I once saw a young girl in the clinic with a case of foul odour and discharge from her privates.
Her wards were concerned she might have contracted a sexually transmitted infection but it turned out not to be so.
She was still a virgin in Secondary school from the history taken.
Abdominal examination showed no tenderness(pain on touch) so a VE was conducted for her which revealed a ball of cotton wool stuck inside her which had turned brown and was smelling of dead flesh.
It turned out that because she had no access to sanitary pads; she had improvised by using old cloth, tissue or cotton wool for her monthly flows.
This particular insert broke off in the process of removal and the resulting retained piece gave rise to her unpleasant signs and symptoms.
On irrigation and a course of vitamin c and antibiotics, she was fine when seen again.
However, many others have not been so lucky. They go on to develop PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) and a resulting cascade of inflammation that leads to a matting of the organs of reproduction and infertility. Secondary infection could get into the bloodstream, resulting in organ failure and death.
And it would be called ‘village people’ not knowing it was the consequence of a young girl trying to mop up her monthly flow with what was available to her.
It should indeed be rolled out as a national policy that young females of school age receive menstrual pads or cups for free.
If the poorest of the poor are entitled to N5,000 monthly to help them cope.
Surely, this vulnerable demographic of our population deserve to be helped and not exposed to possible infection, infertility or death over an involuntary bodily process.
© Dr I. Umoette