Saturday, 15 April 2017

Reproductive health | Living with menorrhagia

So what does menorrhagia mean, then? It's abnormally heavy periods, and I've had them for a number of years. I've been on treatment for the last 6 months and those 5 days each month are so much better now.

Before treatment I would:

Soak through a max flow night time towel in 1-2 hours and soak through my clothes/bedsheets
Get through at least two packets of towels and 2 boxes of Feminax per period (plus other painkillers)
Get up off the toilet after a wee and have blood running down my legs and splashing on the floor
Have huge black blood clots
Have stabbing pains in my vagina and bum and evil burning pains over my left ovary



The pain was awful - the kind of pain that makes you sweat and shake. Sometimes I'd lie awake at night crying in pain, or I'd take a bunch of painkillers in the afternoon or early evening to knock me out. James would tuck me in on the sofa and I felt safe knowing he was awake in case I stopped breathing. These are not considerations a person should have to make when on their period! I'd often feel weak and anaemic from blood loss. Generally, it was effing awful.

There are a couple of reasons why my periods are so awful. Firstly I have thyroid disease and that makes your period difficult full stop. Secondly, when I had my second ectopic pregnancy in 2011 they had to remove my ruptured fallopian tube as I was bleeding to death. Ever since then my periods have been even more awful. I've had ovarian cysts on and off since 2011, probably exacerbated by the surgery. The biggest of my cysts was measured at 15cm long at one point - that's six bloody inches! I don't currently have any cysts (at least I didn't the last time I was scanned) but I do have a huge amount of fluid trapped in my abdomen. Because the fluid itself isn't causing any pain my consultant doesn't recommend surgery to drain it, so the permanently pregnant look is my cross to bear.

It's sad it took a specialist to order a trans vaginal ultrasound for them to believe that my periods were that bad. Now a doctor has seen a scan of my innards and knows the area around my left ovary looks like a war zone I'm finally medicated! I'm taking Mefenamic acid, Tranexamic acid and Lansoprazole. Mefanamic acid is a painkiller and Tranexamic acid reduces blood flow. Lansoprazole is taken as a preventative measure because Mefanamic acid can cause stomach ulcers. 

Occasionally I still need to top up the Mefenamic acid with another painkiller, but the difference in my pain levels is like day and night. I get through less than a packet of towels now and less than a box of painkillers each period. Days 1-3 are still painful, but certainly not enough to trap me in bed. Days 4-5 are very light. I occasionally get some bad ovary pain as my period ends, but I've gone from spending a couple of days in bed in agony each month (with a hot water bottle between my legs and a wheat bag on my tummy) to what I would call a normal period, where I can actually walk without it feeling like someone is knifing me in the minge. This is marvellous! It's a shame it took for me to be referred to a specialist for someone to believe my periods are hell, but better late than never. It just proves that womb-owners still aren't to be believed about their periods - it has to take a doctor to see evidence on a scan that your periods are hellish before they hand over the magic tablets to cure it.

You know your body best - you live in it all the time! If at first you don't succeed in getting help (with any kind of medical problem) do persist.

Thanks for reading. Leah xoxo

4 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry to hear you've been through all of this. I have PMS and for over 10 years have had my periods stopped because the heavy bleeding, stabbing pain, emotions and everything else that comes with it made 2 weeks of every month unbearable. Like you, it took a referral to a specialist and scans to be taken seriously. To try for a baby, I've had to stop the hormone injections. It's not exaggeration to say that it's been a living hell. Many people don't understand just how debilitating periods can be, and jokes made about PMS really don't help. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Xx

    Tania | When Tania Talks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry to hear you're suffering Tania. I'm sending you lots of baby dust! I used to joke that coming on my period was a relief after all the fatigue, mood swings and everything else. Like you, my periods ruined half the month. xx

      Delete
  2. It's so true about womb owners not being believed about them. My life was hell until I finally had a Mirena coil fitted, so no more periods, and a lot less pain. Drs told me that it's impossible to pass out with pain, until I managed to do it in the surgery, and that made them suddenly take notice. My bestie had to have a hysterectomy because of terrible periods and a myoma the size of a grapefruit. Her gyno kept telling her she was a wimp, until she was in surgery and he saw the extent of her problems. Apparently he apologised at least, so maybe there's hope! I mean, we know what's going on, how about listening to us?!?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sucks that most gynaes are men because women's lived experience will never stand up to medical mansplaining. I'm just glad my issues show up on scans or else I'd still be disbelieved and in unbearable pain. I'm glad you're doing better now you've had the Mirena coil fitted. I know lots of other womb owners who've spent years trying to get help. It really sucks.

      Delete

Pinterest Hover Button

Blogger Template Created by pipdig