“How do you handle ladies’ days on duty?”
Dr. OG has a very important question. She says, “I’ve started a surgical residency and I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to deal with ladies’ days. I’ve spotted, stained, been caught unaware, you name it, it has happened to me. How am I supposed to deal with this?”
I wasn’t sure about answering this because if you’ve had an intense clerkship, then you’d probably be accustomed to this. However, if you were blessed to be at a cush urban hospital then you may not have had to deal with this in the past.
I actually googled online to see how female doctors deal with this on rounds, while scrubbing in etc and saw very little feedback. I think the general consensus is “You’re a big girl now. Deal with it.” Some general tips:
Do the charting diligently. When leaky week starts, make a note on your calendar and count your cycle and mark the date. Charting helps you be extra vigilant the day the volcano hits. You’re not completely unaware.
-Always Carry Supplies
When we were in our clerkship, we had a colleague SK, who carried spare napkins for ladies’ days. Always. She was our go to girl in case of an emergency. She always had one in her bag. Maybe you could keep one in your bag for emergencies. This can be not just for yourself but for others as well. Stuff it in your shoe or your bra if you don’t carry a small pouch in the wards.
-Invest in Disposable Garments
During your ladies’ days, wear disposable underwear. If you’re on 24 hours shifts, it’s going to be hard to store and launder stained clothes. I can’t stress how much this can help. Not to mention the hygiene aspect to it.
If you don’t believe in disposable garments then pantyliners can also help you through long duty hours and can also help you prevent any spotting during your ladies’ time.
If you’re in intense pain and we know that can happen during some ladies cycles, take a pill to tide you over till the morning hours. If you can carry a heat pad as well then do so. Carry your pain reliever with you.
Wear Loose and Dark Clothes
I’m not sure about you, but when I was a clerk, we had white uniforms. And it was tough during those days. Wear dark and loose clothing if you’re allowed the choice. It can certainly camouflage any leaks and loose clothing will leave you feeling less constricted.
Visit the restroom often
Go often to the restroom if possible. That way you’re aware of the status of the napkin or how long you can go without a change.
Choose short procedures
Just for those special ladies’ days scrub into short procedures instead of long ones. Cholecystectomy instead of Bilroth.
Hope this helps. Does anyone have any other advice?
If you’re a doctor who would like to send in a question, you can DM me on twitter @PamelaQFerns or even message me on LinkedIn or simply use the contact form or email me.