“I had years of bad periods and pain. Almost every month, I had to take a few days off school. Doctors kept telling me that I just had to put up with the pain, that it was normal and that I should get used to it!
My consultant even told me when I was 18 that I should just have a baby because that would make the period pain calm down!!!!! This wasn’t an option because I wanted to go to college, I wanted to go to university and more than anything… I just wanted to lead a normal life!
So I carried on pushing and asking for help and seeing my doctors. Eventually I was diagnosed with something called endometriosis. This was scary but a huge relief too! Finally, I realised that what I was going through wasn’t normal, it has a name… and girls across the country are going through the same thing!
If you are going through the same thing as I have, then I can offer only one piece of advice… don’t give up!”
“I started my first period at thirteen years old. My symptoms came on straight away. These were very heavy bleeding, blood clots, and extreme pain. These began at the end of Year Nine, by Year Ten I was struggling so much due to being ill. I ended up having a lot of time off school. When I eventually went back I had no friends, I was so behind, and was still trying to cope with being ill.
I could not manage full weeks at school. When I was there I used to leak through my sanitary pads onto my underwear and clothes. My school had a rule you weren’t allowed the toilet in lessons and I had to get my mum to come in to explain and then get a note from my Head of Year, and even then I looked so different to other students, as I was the only who was allowed to go to the toilet, once again making me different and isolated.
My GCSE’s were also affected; I sat one late and all my grades dropped as a result of living with this condition that I knew nothing about.
From my first period, my life changed and I quickly had to get used to it. I was so alone and felt like nobody knew what I was going through, I even started to worry that maybe it was all just in my head!
As the years went by my symptoms got progressively worse. College was hard and I had to put so much more effort in than others just to get through the day. I went back to the doctors time and again but nothing changed.
After much struggling, I was diagnosed with something called endometriosis. It wasn’t nice to hear but it was good to finally know that people believed me and that there was a reason for my pain. Now, I am finally listening to my body, have a doctor I trust, and have decide my own treatment plan. I am trying different courses of medicine and am following a nutritionist’s eating plan and feel the best I ever have.
My advice to young girls going though what I did is simple… don’t give up!
You know that you are ill and you know that it is not all just in your head. Keep going to your doctors, keep pestering and keep demanding to be listened to.”
Melissa, aged 20
Most girls have some pain and discomfort, leading up to, during and after their period. This is normal. In fact, the NHS says that 3 in 4 women of young women experience strong period pains. But the pain should not be so intense that you cannot still get up, go to school or college and carry on with your normal life. If it is then you should speak to somebody.
You might also experience what’s known as ‘heavy bleeding’. This is normal as your body gets used to the menstrual cycle. But it is not normal for periods to ALWAYS be really, really heavy. Again, if they are then speak to somebody.
During their periods, many girls find hot water bottles help.
Simple measures can help with period pains. This include gentle exercise, drinking plenty of water, eat a healthy diet and avoid constipation. A hot water bottle or a warm bath can also help. Over-the-counter remedies such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are also very useful.
What is a period?
Every woman goes through something called the menstrual cycle, every month. It can be scary and confusing as your body changes but don’t worry… you are not on your own.
Puberty starts in most girls at about the age of 10 and means that you start to develop breasts and grow hair in your armpits and pubic area.
Periods start towards the end of puberty when breast and hair growth is almost finished. A period is when a girl bleeds from her vagina for a few days. This usually happens once a month.The most common age for periods to start is between the age of 12 and 13. However anywhere between 10 and 16 can be normal.
A ‘normal period’ lasts anywhere from a couple of days to a week. Every girl will bleed different amounts. During the heaviest part of your period, you will probably need to change your tampon (or towel) every 3 to 4 hours.
Feeling moody? Emotional?
You’re not the only one! Most girls do (feel moody or emotional) on the run-up to their periods. This is to do with your hormone levels changing.
Heavy Periods? Periods lasting longer than a few days?
For the first few years your period might last a bit longer than a few days. And it might happen more or less often than once a month. As your hormones settle down and your body gets used to it, it will start to get into more of a pattern.
But… that’s not always the case…
Are you worried about your periods? Don’t know what to expect? Worried that what you are going through might not be normal.
Welcome to our blog, run by Endometriosis UK, where you can find all the latest information on what happens during your period, we’ll be busting the myths and giving you the facts, without the scare stories.