A medical officer at the St Andrews Clinic, Dr Delali Thy-Will Aboflah, has urged girls with severe menstrual cramps to quickly report to the nearest health facility.
He explained that although cramping during menstruation was a normal phenomenon, there were chances of some girls having a much severe form of it, which could be as a result of some underlying conditions such as endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of it.
Dr Aboflah noted that because of the stigma and misconception around menstruation, girls were mostly afraid to openly talk about issues regarding menstruation that bothered them and that sometimes affected them negatively.
“It is advisable that girls openly talk about issues regarding menstruation so that if there are any conditions, they can be detected easily and quickly,” he said.
He made the statement at a menstrual hygiene symposium dubbed, “The M2H2 project,” organised by the Gyabs Foundation and Concepts in Medicine, in commemoration of the World Menstrual Hygiene Day last Saturday, May 28.
The symposium, held at the St John’s Grammar Senior High School in Accra, was organised to create awareness of menstrual hygiene and menstrual health-related issues.
Girls in the school were advised to keep a dignity kit that has all the basics they need when menstruating.
They were also educated on signs and changes the body goes through during menstruation as well as the effects of improper menstrual hygiene.
The Founder of Gyabs Foundation, Elizabeth Konadu-Boakye, said menstrual health and menstrual hygiene was an important aspect in the life of every girl and woman but had been shrouded in secrecy for a long time, which made it difficult for ladies to openly talk about it.
“There are so many questions many ladies need answers to with regard to their menstrual health and reproductive system, but are either afraid to talk about it or simply ignore it because it is “normal”. Sad thing is, some of them are not or they need to be checked,” she said.
Apart from the numerous issues females have to deal with during their period, Ms Konadu-Boakye said there were many girls in the rural areas who had no access to sanitary items during their menstrual period because of the cost involved.
“The issues and questions on menstrual health and hygiene are many. We can't answer all immediately, but we can at least create awareness with one project at a time and that is what the Gyabs Foundation seeks to achieve with the M2H2 project,” she said.
The Executive Director for Green Generation Ghana, Anita Djandoh, who was also present at the event, added that a lot of girls had no idea about menstruation until they experienced it for the first time, which often made the first experience traumatic.
She said girls did not also get adequate and credible information about menstruation, and that exposed them to all forms of misinformation about the dos and don'ts of menstrual hygiene management, raising the need to create awareness every year to keep the girls informed.
“Menstruation is normal, it should not prevent any girl from achieving whatever she wants in life. Girls should practise good personal hygiene when having their periods. They should eat well, exercise and dispose of their used products safely,” she advised.