The Hormone Diaries Part One: Periods

Periods, pills, implants, cramps, injections, coils, mood swings… Us girls have to deal with a lot of crap from our bodies every month. I have personally struggled a lot when it comes to controlling my periods, ensuring I’m protected and generally not being an absolute bitch when Aunty Flo decides to make an appearance.

I am starting this series is to try and normalise discussions amongst women and break the taboo. We’re going to talk about everything from periods to contraceptives, from sexuality to masturbation. I think it’s really important that young girls are not just biologically educated, but have a bit of life experience to refer to. It can be really lonely when you are younger if you are not experiencing what is considered to be normal.

So here I am, probably being a bit TMI, in the hope that someone out there will read this and know that they are not alone.

Yellow tampon wrapper and non-applicator tampon on wood floor with text overlay "The Hormone Diaries Part One: Periods"

Let’s start at the very beginning. I started my period age 11, towards the end of my final year in primary school. I was the first of my friends to get my period and I can remember feeling weirdly excited. To me, getting my period was this big life event where I was beginning to become a woman, and naive 11 year old me was excited for that.

As with most women, my periods began very irregular and heavy. Bearing in mind I was very petite and slim as a child, I used to feel really quite ill when I was on. I would feel sick, light-headed, dizzy, fatigued. I still think I may have possibly been anaemic, although this was never diagnosed. As I got older, I was assured that they would calm down, become regular and more manageable, but this didn’t happen.

Throughout high school, I was back and forth to the doctors trying to find some sort of remedy for what I can only describe as Niagara Falls. My periods were long and heavy, usually lasting more than 2 weeks with little break in between. I was in pain, I was miserable and I was fed up of not being “normal”. I tried changes in my diet, using different sanitary options and herbal remedies and nothing made a difference.

I feel at this point in my story it is important to share that leaks do happen. I’m not exaggerating when I say that my periods were unmanageable and that I would be in and out of the loo every hour trying to avoid the inevitable. If you are experiencing anything similar to what you are reading, please PLEASE go and see your doctor. I know it’s a bit embarrassing and awkward, but I can assure you that your doctor will have seen a lot worse than whatever you have got going on down there!

Period Blood Colours and Textures Infographic Chart

Image source

By the time I was 16, I had learnt ways to cope. I would double up on sanitary items, making sure I always had many extras in my bag just in case. If I stayed over at people’s houses, I took a spare of everything in case I had a leak. I was more open with my friends about what I was experiencing so they knew how to help me and to support me if something did go wrong. I wasn’t fixed, but I was mentally coping with my period a lot better.

Thankfully, my periods have evolved and calmed slightly as I have got older. I’m still irregular as hell, and I do still struggle mentally with them, but it’s a lot better than it used to be.

I’ve really struggled to think of how to end this post, but ultimately I am hoping that by me being so open with you all and discussing what I have been through, it may encourage others to also speak out, or reassure you that you are not alone it what you are experiencing. Although I am still figuring out what is best for me (which I will discuss in a later post), I urge anyone who is having heavy, irregular or painful periods to open up to someone. The more we all talk about this natural process of the female body, the less embarrassing and awkward it gets!

 

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Comments

  1. lolitambonita says

    It’s annoying that topics that are so natural are seen as taboo and no one wants to talk about them! So, well done you!

  2. Natalie Hanson says

    I cannot wait to read the rest of this series. I’ve thought about doing something similar myself for a while now especially after my experience with different contraceptions but never had the confidence to share it. Great post!

    Nat x

  3. Chloe says

    I love that you decided to take action and talk about something that definitely needs to be more openly discussed in our society! I’m also so happy you pointed out that leaks do happen! Untill I started taking the pill leaks were a regular part of my periods and they’re nothing to be embarrassed about! Looking forward to reading your future posts.

    Chloe x

  4. Completely Chelsea Lifestyle Blog says

    GIRL! yes! I am here for this! We all have periods and my god, it’s ok to talk about it! Mine are terrible. They’ve actually gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. Not so much flow, but insane pain (and I also become an insane asshole). The more we talk about it and that for some of it’s actually truly awful, the more we normalize it and more attention is paid by physicians! Look forward to the next post! 💕
    Xo Chelsea | https://completelychelsea.com/

  5. Elin says

    Love the idea of this series, topics like this need to be talked about more! Can’t wait to read more posts like this. Great post as always lovely xx

  6. Sarah Beane says

    It’s still mind boggling that in 2018, a natural process that 50% of the world’s population goes through is still so misunderstood. Periods shouldn’t be ‘mysterious’ and I think simple diagrams like these would be such a help for young women, especially when they first start. Actually, we should be showing this to guys as well!

  7. lucymarytaylor says

    Well done you for talking about a subject that is considered as taboo on the internet! That diagram can help so many girls, especially if they think something abnormal is happening during their periods, great post! x

    Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk

  8. MJ says

    Glad you tackled this topic. It’s crazy how weird people get when it is brought up, but I like that you still did it anyway! Need more outlets like this! Great post✨

  9. debbiehipster says

    I have always suffered with periods, until finally a doctor put me on menafenic acid and tranexamic acid tablets, these help with pain and flow. Along with my faithful hot water bottle too

  10. The diary of Ellie says

    I think i started my period when i was in year 8, so maybe like when i was 13?? but my periods used to be ok, they’d last for a week, never too heavy and only mild pains that was fixed with feminax and then when i got to about the age of 17 they got SO heavy, unbareable painful and i’d nearly pass out from the pain, i went to my doctor who was unsympathetic at all and told me to chill out they’ll settle soon because im still so young but he just wouldnt understand that they’ve always been regular but they’ve sudden spiked in the heaviness and pain, he prescribed me some stornger painkillers and tablets to cut down the blood but literally they’ve only helped a little bit. I think periods are THE WORST but we need to start talking about them more x

    • whatabigailsays says

      I’m no doctor but any changes, especially as dramatic as that, should definitely be taken seriously! Is there a gynaecologist or sexual health doctor you could speak to if you are still having issues?

  11. Ruth says

    Love your honesty, and it’s great to see someone talking so openly about this! It’s frustrating that something which is a natural part of life is so hard to talk about openly without people freaking out.

    Sorry to hear you struggled so much when you were younger, but I’m glad to hear they’ve calmed down now. Awesome post, and I’m looking forward to more in the series!

  12. Lauren Brooker says

    This is such a helpful post! That graphic you shared about the different types and colours of blood was really helpful. It definitely taught me so much. I think it’s so good that you’re raising awareness for periods and sharing your story. It may sound a little weird, but period chats are some my favourites because it’s something we all go through and it can provide the greatest comfort when we share our experiences with each other. It definitely helps to talk about these things and take away some of the stigma. Amazing post xx

    Lauren | itslaurenvictoria.co.uk

    • whatabigailsays says

      Thank you so much! It’s not weird at all, I’m exactly the same. The more we talk, the less awkward it gets and the more we all begin to feel more comfortable in our biology (hopefully!)

  13. jennyinneverland says

    I really liked the textures chart! I started my periods fairly young, I was still in primary school but thankfully I was so curious about them that I’d asked my Mum every question under the sun about them, so I kinda knew what it was when it happened. I even remember questioning her in Sainsbury’s car park (I got a bit obsessed haha!) I’ve not had anything spectacular happen with my periods. They’ve been fairly heavy at times but not TOO heavy. I’ve had bad cramps but they’ve always been fairly short, which was always good. I’ve been on two pills, the combined one in the past and now I’m currently on the mini pill so I haven’t had a period in about 2 years and that pill is working fine for me at the moment 🙂 xxx

    • whatabigailsays says

      I was the same! I remember hearing some older girls at school talking about it and asking my Mum and she was incredibly open and honest with me from a young age which I think has definitely helped me be confident in talking about it. Ah you are very lucky! I’m still struggling with mine but have a few options left which I will no doubt write about in later instalments of the series!

  14. Mykki says

    Oh man, dealing with menstruating gets even weirder when you don’t identity as a girl/women and still have to deal with your uterus doing it’s monthly thing….

    Periods are wild and I think everyone, regardless of sex or gender, should be educated on them! Thanks for posting about this topic.

  15. Shelby (@ItsShelbyMariee) says

    I had the same problems at the age of 11 as you did! I was incredibly heavy, which made me so weak and I physically could not move during my period – all I could do was curled up in a ball until the pain went away itself. Many people assumed that I also had anaemia, so I did go for some blood tests and the results came back saying I wasn’t anaemic – I’m just a pale girl through and through!

  16. thiscurviyogi says

    Glad you were able to talk about this! Many of us have the same story or a different experience and it shouldn’t be taboo at all. Its natural!

  17. honestlyholly23 says

    Unfortunately it doesn’t get better for some of us. I refuse to take contraceptives as A) they’re not good for my mental health and B) I’m in a relationship with a girl so no need. My periods are very heavy and very painful every month without fail. But that only lasts 2 or 3 days. Then it’s all over pretty quickly. I’ve just accepted it and grin and bear it and hope that the joy of motherhood will make it all worth it when the time comes!

    • whatabigailsays says

      Oh gosh I’m sorry to hear that. You’re not alone though, I’m still having reoccurring issues with long-ass periods (over 8 weeks most of the time) with seemingly no medical cause. It’s incredibly frustrating!

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