Heavy periods are a medical condition you don’t have to “put up with”. Read about my experience and how Wear White Again is helping millions of women.
When I was 28, I was told I would never have children because of wait for it, having heavy periods. According to the doctor, my history of heavy periods and genetics meant it was highly unlikely I would have children. I’m not going to lie, I sobbed and sobbed. She booked me into have further scans to see why however she was totally convinced I had endometriosis and offered no other diagnoses and no offer of treatment.
Previous doctors over the 13 years had said I was one of the unfortunate ones that had heavy periods. Not helpful in the slightest and I spent many years in hugely embarrassing situations where I leaked through my clothes because I wasn’t allowed to leave the classroom or my desk at work.
Periods are a fact of life for women and it’s a natural bodily function. I used to be so paranoid about letting on I was having a period, I hated the fact that women had to go through this. The pain was always unbearable and still is. I have been found doubled over in pain unable to move. On very heavy days I change my sanitary wear every 20 minutes so you can understand why I have never been all that comfortable about something so natural, but it’s what happens to 1 in 5 women.
1 in 5 Women Suffers From Heavy Periods
A fact I was unaware of. My periods have been all over the place over the years. After the scan, my results came back saying that everything was fine, not an issue whatsoever with my uterus and ovaries. I was over the moon, it surely meant that I could have children and I didn’t seem to have any of the issues with conceiving that my mum or grandma or many of my friends had. But it still made no sense as to why I was having these heavy bleeds.
At 30 I did fall pregnant and I fell pregnant with twins. Something I had told my best friends at the age of 23, was that I would have twin girls and that I would name them the names I gave them. You can imagine how shocked I was when we found out it was twins and then twin girls. My premonition came true despite being told I would never have children.
Tested for Cancer
Shortly after the birth, I was straight back to having periods and they were heavy, although I kind of figured this would be the case. Again, not much advice was offered but I ended up insisting I had another scan because this couldn’t be right. Low and behold, I had a cyst. They were concerned about the size and ended up testing me for cancer.
Thankfully everything came back clear and I was told the cyst would disappear. Well, that cyst ruptured about two years later and caused me such excruciating pain, that I thought I was having appendicitis. Again, no scans, no check-up, no follow up, just sent on my merry way from the hospital and made to feel like I was stupid.
I’m 20 years on from the start of having heavy and painful periods and living with various uncertainties. Now at the age of 35, I have had further changes which have resulted in very heavy bleeds every two weeks this past 6 months. It’s been tiring and debilitating. My symptoms seemed to be replicating the menopause, something my mum and my grandma both had at my age. The doctors have since tested me for the menopause, as well as my thyroid, as they thought this may also be the cause.
Two sets of blood tests later and yet again, all clear! It’s incredible that everything is OK and that I can still have children but it’s still left this huge question mark as to why I am still experiencing these heavy periods.
I’ve been through so much trying to get to the bottom of this, but I am a firm believer that in life you finally get the answers you need at a time you need them. It may have taken me twenty years and thanks to attending BritMums Live this year, I met the amazing people behind a fantastic health campaign for women with heavy periods.
The campaign is called #aminumber5 from the people at Wear White Again who are raising awareness for the fact that heavy periods are in fact, a medical condition and that it can be treated.
Some facts from #aminumber5:
- Heavy Periods affect 1 in 5 women
- Women who have had children are more likely to experience heavy periods
- Heavy periods are a medical condition – they don’t have to be “put up with”
- They have an impact on both physical and emotional wellbeing
- The All Party Parliamentary Group for Women’s Health released a report on Endometriosis and Fibroids in March this year, putting a spotlight on heavy periods and challenges to diagnosis and treatment
- The new NICE guidance on heavy periods is being published in December
- 62% of Women with heavy periods do not realise they have a medical condition
- 49% of women with heavy periods who haven’t seen their GP believe that it’s “just part of being a woman”
- 69% have experienced depression due to heavy periods
After meeting with the wonderful people of Wear White Again, I followed up my blood tests with the doctor as I couldn’t just leave it that I should put up with heavy periods for the foreseeable. Although strangely, since quitting coffee, alcohol and reigning in my diet, even more, my last two periods have been 27 days, not 14 and were really light with zero pain. A glimmer into what it’s like for other women when they have a period which made me want to further investigate. Another scan has been booked and I have some heavy-duty painkillers to ease the pain for the next one. It’s going to be interesting to see what they find, I’m less nervous thanks to the #aminumber5 campaign because I know that there is hope and there are treatment options out there.
If you have been experiencing problems and you can relate to this post and you still aren’t getting the support and treatment you need, then please visit the Wear White Again website as there is a wealth of information on symptoms, causes and treating heavy periods. Finally, make a call to your doctor and seek further advice and help. You do not need to put up with it.
If you would like to get involved with this campaign, then join the many women who are painting their nails with one nail colour different to represent the one in 5 women who live with the condition. For every photo publicly shared using the hashtag #aminumber5 £1 will be donated to the charities Wellbeing of Women and Endometriosis UK.
Thank you for reading and do feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.
I am working with Wear White Again to help raise awareness for the Am I Number 5? Campaign.