Let’s talk about our periods, shall we? And no; not in the “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” way we did in grade school, because things are different now. As grown women, periods are central to so many feelings. What else is there in adulthood that creates so many conflicted and opposing reactions? There’s “Thank goodness! I got my period!,” to “Oh darn; I got my period,” to the ever-popular “ARE YOU FREAKIN’ KIDDING ME WITH THIS PERIOD?”
It’s time to shift the conversation to (insert loud booming Monster Truck voice here): GROWN UP PERIODS (and the period blunders we should avoid)
You’d think that once you’ve had your period for, oh, say 20 years, things would level out and you would be reasonably aware of knowing when it’s coming. Haha; nope. Some women start off regular at 12 years old and stay regular their entire menstruating life, while others chase that red “X” on the calendar like it’s a toddler in an open field. You can also go from regular to not-so-much in the blink of an eye, and so you should always be prepared.
Build yourself a little Period Care Package with a tampon or two, panty liners, a pad, and even some prepackaged moist towelettes, a spare pair of underwear, and an OTC painkiller. Even if you never need this emergency pack, someone you know will, and being the one in the office who always has tampons will pay back in droves come holiday season.
Let’s move on to the “what to do if your period is terrible” phase of this discussion. Here goes: clots, cramping, more clots, bleeding through pants, IS THIS A BLOOD CLOT BECAUSE IT LOOKS LIKE MY LIVER.
Let’s take a moment to give silent respect to all those amongst us (so, like, most of us) who have ever had to put down that 50% off pair of gorgeous white jeans, or woke up after a nap with blood on the couch, or ruined the very first pair of Laura Ashley sheets they finally decided to splurge on after their University student loan was paid, or had to call in sick to work or play, all because of a heavy period.
Here’s an eye-opening stat : One in five women between the ages of 35-55 live with heavy periods. Of those, over 50% - HALF – do not seek medical help. They’re embarrassed, or think their heavy bleeding is “normal,” and here’s the thing: continued heavy bleeding is not part of a typical period.
Heavy menstrual bleeding that requires double protection or affects your quality of life, bleeding between periods, after sex, or for long amounts of times exceeding a typical cycle of 5-7 days, is not simply part of “the curse of being a woman.” This is not 1640, women are not without agency, and we are not suffering with menstruation so that our village’s corn crops can succeed. Call your doctor and set up a period chat sesh. Straight shooting non-medical speak here: it down-right sucks to live with heavy bleeding, it’s a legit medical condition that can get in the way of you enjoying and living your best life.
Help is available and there are options for heavy and uncomfortable periods that range from things like specific birth control methods (even if you don’t need the “birth control” part, some will work to help with heavy bleeding and cramping!) to minor surgical treatments such as endometrial ablation. Check out HeavyPeriodTalk.ca - and speak with your doctor if you still have concerns or questions! Why wait? Another month (and another period with it) is coming and relief is available. Make the call and get the ball rolling. You have things to do, and sitting at home on a towel because you’re scared to ruin your couch is not your best life.
You’re amazing. Look at you! You are worth taking care of and sometimes that means YOU need to treat yourself as well as you treat others. No more short-end of the stick for you! Take care of yourself always – but be especially gentle on yourself when you’re bleeding. It’s not rocket science to say you should drink lots of water, eat well, and make sure you catch all the sleep you can, but these things are especially true when you are feeling rundown or extra-sensy when menstruating. Nourish yourself, and in my 100% non-medically trained opinion, if that sometimes means that “self-nourishment” looks like ordering a pizza from the bathtub before sliding into some track pants and hitting Netflix hard, then rock on, sister.
Just promise that you won’t let your period make this your standing Saturday night entertainment option, okay?