Almost 40 000 young South Africans are seeking advice from Sho Madjozi’s Menstrual Education Chatbot
“Is it really safe to have sex during your period?” is just one of the many period questions asked and answered as young South Africans get In Sync with Sho Madjozi.
The Facebook chatbot is designed to get young South Africans talking about periods
Since launching during Women’s Month in 2019, almost two million South Africans have engaged with the campaign aimed at destigmatising menstruation.
There are about 30 million women in South Africa – that’s roughly 30 million people who have or will most likely experience some confusion, isolation or shame concerning menstruation at some point in their lifetime, largely due to the stigma attached to it. And Sho Madjozi says she is not keeping quiet about periods any longer.
“When I started my period there was this idea that you already had to know what to do and as a result you kept quiet while figuring it out on your own. I want that to change. I want everyone to have an open and honest conversation about menstruation. Many young girls still have the same questions today that I had when I first started menstruating and we need to give them access to information that will empower them. That’s why I am not whispering about periods anymore.”
Almost 40 000 messages clicked already
The John Cena singer has already received almost 40 000 message clicks via the ‘In Sync with Sho Madjozi’ chatbot from thousands of young South Africans who have reached out to ask questions and get answers about periods in a safe space.
Sho Madjozi and Stayfree ® share some of the questions that young South Africans are asking about menstruation, as well as the answers.
1. What is the clotting I experience during my period?
Relax – it’s completely normal! You may see some clots in your period blood because when you are menstruating, your uterus sheds its lining. This means that it’s not just blood coming out but is rather a mix of blood and bits of the lining of your uterus, which forms the clots.
2. How do I know when I’m ovulating?
Ovulation usually occurs around 10 to 16 days before your period starts, so you may be able to work out when you’re likely to ovulate if you have a regular cycle. You may also notice things like your cervical mucus changing in texture and colour around the time of ovulation.
3. Does eating dairy makes your period smell funny?
No it doesn’t. Everyone has their own personal smell and period odours are a natural thing, although they’re not the greatest! To avoid that smell try to change your sanitary pad regularly and wash your genital area well with clean water. If you are concerned about the smell of your vagina, discharge or period then it’s best to visit your doctor.
4. What causes an irregular period?
Anything from hormones, stress and medication to weight loss and lifestyle changes can cause an irregular period. Keeping a period diary is a good idea if you’re experiencing irregular periods so you can look back and count the days of your cycle and see how your flow has changed. This can also help you predict when your next period will come.
A cycle is counted from the first day of one period to the first day of the next period. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days but cycles can range anywhere from 21 to 35 days in adults and from 21 to 45 days in young teens. It’s best to visit your doctor if you always experience irregular periods.
5. If my partner cheats on me will it delay my period or will my cycle swap with the other woman’s cycle?
While an unfaithful partner may affect you and your well-being in many ways, a change in your cycle date isn’t one of them. That said, stress can cause you to miss your period, so look after yourself, including your mental and emotional health.
There is no scientific proof to back up the idea that women swap cycles with one another
There is no scientific proof to back up the idea that women swap cycles with one another, and who your partner sleeps with will have no direct impact on your menstrual cycle, but remember that sexually transmitted diseases are exactly that – sexually transmitted. So instead of swapping cycles you could be at risk of swapping STIs and STDs. Protect yourself.
6. Is it really safe to have sex during your period?
One of the most common myths about menstruation is that period sex is safe sex but the truth is that it’s not impossible to get pregnant while you’re having your period. Use protection just as you would when you’re not on your period – and remember that safe sex isn’t just about avoiding unwanted pregnancy.
7. Does steaming your vagina by sitting over a bucket of boiled water and onions cure period pain?
This is an old wives’ tale. Instead of listening to an old wife, listen to Sho, who says that taking some time out helps to ease her period pain. “I stock up on some yummy (okay, and some healthy) snacks such as chocolate, and I climb under a blanket with a cup of tea because the warmth always helps to soothe my pain. Netflix is a good distraction too.”
Here are a few more tips that can help:
- We agree with Sho; heat really does help. Try having a warm bath or placing a hot water bottle on your abdomen.
- Get some exercise. This helps to strengthen the muscles in the pelvic region, which can help to prevent or minimise cramps.
- Use medication as a last resort. Mild pain relievers or an anti-inflammatory can be taken.
- If the pain holds you back from doing your thing, it’s best to visit your clinic or doctor. They should be able to give you the best advice and treatment options.
- If you have any questions about periods, submit them to the In Sync with Sho Madjozi chatbot safely and anonymously, where experts are on standby to help. Users can access the chatbot free of charge by searching for In Sync with Sho Madjozi on the Facebook Messenger app.