Photo: Madeline Masarik Photography
What would happen if the periods of the entire female population synced? Probably WWIII, tbh.
I only ask, as it seems soooo many of my ‘gal pals’ are ON at the moment. I pretty much sync up with most women, mostly because my periods are so damn long.
Anyway, this is a subject I’ve been wanting to write about for a long time, mainly because I find it so bloody (pardon the pun) difficult to write about. I find it embarrassingly awkward to even write the word period. PERIOD PERIOD PERIOD. I know I have a lot of male readers and it’s almost like I want to play down the fact I bleed from my bits, in quite a messy manner, every month.
But this is precisely the reason I should talk about it. No wonder men think nothing of it. TV ads for sanitary products make out like it’s all skipping and butterflies and giggly fun with the girls, when my reality is much more like a scene from Kill Bill.
On the other hand, while I ~personally~ (my blog, my opinion) don’t think we need to go as far as not bothering with sanitary protection as we’ve seen in recent demonstrations, I do think we need to be a bit more honest and less ashamed about our periods, which are, after all a monthly occurrence for the majority of women in the world.
With Zoe London recently opening up about the fact she’s struggling with suspected endometriosis, I thought it about time I told you the tale of my own period drama(s)…
ONE WEEK BEFORE
It’ll creep up on me, and all of a sudden I feel an overwhelming urge to cry. Or scream. Or shout. Or sometimes, disturbingly, all of those at the same time. Then, I’ll look at the date and realise that, in about a week, it’ll be THAT time of the month. Oh joy. Last week, I cried at Super Vet, Goggle Box and at a dog tied up outside Sainsbury’s waiting for his owner to return.
Insane to the migraine
During this time, which I can only think must be my hormones dropping off a cliff, I usually get a migraine (which deserve a blog post of their own, tbh). No, it’s not just a headache; I get flashing lights, pins and needles in my FACE, dizziness, nausea – the lot. For HOURS. All I can do is lie down in a darkened room and wait for it to pass. NICE ONE, MOTHER NATURE.
Once I’ve clocked that Aunt Flo is due to pay a visit, I’ll start to notice my stomach getting an attractive bloat on. Yes, I might be “skinny” (you know not to call me out on that, right?) but I can get period pouch, too. This is usually accompanied by a dull ache, and I start clamping a hot water bottle to my bits. SO SEXUAL.
I gave up (well, OK cut massively down on) added sugar over a year ago (read my post here) but, if I’m gonna get a craving, you can guarantee it’s around this time of the month. If I don’t cave in and demolish an entire pack of biscuits in one sitting, I’ll be massively grumpy. If I do, I seem to come out in really cute spots, in a cluster on my cheek. FFS.
My mate, Marmite
OK, this is where things will start to freak out the uninitiated (men), but basically, our periods don’t happen like the sanitary towel ads make out. I do not drip out blue water in a dainty way, mmm’kay? I’m working up to much worse than that, but for now, I get a delightful smear of dark stuff. Which can only be described as looking like Marmite. YOU’RE NOT MY MATE, PAL.
Pain in the arse
I’m pretty sure my period pains must be up there with child labour. Not only do I get the obvious lower pelvic pain (appaz, the side that hurts reflects which ovary you’re ovulating from, cute), but I also get terrible pain *ahem* radiating from my bottom, as well as my lower back and thighs. It’s usually so bad, I can’t stand up, but y’know; gurl gotta get to work. More recently, I’ve also started getting really bad pains in my knee-caps. I mean, WTF?
Dat crimson tide
Marmite stage lasts for about 3-4 days; it’s enough for me to bring out the Big Period Pants (fed up of ruining my Calvin Kleins tbh). Then, pretty much without warning, apart from a mega womb pang, the floodgates will open and HOUSTON, WE HAVE BLOOD.
Mine is not ‘light touch’. Mine is a tampon every hour plus sometimes a sanitary towel/a whole bog roll’s worth of tissue shoved down there too jobby. Sometimes, my train journey to work is too long for the aforementioned ‘protection’ to cope with and I might have a nasty accident. Which will usually involve an emergency dash to the loos in Costa, and sometimes a trip to the local market/Toppers/wherever to buy a spare pair of pants. Sure.
Apparently the average bleed is between 4-12 teaspoons of blood. Substitute ‘teaspoons’ for ‘buckets’ and you’d be about right for mine.
Clot ‘n’ roll
Following on from the above, when things get really heavy (and this coincides with my cramps being particularly bad), I get big ol’ clumps of blood coming out of me. I KNOW RIGHT. Once, one was SO HUGE, I genuinely thought it was a little foetus and that I was miscarrying and I may have cried. True story.
I need to be within dashing distance of a toilet at all times, for obvious reasons PLUS I also seem to need to go to the loo a LOT more when I’m on the blob. Not sure if that’s due to some sort of inflammation of my womb pressing on my bladder? Bleurgh. Um, and I also get, uhhhh, ‘tummy probs’ at this point too. Which is just what you need when you’re already dealing with armageddon down there.
During this time I feel drained, both literally and figuratively speaking. I feel like I’ve lost so much blood, I must surely be anaemic, or dead, PLUS I have no energy at all. I struggle to get up in the mornings, and can barely get through the day.
I feel like this is the unspoken part of periods, so I’m just gonna put it out there: I have accidents in my knicky-knacks. I have no qualms in admitting I’ve got ‘period pants’ which are a) mega high-waisted, like granny pants, cos it’s like they’re giving my womb a hug and b) I don’t care if I ruin them.
Unfortunately for me, my bleed usually lasts for around 10 days, but obviously the first 4-5 are the most horrific, and I basically try to avoid having to move from my bed. Everything’s much more manageable after that. I usually get another migraine to round the whole thing off (woooo!) and some more Marmite (soz not soz) and eventually my skin clears up again.
But all-in-all that takes up around two weeks out of every, say five. Not great, eh?
I’m not sure if it’s because I spent over a decade on The Pill (and not just one type; I LIDERALLY tried err’thang going because they didn’t agree with me, and hilariously gave me MORE migraines – oh, and high blood pressure) and have now fucked up my natural cycle beyond repair?
I was convinced I had endometriosis for ages but I had a laparoscopy and they found nada. Which, obviously, yay to that and everything BUT I was sort of hoping to be able to work out the cause of my monstrous menstruation. They did find my appendix was knackered and about to burst so removed that instead, so it wasn’t a complete waste of time.
My GP just wants to throw hardcore painkillers at it – and one helpful (male) doctor said I should ‘have a baby’ (NOT EVEN JOKING) so now I’m left in a sort of horrible limbo.
Personally, I feel like I have a hormone imbalance, and they go completely outta whack during my time of the month. I can almost feel it. happen. It’s my mission in 2016 to find some alternative treatment that can help address this – if you have any suggestions PLEASE let me know!
And of course, feel free to share your own period dramas too. I’ve often wondered if mine are abnormal, or does everyone go through this, too?