Period Awareness Day is coming up on October 24, 2018, you can follow @drsexyann and @embraceherflow on twitter for more information. I thought that since I had just finished my induced period that maybe I should talk about it.
Sometimes, when health becomes personal it can be hard to talk about. I think that reproductive health and mental health are some of the hardest illnesses for us to open up about. The only way we can change the stigma towards these illnesses is to talk more openly about them, how do they differ from diabetes, hypertension, cancer and so on? We talk about those illnesses fairly easy.
Remember I said I just finished my induced period? Well we are going to focus on that for a little while. The last time I had a period before this was (maybe) in March. I’m not going to pretend as though I didn’t know it was an issue that I wasn’t menstruating, I just ignored it.
Being in Medical School doesn’t make me much different from anyone else when it comes to health seeking behaviours- sometimes I will try to solve the problem on my own and avoid going to the doctor. The truth is I’m scared of doctors and hospitals and so on. Which is why I focus so much energy on encouraging persons not to be and to seek out medical help- because I know first AND second-hand that waiting until things are really bad to get help never helps anyone and makes it worse on you. Remember this?
Anyway I digress…
I think I ignored it because I simply didn’t want to confront it. I have been putting off acknowledging the issues with my reproductive system for a few years now, but as I’ve gotten older it has been too massive of an issue to ignore. After I rotated through Obstetrics and Gynaecology I met a doctor whose vibe I really liked, so I asked him where was his private practice and if I could come see him.
In September, I finally visited the doctor and confronting my issues head on. The problem that took priority was having no periods for over 6 months. The most you should go is 3. The reason for this is if the lining of your womb keeps building up and never shedding , you’re at an increased risk for womb cancer (endometrial cancer). Of course- I knew this. We had a discussion on how I wanted to induce my periods, did I want to induce them every 3 months or go back on oral contraceptives. I decided to induce my period and went on Provera 10 mg twice a day for 14 days- a progesterone. The hormone that helps the lining of the uterus shed (oestrogen helps to build it up and I have a lot of that).
I documented the entire experience on my twitter. If I’m completely honest, it was a painful experience that I don’t think I want to do again. The bleeding was heavy for most of the time and I had days when the pain was unbearable and it felt like “elves scraping my womb”. With the pills I had migraines everyday and I wondered if it was worth it. When I go back to my doctor with results for my tests in hand (to confirm my diagnosis) I will discuss my other options. I figure I might as well go back on oral contraceptives since I can get them over the counter and it regulates and improves my period experience as well as prevents me from getting pregnant.
Our bodies speak to us, and we need to listen, especially when we deviate from the norm. Your periods can clue you into your reproductive health and fertility possibilities. For us as women it is important to have a comfortable relationship with out gynaecologists so that we can have frank discussions about our bodies and what we want. If you suffer from painful periods, heavy periods, frequent periods, irregular periods or any other abnormality in your period and/ or deviation from your norm pay your gynaecologist a visit.
Periods can suck, but they are important. Always make yourself and your health a priority.
Samantha C. Johnson