Speaking from Experience, Stigma/Taboo, TMI, Women's Health

Women’s Health

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Welcome back blog readers,

This blog post will cover topics that deal with women’s health, periods, cramping, PMS and the monthly joys we as women have to endure, and by endure, I mean suffer. Consider yourself warned, no hard feelings if you choose to stop reading now. I get it, some things fall under TMI (too much information).

I feel inclined to share my experience on this matter because after 28 years of suffering, let’s be honest, it’s not a joyous occasion; I seem to fall (yet again) into a one size fits all (except for me) category. While yes I have regular periods, no major complications but since I was a teenager I have had what I call “really bad months”.

Here is where the TMI comes in as I explain what I deal with during these “really bad months”. The PMS symptoms are normal, lower backache, water retention, bouts of irritability, craving chocolate, sleep less than normal, all of which is pretty standard for me.

Here’s where it’s not so normal, when the “really bad month” shows up, it’s typically the first heavy flow day. When I say heavy I mean going through an overnight pad every 2-4 hours kind of heavy. I should mention that I’m only 5 feet tall and my weight has fluctuated from 112 in high school to 142 now.

On these days (which are hard to predict) I experience severe cramping, my body temperature fluctuates from normal, to feeling feverish, to the point where I practically strip down (that is the only warning I get the severe cramps that have me doubled over and the quick temperature change). Once those appear, I have learned that I have maybe 15 minutes to get home and to the bathroom where I spend a good hour sitting on the throne, severely cramping, feeling like I want to die it hurts so bad, heavy bleeding, sweaty/clammy as I sit with a small fan blowing directly on me, bouts of diarrhea and a bucket to vomit in all happening at the same time. Sorry for the visual, I’m being honest.

That’s not even the end of it, just the first hour. Once I feel safe enough to get off of the throne (usually when the chills set in), I bring the vomit bucket into the bedroom and put on some fresh comfy stretchy clothes and try to sleep off the severe cramping and fight off the chills for the next hour or two. Once that finally passes, I feel great and the cramping over the next 3-4 days is minimal and the loss of blood is considerably less.

I have talked to a few doctors and OBGYN’s about my concerns and they have offered nothing in support or advice except to say that they don’t feel it’s anything to worry about since it doesn’t happen “every month”. The really bad months show up at least twice a year, they were more frequent during my teens through my late 20’s. If these symptoms happening all at once are “normal” then I am the only one I know that deals with it. If this is “normal” why was it never mentioned in Sex Ed or talked about by other women?

The worse episode happened in my ealy 20’s while I was at work (45 minutes from home). I was in the middle of talking to a customer and experienced tunnel vision and a slight loss of hearing (almost blacked out standing up). I had to excuse myself to get to the bathroom. That had never happened before, or since. I had to call my brother to pick me up and drive me home. The neighbors saw him walk me up the stairs and assumed I was drunk. They heard through the grapevine that I was bleeding heavily and almost blacked out, to which they assumed I had a miscarriage.  I was neither drunk nor have I ever been pregnant.

During my many years of suffering through this I have found that I really have to hydrate a few days before I expect my period to start. Staying hydrated seems to help keep the bad months at bay, or at the very least it has cut the time of suffering in the bathroom down. In any case there doesn’t seem to be name or cure or any information that makes sense as to why it happens.

My best guess is that my body loses too much blood to quickly, sending my body into shock as it tries to regulate the temperature.

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you experience something similar or if you have better advice.

The joys of being a woman…… ~ Hannah

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