Adolescence is the transitional years of growth from puberty to adulthood. Though an exciting time in every growing girl’s life, it is also an emotional and stressful time marked with many physical, psychological, and social changes. Most girls look forward to this transformational period in their lives and secretly long for their first period and first bra. These are defining moments in every growing young girl.
However, in terms of expectations, nobody prepares the girl for anything other than the slight discomfort and the need to have sanitary products for use during menarche, a girl’s first period. Thankfully, not every girl finds this process unbearable. Nonetheless, the reality is that at least 30% of girls end up being traumatized by how painful, heavy, irregular, and emotionally draining menstruation can sometimes be.
So, how does one talk about something that is deemed normal? What does a girl do when she suspects that something is wrong with her period? What does she do when what is supposed to be one of the most defining phases of her life turns out to be a horrific experience?
Well, allegedly, one is expected to grin and bear the pain in a dignified manner, as every other menstruating woman before her did or is doing. This is because the classic societal response to this question has always been ‘the period pain will get better when you have a baby’. In short, woe unto you if the much-anticipated bundle of joy does not get you out of your misery or if conception is a challenge. Lord forbid if having children was never a part of your plan! Then presumably, your menstruation journey would be extremely challenging, to say the very least!
From the foregoing discussion, the negative impact of a menstrual disorder on a girl and, later on, a couple’s life is profound. That is why diagnosis, treatment, and management of menstrual disorders warrants timely action by parents, guardians, caregivers, school nurses, doctors (general practitioners), gynecologists, and whomever else may be the first point of call when a girl says that she does not think her period is normal, and asks, “What should I do when something is wrong?”