With less than twenty days left before the gaokao, third year high school students have become the main focal point of teachers and parents. For female third year students, lead teachers are an extra layer of protection.
Lead teacher suggestion: if you have menstrual cramps, take birth control
Yesterday, an individual username 学生高考 posted on a Ma’anshan local website called xiaomawang, saying that she was the mother of a third year student. The user claimed that her daughter had returned home from school yesterday and told her that the lead teacher quietly pulled her to the side right before the end of class, asking her when her period was and whether or not she was experiencing menstrual pain. The lead teacher also recommend to the student that if she has menstrual pain, she should take birth control, and that she should do so as early as possible. This would delay her period, so as to avoid it having any negative effect on her gaokao.
The poster of the comments was interviewed by Nanjing-based Jinling Evening News, saying that her daughter gets good grades, and that since the teachers want to maintain a high average on the test scores of the students they teach, they also take extra precautions with students. Although Mrs. Shao understands the great care the lead teacher has, when it comes to this kind of sensitive topic, it would be better to get in touch with parents first to make a decision. Otherwise, when others find out, they might think her daughter is actually taking contraceptive medicine to avoid pregnancy.
Investigation: Nearly half of female students are worried
“I’m very worried that during the days of the test, my ‘good friend’ will show up and affect my test results.” Yesterday, reporters went to numerous high schools in Ma’anshan, and with the help of teachers, interviewed ten female third year students, half of whom had worries like this.
Among the ten girls interviewed, there were five who were “very worried”, as well as two who had gone to a doctor for medicine to adjust their period.
After doing some counting, one student named Li discovered that this year, her period would be starting during the days of the gaokao. “I get serious cramps and and other issues every time I have my period, and I am worried that over ten years of study might be ruined by my period.” For this reason, Li has found a women’s hospital, and would like to delay her period by taking medicine. “Although the doctor recommends that I do not do this, and instead that I would be fine just using some painkillers, I’m still quite worried.”
Some girls still plan to change the date of their period although it does not fall during the gaokao. Another student named Jing said that although her period is not during those particular days, she wants to avoid being nervous by having it sooner or delaying it. “I’ve never been very good at dealing with stress, so to avoid any surprise situations, I’d still like to make some preparations.”
“That day, our teacher wanted us to go buy birth control.” A student named Jie explained that in the past few days, the lead teacher had gathered all the girls in the class together and talked to them about the issue of periods during the test. Since the lead teacher is a younger male teacher, he wasn’t too clear either. He just said, “Go to the pharmacy and buy some medicine called Levonorgestrel (毓婷), then take it for a few days before the test.”
Jie said that she had not heard of this kind of medicine before, but that after school she went to the pharmacy with several other female classmates. When she loudly said, “I want to buy Levonogestrel”, the salesperson was astonished, responding, “That’s birth control medicine!”
The girls blushed immediately. “So awkward!”
Department of Education: Don’t encourage it, don’t promote it
Reporters interviewed a manager at the Ma’anshan Department of Education regarding the incident reported on the internet. The manager explained, most children today are only children, and that many parents give excessive vitamins and nutrients to their children. Additionally, puberty arrives for each child at a different time, so not even to mention high school, many girls are already having their periods during middle school.
The manager also said that according to their understanding, such medication recommendations have been made to female students for many years. Even during the high school entrance exam physical fitness tests, there are some third year middle school students who use contraceptive medicine to prevent period during running and avoid an embarrassing situation affecting their test.
The manager explained that because it involves private and sensitive issues, the Department of Education has never encouraged nor promoted these methods among female students, and that for the same reason, the Department does not have the authority and is unable to prohibit female students from taking birth control or using other methods to delay their period during testing times.
Expert: Taking progesterone has fewer side effects
Will taking birth control definitely delay one’s period, and is there any way to have the same effect while reducing side effects? To answer these questions, reporters went to to ask Director of the People’s Hospital of Ma’anshan City Gynecology Department, Jiang Yezhong.
According to Dr. Jiang, menstruation is an important physiological sign of maturity in females that has a set cycle, and disturbing this cycle has no benefits to a woman’s body. If a period occurs during the gaokao, it’s most important to reduce any pain. Aside from enriching the blood through regular use of traditional Chinese medicinal food-based therapy, it’s very hard to manage this pain in the short term.
Jiang Yezhong told reporters that if a period must be delayed, taking birth control is not the best method since this medicine may cause nausea, vomiting, bleeding, and other unpleasant issues. There are many side effects, and according to statistics, contraceptive medicine has strong psychological effects on young women. For this reason, taking birth control is not as good as taking progesterone caplets (which are sold by most pharmacies). Dr. Jiang explained that progesterone is a natural pregnancy-related hormone with few side effects. Students can take 400 mg per day starting one week before the test, and can stop taking it immediately following the test. It cannot be used long term.
Dr. Jiang explained at the same time that most people who take progesterone are able to delay their period, but that some people are not sensitive to the medicine and do not absorb it well, so results may not be clear. Regardless, harm caused to the body will be less than if taking birth control. Any individual who finds taking birth control effective will also find taking progesterone effective since the reason for taking birth control is to take advantage of the effects of the pregnancy-related hormones. This is the same logic behind taking progesterone.
Original publication date: 5/22/13