Dear Aunty – December 2009

Is it true that romance leads to sexual intercourse?

Romance triggers pleasurable feelings that may make one engage in sexual intercourse. However, with self-control and determination not to have sex, one may not engage in sexual intercourse. Sometimes adolescents find it difficult to exercise self-control and determination, so it is better to avoid extreme intimacy.

What should I do if I have a vaginal discharge?

Virginal secretion is an evidence of normal functioning of the female reproductive organ. The secretion could become abnormal if it has an offensive odour or If the colour is yellow or brown or green. This could be due to an infection, poor personal and menstrual hygiene, and irritation of the vaginal following the use of irritants like medicated soap top wash the vaginal. If these symptoms exists or if you are not sure, you must see your doctor for examination, treatment and counseling.

Is it compulsory for a girl to inform her parents about the reaching of menarche?

There is no rule that says one must inform ones parent s when one experience the first menstruation, but the young person would need money to buy things that she would need to keep her body clean when menstruating, so it is ideal for her to tell her parents about it so that she can be given the money she needs. Apart from the above reasons, menstruation is an important land mark of growth and development milestone of a female human being. The commencement of menstruation signifies that the young girl has reached a period of reproductive capacity. Many young people are naïve about it, and it is only when the parents are informed that the young girl can be provided with the right information on personal hygiene, menstrual hygiene and ways of preventing unwanted pregnancy. Etc.

What do you do to relieve menstrual pains?

Try the following:

  • Accept that it is a normal thing and it’s just for a few days.
  • Study and keep record of your menstrual cycle so that you can differentiate the menstrual pain from other causes.
  • Try the use of hot water bottle on the lower abdomen or use water to compress with towel.
  • Do mild pelvic exercise to reduce or relieve the pain.
  • Use mild analgesics like paracetamol, indocid or feldene but it must not be taken on an empty stomach. It must be taken after or before meals.

My vagina has an unusual odour, is it normal? What could be the cause?

Vaginal odour can be caused by several factors. The most common cause is vaginal bacterial growth known as vaginal vaginitis. Vaginal odour can be caused by excessive sweating because it also promotes a wet environment. A physical examination by a health provider can determine whether or not the odour being caused by something that is treatable with a medication. The physical examination can also detect other health problems that might cause the unusual odor. If you have any odor in your genital area, you should visit a health provider.

For some time now my uncle has been making sexual advances towards me. I am quite confused and don’t know what to do?

Sexual harassment or sexual abuse is never right. The first thing you have to remember is that your uncle has no right whatsoever to harass you, and you are not to blame. You could also document what happens. Write down specific dates, time, places, kinds of incidents, your responses, his answers and any witnesses. It is also important that you generate support for yourself before you take action. You have to break the silence and talk to a trusted adult who would be able to take prompt actions. Your parents may be a good resort to turn to. However, if you do not feel comfortable talking to your parents about it, you could talk to a close trusted adult family member. Collective action and joint complaints strengthen your position. It is very important that you let the harasser know as clearly, directly and explicitly as possible that you are not interested in his attentions. If you cannot do this verbally, you could do it in writing, ensure that you keep a copy of letter. If you don’t take action, your uncle may rape you or do something that would hurt you.

I am 21 years old and never menstruated. What should I do?

Amenorrhea (absence of menstrual period) is the condition of never having a period at the time menstruation usually starts (between the ages of 11 and 18); secondary amenorrhea is the cessation of menstruation after at least one period. Some causes are dieting, starving, heavy athletic training, especially during early adolescence, use of certain drugs, a congenital defect of the genital tract, hormone imbalance, cysts or tumors, diseases, chromosomal abnormalities, stress or emotional factors. As a remedy for lack of periods, ensure that you visit the doctor who can defect if these are any problems, and provide the appropriate remedy. It is important that you see a doctor as soon as possible to find out the reason why you have not menstruated at the age of 21.

I am 16 years and I usually menstruate twice in a month. Is my cycle normal?

The length of the menstrual cycle usually varies from twenty to thirty six days, the average being twenty eight days. Some women (girls) have alternating long and short cycles. These can be spontaneous small changes and there can be major ones when a woman (girls) is under a great deal of stress. An average period can last two to eight days or four to six days. A good way to start learning about your cycle and what is usually normal is by keeping a simple chat. Note the start and end of your flow on a calendar each month. A cycle is completed from the last day of your period to the first day of another menstrual flow. Once you count the number of days between each cycle for about six months you will know whether you have a regular 28 day cycle or otherwise. If you notice a significant change from the normal cycle days over a period of time, (about 2-3 months) you should see your doctor. However, it is possible for one to complete one cycle and start another in the same month, provided the normal range of days within your menstrual cycle is completed.

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