When I was a teenager and throughout my early adulthood I was lucky that my periods didn’t cause me too many problems. I would get the odd stomach cramp, but they weren’t particularly heavy and they came and went like clockwork.
I use the word lucky because now I realise that I was lucky and I didn’t realise until my periods changed that they could be so bad. So bad in fact that they completely affected my life.
1 in 5 women suffer with heavy periods and many women aren’t aware this is a medical condition, with many treatments available. They often suffer in silence.
I’m not normally an over sharer, but I’m sharing my story with you today because if like me you are suffering with heavy periods I want you to know you’re not alone and there is help available.
What Changed For Me? My Story…
I always wanted to be a mummy, it was part of my dreams for as long as I can remember. I chose my childrens name when I was younger and apart from telling my nan I kept them to myself, not wanting anyone to steal them! There was a time in my life when I thought I wouldn’t find my prince charming and settle down to have a family. But I did and the rest as they say is history.
We got married in what some people would say was a whirlwind and a year later I was pregnant with Alice, our much wanted and loved daughter who made me a mummy. I breastfed Alice and once I stopped my periods returned as you would expect, but they were different. They were heavier, I had cramps like I hadn’t experienced before I was nauseous and that time in the month was now a big part of my life.
I no longer felt that I could go swimming when my period was on and as I had signed up for swimming classes and Alice loved them, I felt torn between taking my daughter to something that she loved and something that I believe is important for all children to learn to swim and that worry that I might have an embarrassing moment in the pool. We face many moments as a mum, where we always put our children first, but just maybe this was a time when I couldn’t.
When Alice was 14 months old I fell pregnant, a pregnancy that we had planned and we couldn’t wait to expand our family. Sadly, that pregnancy wasn’t to be and I lost our baby. It will always live with me, I will always go through June thinking I wonder which day you would’ve been born on, we could’ve shared a birthday!
With the loss of my baby, my periods returned and they were worse than before. After a couple of months I fell pregnant again and spent a nervous nine months, waiting, praying and hoping that my baby would be ok. We found out we were expecting a sister for Alice and my heart exploded. Our beautiful Holly was born safely in August, 10 days after Alice’s 2nd birthday and our family was complete.
I breastfed Holly and as our breastfeeding time was coming to an end I was dreading the return of my periods. When that day arrived, they were crippling. I felt miserable and I didn’t want to leave the sofa. But that wasn’t an option with two children to look after. Our days were packed with preschool, ballet class, swimming lessons and days out with friends.
During my period I would be conscious about what I was wearing and summer was always worse, as you want to wear dresses, but you feel more exposed. Going to the toilet in public with two young children squashed in with you is never fun. But it’s even less fun, when you’ve got your period and you’ve leaked. With your toddler asking you loudly if you’ve wet yourself and why is your wee red. Those moments when you just wish you were back on the sofa in the comfort of your own home.
I was on the contraceptive pill, purely as a contraceptive, but the doctor wanted to change the one I was on due to the length of time I had been on it. It was during this chat that she asked me about how heavy my periods were and I told her what it was like and how it was affecting me each month. She was very supportive and went on to tell me that there is an actual name for it, menorrhagia, and more importantly that there were treatments that could help.
We chatted through the options, my health and plans for any further children etc and decided that the best course of treatment for me would be to have an intrauterine hormone device (coil) fitted. These are intended as a contraceptive, however because of the hormones they also have an effect on heavy bleeding. They are often the first course of treatment for heavy periods that a doctor will prescribe.
I was booked in to have my coil fitted by the nurse and she explained to me that everyone’s periods are different after it is fitted. Some people never have a period again while it’s fitted, others still have a period but the bleeding is considerably less. It can take a few months after it’s been fitted for you to know exactly what your future periods will be like.
What I also liked about having the coil fitted, was I no longer had to remember to take my contraceptive pill everyday and the coil would last between 3-5 years.
I’ve had the coil fitted now for 18 months and I was one of the lucky ones. I no longer have periods, which seems just crazy writing that and something that I could never have seen happening beforehand.
I can’t put into words the positive effect this has had not only on me, but my family too. Yes, I still know exactly when my period is, whilst I may not bleed anymore, I do get slight cramps and I’m sure Andy will say I get the mood swings still! But they no longer stop me in my tracks and they only last for a couple of days. I occasionally get a bit of break through blood, but very rarely and it doesn’t last long.
If I hadn’t gone to the doctor and just by chance been asked about my periods, I would not be in the position I am now, where I no longer have those moments where I dread my period arriving. I want to help spread the word that there are treatments available, that this isn’t something you have to suffer with every month and that you’re not alone.
You don’t have to cancel social plans, worry about booking a holiday in case that turns out to be the week your period arrives, take time off work because you’re in that much pain. You can get help, don’t be afraid to speak to friends, your GP and get the help you need.
I’m supporting the Am I Number 5? campaign and much to Alice’s delight painted my nails, with 1 nail a different colour. It’s a brilliant campaign and one that I hope is spread far and wide to help people just like me.
There are other treatments available, not just the one that worked for me. You can find all the information you need at the Wear White Again website. If you have any questions that you want to ask me then please do feel free to leave them in the comments below, or if you would prefer to do so in private you can find all my contact details here. I’m happy to help where I can.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.