Panel Discussion – Know Your Flow: Achieving a Healthy Menstrual Cycle & Overcoming Complications

On Wednesday, September 12, 2018, our interim member, Danielle Bain attended the abovementioned panel discussion hosted by the UWI HIV&AIDS Response Programme (UWIHARP). It was held at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus – Solution Centre and chaired by Monique Springer- Project Officer of the UWI HARP. 

UWI HARP’s mission is “…to build and harness capacity within the university in order to contribute maximally to the national, regional and international effort to control the HIV epidemic and to mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS on the university itself and the wider society

This panel discussion allowed the UWI HARP to join in the conversation to further address other sexual and reproductive health issues such as menstruation and associated disorders. The following is a report provided by Danielle of the proceedings. Attendees of the session included:

  • Cave Hill Campus Medical Students
  • Cave Hill Campus Students
  • Cave Hill Campus Staff
  • Members of UWI HARP

Panelists, along with Danielle, included:

  • Dr Tania Whitby-Best – Medical Officer & Head of Department (Student Health Clinic). Dr Whitby-Best discussed the most common gynaecological complaints received at her clinic and the possible reasons behind them. She highlighted the importance of paying attention to your cycle and any discrepancies.                           
  • Dr Damian Best – Lecturer Obstetrics & Gynaecology (Faculty of Medical Sciences).  Dr Best did a slideshow explaining the reasons behind periods and what a “normal” period looks like. He explained that normal has a range and what abnormal is. He showed the conditions such as Endometriosis, PCOS, and Adenomyosis. He also touched on Amenorrhea and how it can be related to those conditions. He explained why it is important not to celebrate the absence of menstruation and the devastating effect it can have on the body.  
  • Mr Heru Holligan – Homeopath & Proprietor (Healing Earth Life Products). He spoke on the importance of diet and balance in life and explained how his clinic helps others to achieve that balance. He touched on homoeopathy and its importance to overall wellness. He reminded attendees of the presence of hormones in the food given to our food and the impact that they may have down the line. He spoke about his work with women afflicted with gynaecological conditions. He spoke on the dangers of the high sugar lives that students lead.                                                                                 
  • Danielle explained the devastating physical, emotional, and financial impact of conditions like Endometriosis, PCOS, and others. Gave personal story and touched on the experience of BAEP’s co-founder with endometriosis. She also mentioned the school outreach program which she is a part of. Whilst at the panel discussion, where provided a signup sheet for the WhatsApp group where information about joining the BAEP officially can be gained.

Afterwards, there was a question and answer segment and the following were some of the questions and responses:

Q – Is period blood actual blood?

A – It is a combination of blood and tissue (Dr. Best)

Q – Can sex trigger a period mid-cycle?

A – Any sudden change in your cycle should be addressed with a doctor since it could point to an underlying issue (Dr. Whitby-Best, Dr. Best).

Q – What foods have B vitamins naturally occurring?

A – It is best to eat as many raw fruits and vegetables as possible. A balanced diet can ensure that the body gets what it needs. Supplements are also a good bet. (Heru); There are supplements that you can get to help with vitamin B (Dr. Best).

Q – Which is better between the mini pill and the regular pill?

A – The pills are designed for different purposes. A person who has just given birth or who is particularly susceptible to clotting will not be given pills which are estrogen based. (Dr. Best)

From all reports, it was a very interactive and engaged session- and suggestions of more events like these with a longer time allotment ( if permitted) by hosted as there was a true benefit for those in attendance.

We are thankful to the UWI HARP for the initiative and invitation and to Danielle for her outstanding representation of the BAEP at this session.