A while ago I participated in a blogging project for You Are Loved where I blogged about women’s health issues and specifically about TSS. You Are Loved is a great non-profit that deals with teaching women and young girls about menstruation. They are a great resource for families that are seeking help for young women starting puberty. In particular they have been doing a lot work recently related to helping girls with special needs that are entering puberty.
Additionally they discuss women’s issues on twitter. This past weekend one of the questions asked by You are Loved was about heavy menstrual flow. This started a discussion and I was asked to share my story on my blog. And I said sure, anything to help other women that may face a similar issue.
First of all I love the fact that You Are Loved is trying to keep an open dialogue between women about their menstruation. It is so important for health reasons but I have also been guilty of not discussing these issues amongst my women friends. Of course that is probably because I do not discuss much of anything amongst my women friends. What I do know is that what is normal for one woman may not be normal for another woman. If you think you are having an issue please contact a physician. I wish I had gone to the physician sooner but I was embarrassed to go discuss my issues. I am okay now but I could have been okay sooner!
A few years ago I noticed that my “Aunt Flo” changed. Remember that from like college or younger? We didn’t even want to say period, it was Aunt Flo. So my Aunt Flo started getting heavier and heavier. Which was really quite awful, I mean who was given her cake and stuff? Okay bad joke but wanted to try to make light of this topic. It really is okay for us girls to talk about this. In fact it is important for our health!
So as I wrote about in my previous post what products a woman uses is really a personal choice. I made my choice of tampons due to comfort issues although there are many more safer options. (go check out You Are Loved to get info). I always bought the same brand and used the same absorbancy depending on which day (heavy vs. light) single month. I also of course knew how often I needed to change said product. So for me it was rather noticeable when I had to start changing product more frequently.
About 3 years ago it became very noticeable that I had gone from changing every 5 hours to needing to change every 2 hours 1-2 days on the heaviest day every month. This was extremely annoying for so many reasons. I am a busy person and I quite frankly found the monthly period a nuisance. But I managed just as most women do I suppose. I didn’t tell anyone about my flow changing and I just brushed it off as a change with my age or stress level.
Then in late 2010 it became really bad. Quite unbearable actually. One day I changed my product and had planned to go to the store. I sat down to write a list and felt liquid like my water broke or something. Nope, wasn’t water that went everywhere. I will save you the mental picture but I was really glad I had not left the house yet!! That prompted me to make an appointment!
I had heard of an endometrial ablation (surgery removing the uterus lining) before so as I normally do I went in and declared to the doctor that was what I needed. Of course the doctor made me undergo some tests to make sure nothing serious was going on. Those few months were horrible for many reasons.
1) They did an ultrasound and found abnormal thickening. I had no idea what that meant but they said they needed to do a biopsy. Biopsy usually means looking for cancer. Awesome. Luckily it wasn’t cancer, only abnormal hormone levels, but that whole thing was not a pleasant experience. I do not wish it on anyone and have a great deal of empathy for anyone who says they are getting a biopsy done.
2) The issues continued and there wasn’t much that I could do about it. I was using multiple types of product and staying home when I could. I tried to be prepared but one time I had an unexpected issue in a co-workers office. It is truly awful to feel that huge rush of fluid and not even be expecting your “Aunt Flo” to be visiting that day. Thank goodness the co-worker was female and it did not get on her furniture. I went home early that day!
Once all of the tests were completed I was cleared for an ablation. This was great but it was April or May by this time. I don’t remember when I was exactly cleared, only that it was during the school year and no breaks until summer. Typical mom, especially a special needs mom, I said no to having surgery at that time. I just couldn’t picture having surgery while he was still in school.
I had to wait until July because he ended up having surgery in June. In some ways this worked out since he was more comfortable with me having surgery after just having his own.
Anyways the surgery was completely without incident. I went in early that morning and was in my husband’s car answering work emails by 11:30 AM. Some of my co-workers still have some of my emails as they were quite entertaining.
It did take about a week to fully recover from the surgery. I have to completely give my son credit for not asking me for much and even helping me at times. I am not sure where that kid went but at least I know he is there when he needs to be. And his insomnia issues came in handy when I was unable to sleep or needed something in the middle of the night.
Now, 7 months later I am living a much better life. Out of the past 7 months I have only had 2 months where I had any kind of visit by Aunt Flo. And she just kinda waved and left before I even realized she had visited. I am very glad that I had the surgery and I wish that I had gone to talk to a physician sooner.
I can’t stress this enough! I know we all get embarrassed to discuss private things or have difficulty explaining what is going on. I wasn’t sure if normal or not and kept thinking it wasn’t a problem. But sometimes the doctor can really be helpful and make a problem go away!!