Let’s talk periods. Before we begin, this post may be TMI for some of you, but I always pride myself in being open with you guys, and that’s what you’ll always get. If you suffer from PMS, know that you are not alone. Stick with me until the end and you’ll see why.
After coming off ‘the pill’ and quite frankly living with what can only be described as PMS hell, it’s time I shared my period woes and we chat periods, pills and pain together. Because let’s face it – most of us on the planet get our monthly visitor, so why should it be such a taboo/ hiding tampon up sleeve topic? We’ve all done that right? Ha. Plus, I want to let you in to my period pal. If you experience or have experienced period pain or know a friend who does – read on.
When I was younger I didn’t really chat about my period, I just sort of got on with it – the same went for the contraceptive pill. But here’s the thing, from what I’ve found, a large number of women struggle with period related problems – be it their lack of, excruciating stomach cramps or crazy mood swings/ cravings, we’ve all been there and experienced period drama at some point in our lives. Plus, with a lot of women using contraceptive methods along side our monthly cycle – these really should be topics that we are talking about, openly discussing and helping each other out.
In brief, my period started on a plane journey back from Paris – not ideal, and after the old toilet paper trick, my monthly cycles have been pretty regular ever since. Sounds normal so far right? In my teenage years I experienced really bad stomach cramps that would leave me crippled on the floor, I remember laying on my back in France thinking this surely can’t be a blessing – at that age I didn’t see it that way – but then at about the age of 17 – which feels like a decade ago – oh wait, it actually is ha – I went on the contraceptive pill.
By the way, l just want to point out that nothing within this post should be taken as medical advise and you should always speak with your GP and/or health professional before making any changes. Everybody and every body is different with individual needs. I am simply about to share what has worked for me.
I‘m extremely ‘pro’ contraceptives. I started on a pill called ‘microgynon’ – enter crazy mood swings – did anyone else get these? Due to this, I very swiftly moved on to using ‘Cilest’ which worked well for me. After practically being on ‘the pill’ for 9 years straight I wanted to make a change. Looking back I realise that the pill in fact made my periods a tiny bit lighter and reduced my PMS, not that I noticed it at the time, and with a few Feminex tablets, I was usually able to shake it off and go about my dancing day – for those of you who didn’t know, you guessed it, I trained in musical theatre.
18 months ago though everything changed. Due to various reasons, I decided that I no longer wanted to be on ‘the pill’. I no longer wanted to be putting additional hormones inside my body and I wanted my cycle to settle back in to a natural groove. After being concerned about if my cycle would remain regular, I was pleased to see that it did but one thing changed drastically. The pain.
Warning: Brace yourself for TMI. Since coming off the pill, every glorious time of the month I would be in a world of pain – to the point that I’d be feeling sick heeving over the toilet, have loose bowels (that’s the nicest way I can put it ha), be crippled by stomach cramps when the only thing to reduce the pain was to lay on my back with my legs in the air and even then it didn’t subside, and on several occasions I fainted. Flat out fainted and would have to crawl up the stairs to toss and turn in bed in fear of falling over again. I put up with this for what felt like forever, thinking that this must be normal, I’d been on the pill for so many years that I’d forgotten about my pre-pill periods. But after 6 months plus I decided that enough was enough, I needed to seek help. I questioned whether my symptoms were normal, and if I was due to come on, I’d have to plan to be at home rather than at meetings – it was safe to say that it was effecting my life.
After speaking with several GP’s and getting told various different things – one of which I strongly disagreed with, a chap that told me “that’s life” – I’m sorry?! I still didn’t have an answer and I was adamant that I wanted to delve deeper. Plus thinking forwards, it did cross my mind if everything down there was in good order if I ever wanted for us to try to have a family of our own. After having blood tests, visits to the gynaecologist and a ultrasound scan, I was able to rule out PCOS, my ultrasound showed no cysts, but I still didn’t have an answer as to why I was fainting or experiencing pain like never before, and the only way to truly know it if it endometriosis is for me to have laparoscopy surgery – which I’m concerned about having and weighing up right now.
Alongside my tests, I decided to take more action of my own, and I’m extremely grateful for having such an incredible local health store run by a Functional Medicine Practioner, who after chatting all about my period symptoms with advised that I try taking Pukka’s Wholistic Shatavari – you’re probably going, “you what?” right now. I was the same. I’d never heard of Shatavari root extract said to ‘help maintain feminime rhythm’. Put simply: balance out your hormones. I’m not going to lie – I was sceptical. A pill made from roots to reduce my pain? You can’t be serious. But after I weighed up my options, I decided it was worth a shot.
To my surprise, and with my absolute delight, after 3 months of taking this root based capsule daily, my symptoms reduced! Okay, they haven’t vanished, but there’s been no fainting, puking or toileting, so I’m taking that as a win!
It’s been a long journey to get to this blog post, but I don’t think that any woman should suffer in silence, and I really hope that by sharing this I encourage even just one of you PMS badass women out there seek help from a professional.
Have any of you experienced period problems? Struggled to find a pill to suit you? Or even had similar PMS symptoms to mine? I’d love to hear your tales, and if you have any remedies you want to share that have worked for you, then please do leave me a comment below as I’d love to hear from you.
Let’s face it, we’re gonna be having periods for years to come ladies, so why not make them that little bit brighter!
Lots of love x