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Which West African country receives the most foreign direct investment?
Senegal was West Africa's largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) at $2.6 billion in 2022. Nigeria, previously West Africa's largest recipient, saw FDI flows turn negative to -$187 million in 2022 as a result of equity divestments. ...
How many men and women respectively are murdered every day in South Africa?
The South African Police Service's annual report recorded 25,204 murders in 2021/22, an increase of 26.6% from the 19,904 recorded in 2020/21. Of the victims, 3,198 were women and 20,924 were men. The South African Police Service's latest crime statistics covering January to March 2023 recorded 6...
No, you don’t need to avoid these foods and activities during menstruation, claims in viral post are ‘outrageous’
“Here are the 5 things girls need to watch out for during their period!” begins a post circulating on social media, before going on to list them.
The post has been viewed at least 56,000 times. Many grateful users thanked the poster, who claims to be a medical doctor. Similar claims have been made by other accounts in 2019 and 2020, attracting thousands of shares.
Three of the claims in the most recent post are about food and drink. The post says not to drink cold or sparkling water, or eat cucumbers or ice cream during menstruation. According to it, cucumbers “block menstruation (bleeding) in the uterine wall and cause infertility” while “drinking” ice cream causes “uterine or tumor cancer”.
The post also advises people not to allow hard objects to touch their abdomens, and not to use shampoo.
But should people stay away from these foods and activities when menstruating? We looked into it.
Touching the abdomen and shampooing hair aren’t risky during menstruation
According to the post, shampoo should be avoided because “the pores of the head are open during menstruation” and this causes “headaches”.
Ashford said that pores did not open during menstruation, and shampoo would not generally cause headaches. “It is common during menstruation to have menstrual headaches” but these were related to changes in hormones, she said – not a result of using shampoo.
Ashford also said there was no link between touching the abdomen and health risks: “Any kind of blunt trauma, like a car accident, can cause trauma to the organs, including uterine trauma. But there is no increased vulnerability during menstruation.”
Avoiding cucumbers, ice cream and sparkling water is ‘utter nonsense’
Ashford further told Africa Check that cucumbers do not stop menstrual bleeding, and cold or sparkling water are not risky during menstruation. She said ice cream does not cause uterine cancer by blocking bleeding, calling the claims “utter nonsense”.
In some other versions of the post, it is claimed that consuming ice, rather than ice cream, could cause “uterine or tumour cancer”. There is no evidence for this either.
“I can say categorically that they are not based on any evidence I have ever come across in 42 years as an obstetrician-gynaecologist,” she told us.
Some foods might help symptoms of menstrual disorders
While there is no evidence to suggest these foods and activities should be avoided, some research suggests that particular food supplements could help with symptoms of dysmenorrhea, which involves severe pain and cramps during menstruation. These include fish oil, magnesium, calcium and some vitamins.
But this research is among people with a menstrual disorder, not the general public. It is not clear whether people who do not have disorders would get the same pain-relieving results from these supplements.
While it’s common to suffer from menstrual headaches, these aren't caused by using shampoo during menstruation.
There is also no link between touching the abdomen and health risks related to menstruation.
An expert described claims that cold water, cucumbers and ice cream should be avoided as “utter nonsense”.
Is there any data available on housing affordability in Africa?
Housing affordability is based on three things: household income, the price of the house, and the terms of the finance. Across Africa, a combination of low urban household incomes, high mortgage interest rates and a lack of access to finance, results in very low housing affordability. In 2022, th...