story and activities around this course will shoulder them. I suggest you find a movement for this, involving people who are having a similar issue. In fact, you are doing well.
Aanu: Good morning Ennie. I just read through your published article on vanguardngr.com. And your comments on the RSW group chat.
First, I’m glad that you’re someone who shares same view as mine about women and menstruation. Second, I’m super excited at the fact that you’re making it known to the public and enlightening people about it.
For about two years now, I’ve been experiencing dysmenorrhoea sort of, and all fingers are pointing towards endometriosis, but it hasn’t been confirmed. I have a couple of friends in same shoes too, but lack of funds won’t even let them see appropriate health care providers. I have a friend who has not seen her period in months and I’m beginning to think it’s hormonal imbalance, although lack of funds has been stopping her from seeing a doctor.
There are a lot of women outside there who cannot share their pains publicly just because we see menstrual pain as normal and every other thing that accompanies it as normal. Mine comes with several patches on my face, that I can’t even explain and some insensitive people will still go ahead to ask why I’m not “taking care of my face”.
I’m so happy to see your article and I will do well to share it. I intend to save up for some time and then see a gynaecologist. I’ll like to make positive contribution towards supporting awareness about this menstrual cycle and I’ll appreciate it if you can recommend organisations that I can join.
Do have a nice day. Oh yea, I was in the same group with you in Class 2.
Adenike: Okay, this is amazing and I’ve equally learned that maybe I’ve primary dysmenorrhoea. Because the first day I had my period, when I was 15, I didn’t go to school and I never missed school even when I fell sick back then.
And I’ve been on constant pain reliefs since then, but when I complain at med centre they tell me that it’s because I have sickle cells and that’s what is affecting it. I’ve never thought it could be dysmenorrhoea.