I started my period at a much older age than my peers, I was a sophomore in high school. I hated it, I hated seeing my friends developing into their womanly bodies while I sat there very underdeveloped. My confidence was a little low, and I wished that I could be like my girlfriends. Now, I deeply regret ever wishing for this bitch to arrive.
When I did finally get my monthly visitor I hated life, as I got older it seem to only get worse and worse, and once I started working I ran into big issues. The worst day of my period was the first day. I couldn’t stand, I felt nauseous, and no amount of medication made the pain stop. To make matters worse, I was irregular and had ZERO signs that my period was coming. If I got my period on a day I had to work, I would usually call in sick or asked to leave. This does not make you a very beneficially employee, and big companies don’t care if you don’t feel well, they care about themselves.
After many, many months of somehow avoiding being fired, I decided enough was enough, I needed birth control to help regulate my period and control the pain. The next issue I faced was living in a Pre-Obama world where I was removed from my parents insurance upon reaching 18, and I worked a part-time job with poor hours, very little pay, and no health insurance benefits provided. That is when I looked to Planned Parenthood (PP).
Planned Parenthood saved me when they provided me birth control, at no cost to me.
Over the years I tried a variety of birth control pills, each one can having different effects on my body, and I needed to find the perfect one. Eventually I found one that I liked, I took this same pill for many years with no negative side effects (Microgestin). Eventually my period stopped all together, and it picked the worst time in my life to do it. I was in the process of starting a new job, having my boyfriend cheat on me with his married receptionist, finding a roommate and moving, so I chalked it up to stress after many pregnancy tests were negative (thank God!). After things settled down my period still hadn’t returned, and I decided to stop my birth control for a few months.
I had many friends tell me as they got older their period calmed down and they no longer relied on birth control, mine was the exact opposite. Once I stopped, that bitch came back with a vengeance, so I visited my local PP for help. They told me the brand of birth control I had is known to stop your period all together, that felt weird for me, so I opted for a different brand but quickly discovered I needed Microgestin back. It was the best one to relieve my pain (probably because it eliminated the cause). I continued living my wonderful period free life until 2015-2016 when I was suffering many health issues. One health issue that carried on for months was my energy, I was always tired, I could barely focus, I almost fell asleep while at a stop light, and once passed out for 12+ hours. Blood tests came back normal, doctors told me to up my exercise (because more exercise=more energy). I decided to take a look at my medications on top of it and make cuts.
Micogestin is a combo birth control pill that contains estrogen and progestin, my research of these two hormones lead me to something called: “Estrogen Dominance”. When these hormones in our bodies aren’t balanced this issue can occur, and one of the symptoms I read was fatigue. After reading this (and the other scary side effects of estrogen) I decided to test this theory out and I stopped my birth control. Just like the last time I quit my period returned angry AF, and I needed to find something else. I decided to go with a progestin only birth control to test it out, but after reading how important it is to be consistent in taking your pill (progestin needs to be taken every day at the same time or else you risk pregnancy), and receiving positive reviews from a friend, I opted for an IUD (progestin only, and no way you can forget a dose). I discussed this plan with my doctor, and due to my severe period cramps we avoided ParaGuard (no hormones, will not help cramps), and went with Mirena (the same IUD my friend gave me great reviews on). It has been over a year since I had my IUD put into place, and I’ve hated every minute of it….
A Little Further in the Middle
Since having my IUD put in I’ve run into a few issues (mostly user error). First IUD’s and menstrual cups don’t always mix, which I discovered about 2 months after placement. It was brutal and required a trip to urgent care, so I recommend using caution with cups when you have a period. However urgent care couldn’t replace it, and I had to wait a month for an appointment for replacement (and we know by now this bitch isn’t nice to me). Luckily PP took my insurance and was able to help me quicker.
However, since having my IUD replaced in October 2016 I’ve noticed other changes and side effects I am not happy with.
- I frequently have cramps, and more than half the time I am not even having a period. These cramps can vary in intensity, from slight annoyance to severe, and they make it hard for me know if I am getting a period or not.
- I have reverted back to being irregular, most months I skip my period entirely, but every once in awhile it appears (and those pesky cramps faking me out don’t help). I always have to be prepared for the unexpected, which reminds me a lot of when I was younger.
- When I do get my period I still have some pretty bad cramps, it doesn’t seem to relieve the pain as much as other forms of birth control have for me.
- I’ve gained about 30 lbs. since I had my IUD put it, and no matter how hard I try it is impossible to lose even 1 lb. I’ve greatly increased my exercise levels compared to before the IUD, and have made changes to my eating habits (like cutting out certain food I ate too much of), still can’t lose any weight. This weight issue may be the cause of the next issue, which is….
- I had an increase in my breast size. Within the year I noticed my bra wasn’t fitting as well as before, I went from being measured at C cup to DD cup. While most girls want bigger breast, I do not.
It’s hard to know if all of my current changes/issues are caused by the IUD or other issues (like just getting older), but the changes did start after it was placed. I’ve decided to give it more time, I don’t want to return to the painful monthly periods like all the other times, and I’ve got another 3-1/2 more years to go. My husband and I are not in the position to have children right now, nor would we want to have children if we were (we’re perfectly content with our furry children). I not going to risk the return of my painful cramps for any reason other than to start a family, unless I can be prescribed pain medication to relieve that pain, but that is just replacing one problem with another.
I wanted to write this post to be open with everyone, I know there could be someone having similar problems, and I wanted to say to you that you are not alone in this problem. No one is, there is always someone out there with a struggle or a journey that is similar to your own, and you should never be afraid to discuss it!