PERIODS

I thought I was dying everytime.

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For most people periods can cause some mild to moderate pain. Symptoms vary for everyone. Honestly my periods were the heaviest, most painful thing ever- it felt like I actually was going to get torn into pieces. (I’m speaking in past tense as I haven’t had a period in nearly three years- I’ll explain this in a little bit). There is definitely plenty a horror story from period leaks and all that fun. I’d help girls I didn’t even like at school after realising they’re having a massive period explosion. Girls help girls blood out your nunny isn’t fun. Bleeding down your leg in your Pe shorts. Clots and all that gunky yumminess.

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People don’t really explain the whole period thing to you properly. The science and the basics are explained but not really in a way that’s memorable- for the longest time I had no idea what the actual period was & why it was happening, I just knew everyone has them to let them know they aren’t pregnant. They don’t talk about the ‘abnormalities’ that are actually much more common than you’d think. They don’t explain leaking, constant bleeding & being sick. I was under the impression I’d bleed for a few days have a slight tummy ache crave loads of chocolate use a couple of pads a day & off it goes. For some people this is the case. HA. If you’re one of these people congratulations, you’ve won.

A period happens because of changes in hormones the body. Hormones are chemical messengers. The ovaries release the female hormones estrogen and male progesterone. These hormones then cause the lining of the uterus (or womb) to build up. The built-up lining is ready for a fertilized egg to attach to and start developing. If there is no fertilized egg, the lining breaks down and bleeds. Then the same process happens all over again. It usually takes slightly less than a month.

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Periods are becoming less and less taboo and it’s great. When I was about 11 I remember having to go with my dad to buy tampons for my holiday- we got sent with a list explaining what type to buy- we got there I was so embarrassed. My dad looked at me like ??? ‘which ones do you need.’ I was so overwhelmed lol. Who knew vaginas were all different shapes and sizes. Who knows what a heavy flow is. Was my dad really standing in our local sainsburys holding 4 boxes of tampons reading the details on the back for what I may need. Men that do this for their kids, wives, girlfriends- I applaud you.

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I remember being super excited to go to a water park on holiday – I’d convinced everyone we had to go.. it was the first year I’d had my period, I was 11 and I woke up with my period – I’d made everyone buy their tickets for the water park & there was no backing out- I was too embarrassed to tell everyone and ask to go on a different day. I fainted twice trying to put a tampon in. It was half sticking out so painful Lordy lord. I was too scared to put it in incase it got lost. (Little did I know it was physically impossible to get lost due to female anatomy) Water park day ruined.

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My period started when I was 10 (or maybe 11?) so I never really had issues with FOMO of periods- although I’ve heard other schools I might have had the opposite- ‘periods are gross.’ Plenty of young girls pray for the day their period finally comes. I got mine very young. People don’t tell you that sometimes your period will miss a month or so (or even as long as a year when you first start). I got mine a few times- they were gradually getting more and more painful to the point I’d be doubled over in pain unable to move. I’d get in the shower or bath and faint as soon as I got out due to a sudden loss of blood, change in blood pressure & heat. I’d get so hot and be shivery. I spent many a morning before school with my sister laughing at me whilst I lay on the floor completely naked feet up on the bath post period faint. Attractive! I had no clue why they were this bad. Some were slightly more bearable pain wise but were ridiculously heavy – I’d wear 3 Night pads together (practically a nappy). My periods would always last a week- I’d be knocked out. In school it was always ‘everyone has periods man up’ well actually men don’t have periods and mine are diagnosed as being particularly bad so let me just sit here in a pile of blood and feel ill. I’d be vomiting most days when my period came- the last two days tended to be just cramps and lighter periods. So.. then it came to a point I was having a week long period, It would stop for two days and then I’d be back to having another week period. This went on for a little while. My GP was an ex gynaecologist and he put me on the combined contraceptive pill when I was 12- (ish?) we were reluctant to this (of course it wasn’t for contraceptive reasons) but it was what was needed to help regulate them. I bled everyday for two years. Heavily. Some days not as bad as others but still everyday. I’ve tried atleast 12 different contraceptive pills- different brands combinations all sorts. As my anxiety started we did wonder if it was just a hormonal imbalance- anyway cut a long period story short I had GCSES to focus on and i was bleeding constantly it wasn’t great. I developed migraines and I got put onto the mini pill instead. I’ve been on this pill about 3 & 1/2 years now. For the first year I was on this pill I had spotting everyday and the occasional period. After around a year it stopped thank god!!!!!!!!!! So now I’m on degesterol- haven’t had a period on it which is totally normal (for this pill) and isn’t harming me contrary to belief from old myths. In the future I want to come off this pill & work out what really is going on with my body, but the fact I bled every single day for as long as I did I’m definitely owed a few years off. I haven’t had a period for a long time now & it’s great. I wonder whether my fibromyalgia was undiagnosed when I had these awful period pains or if it’s something separate, my doctors think perhaps Endometriosis which effects 1 in 10. It’s incredibly common. My health has always been too bad- mentally or physically to focus on this to my pill is doing me a massive favour right now stopping the symptoms. All I know is that right now if I had to cope with the pain of those periods on top of all my health issues I’d be a complete mess. Once my health issues calms down I’d like to try and investigate what the hells going on gynae wise. LOL.

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Why you’d want to have your period I have no clue!! Plenty of girls in school got to 14, 15 and still felt shy or would even lie about the fact their period hadn’t started yet. They were the odd ones out. I was jealous of them! In my school it was funny if you hadn’t started your period you were a baby. Speaking to uni friends in their schools if you had started your period and no one else had you were dirty and gross! The boys would throw the girls sanitary towels round the room and laugh. It’s crazy that kids all over the country pick on each other for anything!

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So I was a fainter. My blood pressure was low & I used to lose a lot of blood. Heavy periods effect between 20-30% of women. The medical terms given by my doctor are below.

DYSMENORRHEA:

dysmenorrhoea/ˌdɪsmɛnəˈriːə/nounMEDICINEnoun: dysmenorrhea

  1. painful menstruation, typically involving abdominal cramps.

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MENORRHAGIA

menorrhagia/ˌmɛnəˈreɪdʒɪə : nounMEDICINE

  1. abnormally heavy bleeding at menstruation

PMS IS REAL!!!!

The pre period drama! PMS (premenstrual syndrome) or PMT (premenstrual tension).

  • feeling sick or bloated
  • breast tenderness or sore nipples
  • mood swings
  • feeling irritable
  • spotty skin or excessively greasy hair
  • Food cravings

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PERIOD POVERTY IS REAL AND IT SUCKS. Right so now you’ve read all this loveliness. Think. Imagine you weren’t in a fortunate enough position to be able to afford pads, tampons, menstral cups.

ANYTHING YOU CAN DO I CAN DO BLEEDING!

End Period Poverty

Women are at serious danger of infection due to not having the financial capacity to use period products or a clean bathroom. Imagine you are having the worst day ever, you are living on the streets- you haven’t eaten or showered in days & then your period comes- experiencing all the symptoms above. Spending all day trying to beg for money which has to be spent on period products. 1 in 10 girls can not afford period products. 1 in 10 girls suffer from endometriosis.

1 IN 10 WOMEN CANNOT AFFORD SANITARY PRODUCTS FOR THEIR PERIODS. This statistic is intense.

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Women’s health is sososos important & people often get too embarrassed to talk about it.

Go and see your GP or a gynaecologist if you experience any of the below symptoms, they’re likely not to be anything scary, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry and be aware whats going on down there! Medication, pelvic floor excercises or scans may be needed.

– You are over the age of 15 and haven’t started your period

– You have had your period for over 2 years and it still doesn’t come regularly (about every 4–5 weeks)

– You have severe cramps that don’t get better with heat, ibuprofen or naproxen.

– Abdominal Pain when you are not on your period.

– You have very heavy bleeding (bleeding that goes through a pad or tampon fast or small dark clots in the blood)

– You have periods that last more than about a week.

– Blisters, sores, burning or lumps (downstairs)

– Abnormal Smells

– Itching, Burning, Stinging

– Pain when you wee

– You have bleeding between periods (spotting)

– Little leaks

– Painful sex

– You have severe PMS that gets in the way of your everyday activities

https://www.womenshealth.gov/menstrual-cycle/period-problems

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/periods/period-problems/

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