My last Pap / Gyn visit was in 2008. I am pro-science, pro-medicine, pro-vaxx — but I am anti-invasion if there are no symptoms or no reason to expose myself to a non-disposable speculum. This has been supported by recent studies backing off the high-frequency GYN exams for people who are low-exposure, but I anticipated this trend by some years. Around three GYN exams in the past 15 years and no problems.
But I’ve always had Crazy Heavy Periods. They run in my family, like high cheekbones and short fingers and wide feet. I have missed work at about the rate of one day per month when working in places that didn’t allow frequent bathroom breaks (missed zero during the work-from-home years) but the manageable bloodbath and occasional day-off for uncontained murder-scene-level bleeding has become unmanageable.
Now that I am perimenopausal, I have begun having a period between my periods. Imagine having a ten-day period, with ten days off, followed by an eight-day period. This has now happened three times in the past year and it’s no longer a fluke. I called the nurse line and was asked other questions: is intercourse extremely painful? (Yes, it’s been overwhelmingly painful for years; I figured it was just that I had gotten fat.) Do you have breakthrough bleeding at ovulation? (I do now.) How many pads do you go through in an hour?
God, how I hate that question! I use the best pad in the world, Always Infinity with Flex-Foam, and they are too expensive to waste. My flow isn’t steady; it’s a trickle that is sometimes non-existent. Then there is a little “pop” feeling, and a gush. Old Faithful Erupts. I dash to the loo for that. When I was at work yesterday, in a situation where I couldn’t hit the loo for 50 minutes, I *soaked* an *overnight maternity pad* — and my panties, and my most heavy-duty dark denim jeans, in one gusher. So I left work and called the doc.
She scared me shitless, with “come in immediately for an endometrial biopsy and a lab screen and a Provera shot” after hearing my answers to her questions, and I exercised control over the situation by scheduling a visit for next week and No Thank You Very Much All The Same to the shot. I don’t mind needles, but I do mind hormones. When I was on the Pill in college, I was suicidal, homicidal, and generally out of my mind. I know it’s not the same hormone, but it’s still manipulation that has an unpredictable effect.
PSA For Crazy Heavy Periods Per The Nurse Line:
600 mg of ibuprofen can reduce bleeding by up to 40% — per Nurse, “It’s what the doctor has me telling everyone since that new study came out.” I am not a medical professional and do not pretend to have evidence to support this, personally; I did not even have ibuprofen in the house and have not tried it myself. I am writing this down to remember it for another time.
Iron-rich foods: we are out of heme iron sources at home (I don’t eat liver anyway, except as a cutoff in mystery meat) but I chowed down on fortified rice, pineapple juice, and my complementary salad of cruciferous vegetables and glutathione vegetables with some ham. I drank pineapple juice and tart red cherry juice and took an iron pill that nauseated me.
Water: drank lots.
Protein: ate lots.
I think they helped. And I go to the doctor Tuesday.