This post definitely falls under the ‘TMI’ category so if you get all weird at the mere mention of periods then I would look away now…
In what may be one of my more inappropriate posts, I’m going to discuss how for 9 months my periods disappeared and the affect this has had on me.
I’ve never been a fan of the painful monthly visits and I’ve never been a particularly regular girl, but when I moved to Nottingham in July and began training for a half marathon, my periods suddenly stopped altogether.
For a couple of months, I wasn’t too fussed – I was saving some cash after all. Yet, whenever I opened my underwear drawer and saw a few tampons rolling aimlessly around inside, or discovered a crumpled up sanitary pad at the bottom of my handbag, I did start to sort of miss them. Without my periods, I no longer felt “womanly” and I knew that not having them was my body’s way of telling me something wasn’t right.
I kept hoping they’d return. In the past I’d missed one or two, but never this many and I began to worry. After a few months I went to the Doctors. Straight off the bat I told her I wasn’t pregnant (because I was, and still am, so tragically single). I told her I was running a lot so she weighed me to check my BMI. It turned out I was rather close to the underweight range, but she wanted to make sure my lack of periods wasn’t due to Polycystic Ovaries. One week later I had a blood test (queue wooziness overload) which showed my hormones were imbalanced. I figured they would be, seeing as I wasn’t suffering from my “dark days” as frequently. I’d realised my mood had been fairly stable during the absence of my periods.
My Doctor still wanted to check for PCOS, so the next step was an ultrasound. The letter I received confirming my appointment sternly told me I HAD to drink loads of water. To see my uterus, I’d need to drink at least 2 pints an hour before the scan. Well, “sod that“, I remember thinking. I knew I had to catch a bus from work and there was no way I was going to contain all that water sloshing about in my pea sized bladder on the bouncy bus journey. Therefore I only drank about a pint on my way to the centre and even then I was still busting by the time the nurse came to collect me from the waiting room. I kept my fingers crossed that I’d drunk enough for them to see everything – thankfully I had. The Sonographer applied the cold gel, ran the transducer over my lower abdomen and took some photos. Once she was done, I ran straight to the loo for one hell of a wee.
Anyways after all that, the results showed that I didn’t have Polycystic Ovaries. When I discussed this with my Doctor she decided I was suffering from amenorrhea – an abnormal absence of periods that can be caused by overexercising. She prescribed me some pills to “kickstart” my cycle again and told me to eat more and go steady on the running. In truly spooky timing I injured my leg shortly after that appointment, which meant I couldn’t run at all, leading me to believe that the Doctor had done some weird juju on me.
Even though I wasn’t running, I still had what I like to call a “runner’s appetite”. I continued to eat a fair bit so I quickly gained back the weight I needed to push my BMI further in to the healthy range.
And then, BAM – my periods returned. I actually had to top up my drawer with all the essentials. In a panic I purchased more than I needed. Initially, I was relieved.When I immediately told one of my friends she responded with, “Congratulations on being a woman again!” However, about 10 minutes later I was grumpy as hell and suffering with horrible cramps. I’d forgotten how my periods tended to feel like I had weights attached to my insides, and like they were slowly being pulled out. (Hey, I did warn you this post would be TMI!)
The cramps weren’t the only thing I’d forgotten about though. There was also the return of the beloved hormones and boy did they come back with quite a vengeance. I’ve pretty much been an emotional wreck with my anxiety levels going through the roof on some days. I’ve really struggled to get a grip and keep a lid on all these overwhelming feelings of sadness and stress. I’ve been crying on the bus like a loon, flapping whenever I’ve had more than a few tasks to do at work, or getting stroppy because my favourite shorts felt too tight. I have pretty much eaten all the chocolate I could get my hands on as well. It is fair to say, I have been somewhat irrational and perhaps maybe just a tiny bit crazy.
I guess my body is now readjusting to the hormonal wonderfulness that is periods. And though I have been a bit of a nightmare (sorry housemates, work colleagues and friends) it is nice to feel normal(ish) once again.
Moral of the story here for the ladies? If you’re in to running, don’t take it too far like I did. You have to eat loads to make up for all the calories you burn, otherwise your periods may stop too. So eat all the food you want – your body needs it to function properly.