Heavy Flow: Sophie, 41

IN This series WE WILL BE SHARING OUR READERS SUBMISSIONS ON HEAVY PERIODS. OUR AIM IS HIGHLIGHT THE EXPERIENCES AND SITUATIONS OF THOSE WHO HAVE HEAVY FLOWS (MENORRHAGIA)
THIS WEEK Sophie Shares her experience of how heavy periods can get in the way of everyday events, as well as much more joyous occasions, which led to her eventual diagnosis of Fibroids. Sophie also details her early struggles with period poverty.
Entry into Womanhood 

My first period, I was 11-12. I sat on the toilet, looked down and saw Red – I screamed. My dad, mum, sister and cousins all came at the door. My mum took me aside and very gently, explained the process of womanhood and suggested for me not to freak out. From then, I have always had heavy and painful periods. It has not ceased and over the past three years it has worsened.

toilet period

Illustration by: CELINA PARENTE

Night and Day 

The second and third night of my period, I wake up every 3 hours to change. This is despite the super plus tampon and night pad. If i fail to do so, the blood streams through to my mattress. To avoid this, my mind wakes me – usually from a dream where I’m drowning or being surrounded by a large body of water, and to the bathroom I go.

In the daytime, as a social worker, I visit service users in their home. I try to stay in the office during the first 3 days, but it’s not always possible. I have had what I call ‘incidents’. I have also sat in heated meetings, hoping there will not be a blood stain on the chair once I stand up.

Three years ago, I went on a camping trip. As I got on to the Eurostar, my period came early. I have memories of going for breakfast with my bloodstained PJs on, I wore my jumper around my waist to disguise the stains. That was a wake up call and decided to see my GP about it.

I was diagnosed with Fibroids, I am informed that  1 in 3 women develop this condition throughout their lifespan. I was prescribed Mefenamic Acid mainly to lower blood loss – it worked partially.

compare-uf_fibroids-101_types_12oct2015

There was another occasion, last year when one of my best friends got married. When I received the wedding invite, the first thought,as always was, ‘I hope I won’t be on’. Thankfully I was not. It was not so much the logistics of being near toilet facilities that was anxiety provoking. It was the prospect of being bloated and having to reconsider outfit choices.

Creativity in Poverty 

The biggest impact my heavy periods have had on my lifestyle was when I could not afford sanitary products. Those were the days I was stealing toilet paper from work – I was so broke. I was ashamed, I wished I could have disappeared from planet earth.

On reflection, I recognise that us woman are a creative bunch when it comes to our period and how not to draw attention to it.

I look back on my experiences and have thoughts of having a YouTube channel tutorial on DIY period items to support women, who like I once did,  experience period poverty.

period poverty

Illustration by: Emma Evelyn Speight

 

Have you ever experienced Period Poverty? Or Fibroids? If so, let us know in the comment sections, how you have managed such conditions.

Why not check out Adanna and Charmaine’s experience of Heavy Periods.

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