By Wale Odunsi
A Medical practitioner, Dr. Kelechi Okoro, has advised Nigerians to shun archaic and religious beliefs that menstruation negatively affects women and men alike.
Okoro, Medical Officer at the Kogi Government House Clinic, spoke on Monday in Lokoja at the second day of a two-day health sensitization program organized by a corps member, Miss Oyebimpe Olofin.
Kelechi said: “In this part of the world, some people referred to menstruation as a taboo, shameful and dirty.
“Some religions also made women to feel like they are unclean and unworthy when menstruating.
“The myths, such as: if a menstruating woman touches an animal, it will be infertile; if she touches a plant, it will dry up and die.
“If she sleeps in the same bed with her husband, he will be unfortunate or poor; and if she takes her bath, she will remain infertile.
“In fact, some female students are so shy to tell someone else that they are observing their period; even some have to take days off school, so they can hide in shame.’’
She said that the belief had made some of the students to be absent from schools, thereby reducing attendance in school and low productivity in academics.
“Menstruation should not be something hidden or to be ashamed of.
“Instead, the girls should be empowered with enough information and means to make their menstrual periods more hygienic and comfortable for them,” Okoro said.
The expert decried such beliefs, saying that they were just mere myths and untrue.
According to her, menstruation is a monthly shedding of the lining of the uterus, where menstrual blood and tissues flow out from the uterus, through the cervix and vagina which happens once every month.
“The normal duration for menstruation is between three to seven days; if it does not flow up to three days or flows more than seven days, then, it is abnormal and should be investigated.
“Menstruation is one of the major signs of puberty for females. It is a major change in the female body that tells her of the transitioning to being a woman,’’ she said.
The expert advised parents to be closer to their children, especially the girl-child and do more work on them, saying that everything they needed could not be taught in school.