“I was ten when I got my first period. It was immediately intense. You hear that young girls’ menstruation often has to build up a bit in the beginning, but I was immediately ‘on’ and had my period for five full days. I also immediately had severe menstrual pain. I remember when I was fourteen and had to stop on my bike home from school because I was in so much pain. My uncle happened to be driving by and saw me hunched over the steering wheel. He took me home by car, but cycling further was really not possible.
The doctor gave me special painkillers for menstrual pain and he also gave me the pill. That in itself helped, but the pill gave me terrible migraines again. That’s why I went on the injection. This gave me a few relaxing years. But when my relationship ended and I wanted to see how things would go without it, it felt like a gray haze had lifted from me. I hadn’t even noticed how down I had been, now it was as if life suddenly had color again.
Unfortunately, that joy was short-lived. Mentally I felt better, but physically I had so many limitations without the pill; I had a lot of stomach pain again. I also needed a bath towel in the car to sit on and I was always dizzy and out of breath. At work I once even leaked and fainted at the same time.”
“It was the worst of all in the period after the birth of my son, I will never forget it. Before I got up, my husband had to hand me a towel, which I wedged between my legs to waddle to the bathroom. It was literally like turning on a tap, despite a super plus tampon and a maternity pad.
I had to cancel work because I couldn’t leave home, I once had to buy clean clothes somewhere because I had leaked so badly and I couldn’t go more than half an hour without changing my sanitary towels. Once I was visiting somewhere and had to drive 45 minutes back home. Before I started driving I had changed everything, but when I arrived I still had to have the entire car cleaned because I had leaked so badly.
The PMS was also terrible: I wanted a divorce on average once a month. My husband always called it “shark week.” Sometimes, after an outburst on my part, he would very carefully poke his head around the corner of the door to ask, “Hey, could it be that you’re about to get your period?”
Last year I had a Novasure treatment performed because I have menorrhagia: abnormally high blood loss. The uterine lining is burned away to reduce heavy bleeding. However, burning it away is only possible if you no longer want children, because it ensures that implantation can no longer take place. The treatment did help with the bleeding, but it doesn’t make much difference for the PMS. I still have pain sometimes, but fortunately the cramps are not in proportion to what it was like before.”
Maan, Denise, Lara, Romy and Roos also have severe menstrual complaints. You can read their stories in Flair 44-2023. You can read more stories like this every week in Flair.