I started my period at the age of 11. I wasn’t surprised because most of my friends started when they were 10 and it was a few months before my 12th birthday. Nothing much changed except the fact that for about 5 days a month I’d have to go the toilet more often to change my sanitary pads. It wasn’t bad at all I must say, my life carried on as usual.
Now fast forward 4 years later, I’m now 14 going on 15 and many things have changed. I now have what is known as DYSMENORRHEA also known as painful periods or menstrual cramps. Many people think menstrual cramps are just little stomach aches. My symptoms included pain in my abdomen/lower pelvis which is the most common symptom. Although, medications I also suffered from the same pain in my lower back and upper thighs. My other symptoms included nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, disorientation, fainting, fatigue, hypersensitivity to light and sound. Pretty much every symptom in the books.
My periods now lasted 7-8days and my flow was HEAVY, I would go through a minimum of 8 thick as hell sanitary pads per day. Every month, I would get some cramps in my lower abdomen for a few minutes a day usually in the morning for the two days BEFORE my period. These were like warnings preparing me for the rest. On the first day, I would experience more intense stomach cramps, sometimes on my lower back too. Other first day symptoms included fatigue and dizziness. The second and third day were HELL. I would experience all these symptoms at once. I usually skipped school, stayed in bed and didn’t eat for these two days. Sometimes, my mum would come home from work and try to get me to eat and take a shower which only resulted in me throwing up either from her turning on the lights, the sound of her voice or the food.
My dad would always say to me “You need to get up and go to school… are you the only girl on her period?” until one day when I was forced to church. After church, we went out to get some take out to take home to eat. I ended up fainting in the restaurant and banging my head on a pillar which landed me in a hospital and I ended up being admitted for a day all because I was on my period.
My mum finally took me to a doctor to ask what we could do because all the pain medicines for period cramps clearly weren’t working. When they suggested birth control, my mum was immediately against it saying it wasn’t right for someone my age (16) to be on birth control. The doctor explained that my hormones were clearly all over the place and that the birth control would help to control them and keep them balanced. My mum then decided that I could only get it when I was 18. I suffered for 2 more years and the moment I turned 18 I didn’t hesitate to get a prescription.
Over a year later now and I can’t believe how much I suffered every month for those four years all because I was on my period. My period is now just regular flow and lasts for only 5 days. I know exactly what day it comes on and when it goes. Birth control had no negative side effect on me I could think of and honestly just helps me to be able to live a regular life.
Written by Blessing Osagiede