I didn’t start menstruating regularly till later in my teens because I was really sporty and had a diagnosed eating disorder that kept me from developing. Then when I was 16, I had really heavy periods. I would have 2 days of full on bleeding, to the point where I couldn’t go to school for those days. Every 28 days this would happen, the cramping was horrific and it was a really difficult time.
When I was 17 my mum took me to her gynaecologist and asked what we could do about it as she was worried about family history of cervical and ovarian cancer and my mum had fibroids. The doctor asked my mum to leave the room and I was terrified and embarrassed to be talking about sex as I was not sexually active. He wanted to do an internal investigation and I asked for my mum to be there, but she has to sit behind a curtain. It was really scary for me and I’ve always hated getting pap tests or internal examinations since this experience.
After the internal investigation he suggested I go on the pill to assist with my heavy periods. So mum and I went the the pharmacy and I started on the pill which made me quite sick as at the time because I didn’t know I was lactose intolerant and this type of pill contained lactose.
My dad was told in a very serious conversation that I was on the pill and he made really derogatory comments about this meaning I was sexually active, a slut or would be seen a promiscuous. I felt really upset, I was naturally shy and focused on other things not sex or boys I just wanted to do my best in my sport and get on with my life.
My periods then went from short and intense to longer and less bleeding but still I had cramping and discomfort. After a few months I was feeling so unwell and had breakthrough bleeding and the pill didn’t seem to be helping. So, in the end I just stopped taking it, and after seeing the gynaecologist the first time I did not want to ever go back to a specialist. I wasn’t sexually active so I decided that I would put up with my heavy periods…so I did.
This story was a contribution to the Storylines: Her Voice Matters project, a collaboration between Women’s Health Goulburn North East, Women’s Health Loddon Mallee and Murray PHN.