Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and Hologic and have received compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.
Heavy periods are a little bit like climate change. They both start off with the occasional light surge, become worse so gradually you hardly notice, and before you know it heavy floods are the new normal. Of course, climate change doesn’t cause you to stay home sitting on a towel for several days a month, or to quake in fear at the sight of an off-white leather couch, but you get the idea.
It was sometime after the birth of our youngest daughter that I went to my doctor, not to talk about heavy periods but because I was becoming increasingly exhausted. Not the tired you feel at the end of a busy day, but the deep-rooted feels like I can hardly move my body, totally debilitating and barely able to function condition that goes way beyond word exhaustion.
After a few tests I was told I was severely anemic and began taking enough iron supplements to support an entire tribe of washed out moms, but to no avail. Then the subject of Aunt Flow’s monthly visit came up.
Once we got to talking about periods, I discovered I was one of the 20% of Canadian women who experience heavy periods, medically known as menorrhagia, an entirely treatable condition, also known as heavy menstrual bleeding. It had crept up on me so slowly I hadn’t even considered it as a factor in my anemia and exhaustion. Changing a pad every hour had become my new normal, as had staying in the house for ten days out of thirty and timing my chores around when I would have to run to the bathroom.
Did you know that heavy periods can be caused by many things? You might have polyps or fibroids, a change in hormonal balance or even an infection, but sometimes, as in my case, no particular cause can be found. My doctor sent me off to the OBGYN, and we talked about symptoms. I had none, other than enough blood and clots once a month to provide the special effects for a dozen gory horror movies.
We discussed my options, which included hormone treatments, an IUD, or what’s called an endometrial ablation. The first two options are best if you want to have more children because you should not become pregnant after an endometrial ablation, but I had already been sterilized during my last C-section so the ablation was a good option for me.
Within a couple of weeks, I was booked in for a simple procedure at our local hospital. Admitted at 7 am, a five-minute operation and back to the recovery ward, I was conscious, making as much sense I as might normally, and on my way home again by 11 am. For me it was painless, and although I was told to take it easy for the first 24 hours, I have five kids so that wasn’t going to happen. I did get to milk it for a little sympathy though and spent an entire seven minutes on the sofa with my feet up before having to commence mom duties.
The results vary from woman to woman with most, apparently having much lighter periods and some having no periods at all. If you are lucky enough to wave goodbye to your monthly tsunami fabulous! Not once since the procedure have, I had to choose my clothes per how embarrassing it would be if I flooded while wearing them. No more filling the shopping cart with enough sanitary protection to hold back a gushing bloody waterfall, and not once have I had to carry a sweater just in case I have to tie it around my waist and cover up the embarrassing red Rorschach test on the seat of my pants.
If you believe your periods may be heavier than they should be, you can a visit HeavyPeriodTalk.ca , the spot for Canadian women to find out if they have heavy periods, get armed with questions to ask their doctor and swap heavy period stories, because, let’s face it, if you have heavy periods, you’ve got a story to share. For every story shared, $5 will be donated to the Canadian Foundation for Women’s Health to support vital research and women’s health education.
Me? I’m off to buy some white yoga pants so I leap through the air with abandon, just like the women on the sanitary protection ads do. Well, maybe not, but I’ll never be scared to sit on beige leather sofa again, and that’s a win in my book.