My So Called Life – My Monthly Battle
It’s tough being a woman! It’s also tough being a man but at least they can choose if they want to shave every day and it is socially acceptable if they decide not to.
I’m not often one for discussing things so personal as periods/AF/time of the month/menstrual cycles but for the last four years, I’ve realised that I am not alone! I was surprised by how many women could sympathise or experienced the hell that some of us experience.
The Period Problem
I was 13 and a half (April 1996), it was during my PE lesson (would you believe) when the period gods shined down on me and greeted me with what would for most of my teenage years control my life! I was first greeted with the sudden realisation that everyone would ‘know’ that suddenly I would have this neon sigh above my head that pointed down and said ‘on her period’, then came the panic of ‘oh my god, can they see I’m wearing a towel!’ This pretty much continues for a couple of years, prompting regular trips to the loo. Then once a few more girls joined the ‘club’ boys became aware and if you left the classroom to sneak to the toilet ‘god forbid taking your bag’ it was across the class. ‘On her period’, there’s the neon sign again! As girls, I don’t remember sitting around with my friends drinking tea discussing periods, in fact, I was the earliest of my friends.
Years, pass. You get on with the monthly groan of ‘oh, here we go again, please I don’t want children anyway!’ (Maybe just me) and suddenly you also realise that you are allergic to towels, tampons and in fact most sanitary wear! PMS hit me pretty hard, I’d get hot flushes, faint, feel sick, emotional, angry, get the shakes and that was on top of period pain, heavy bleeding and stomach upsets. It was pretty consistent. By 18, I’d had enough and approached a Doctor for help. There were no reason for the heavy periods, I was just unlucky and told having a baby would regulate my cycle and reduce the issues (that wasn’t going to happen at 18, so I went on the pill). Which I took for five years, then came two kids and up until four years ago I was pretty good, then it all went crazy and it was like being 18 (and my god, I don’t want to relive those times). I approached my GP, who sent me for tests, nothing solid so sent on my way.
Currently, my monthly cycles consist of pain that feels like I am in early labour, my ovaries are trying to escape from my body and this is accompanied by heavy bleeding. More tests, and all appears well but every month I feel like locking myself away for six days. I know I’m not the only woman to handle this but it feels like it is our own personal struggle.
So, I’ve been thinking about ‘self-care’ how I make myself feel better when my body is turning against me! Here are some of my tips…
1. Pain Relief
Sometimes despite my best efforts, deep breathing and yoga positions are not going to ease the pain so I reach for the pain relief.
a) Paracetamol – Basic and not effective for me anymore.
b) Ibuprofen – I know not everyone can take it due to various allergies and reasons but it’s probably one of the most effective.
I highly recommend ‘Feminax’ you can buy them in all good supermarkets or pharmacies, as well as Amazon. They are on the expensive side. It was my GP that actually recommended I try them as it covered more than just the pain.
Moving forward and am now on prescription painkillers as they help with the pain and the flow.
2. Hot Water Bottle
One of my fave Amazon purchases this year has been my Hotties Microhottie Microwavable Hot Water Bottle in purple fleece. I bought it from Amazon and although coming in at £11.49, it was worth the expense. You place the pad inside a microwave for two minutes and it’s so cosy.
Before this I had tried Cura Heat Period Pain which I also purchased from through Amazon. Now, I loved this because they are discrete and I walk around forgetting that it was there but I found that the heat was on the outside and didn’t really have much effect on my own pain, that’s not to say that they wouldn’t work for other ladies. Just not for me.
3. Hot Bath
We all know what a warm bath can do to help us unwind, light a few candles, throw in a Lush bath bomb (my personal faves are The Big Sleep and Big Blue) find a mindfulness app on your phone or maybe your fave chill out tunes and shut out the outside world for a while. There is also something soothing about floating away for a while.
4. Duvet/Blanket with Netflix
Now, I love a good duvet day. There really is nothing better than curling up in bed with a Netflix series on, a cup of tea and shutting out the world. If only every day was a duvet day!
I’m a mum of two and my youngest is disabled so you can imagine how much time I get to pamper myself but occasionally I like to apply a face mask, paint my nails and if I’m really in the mood a deep cleansing hair treatment. I am currently using the TRESemmè Keratin Smooth Deep Treatment Masque which I received as a Christmas gift. I have never tried any other versions but if anyone has any of their own recommendations please let me know.
So there you have my five top tips on self-care when your body seems to want to turn against you. Please let me know what you do to soften ‘that time of the month’. Maybe you do something completely random?
Thanks for Reading…