My Period Story

A period is something that most women have to suffer once a month. I debated making a post like this because 1. my experiences are very personal, 2. I’m not sure if anybody would even be interested, and 3. most people seem revolted by the word period when it’s not used to describe a dot at the end of a sentence.

Well, in the end I decided that I should make this post for people who are either new to their period, curious about my experiences, or maybe you are having troubles.

I guess I should state that I have dysmenorrhea. Before you think it’s some strange disease, what it really is, according to the google definition, is: painful menstruation, typically involving abdominal cramps. This put me in the unusual category for women who experience periods. I didn’t just experience cramps, I experienced excruciating pain. Some of the symptoms included:

  1. Dizziness and even fainting
  2. Frequent vomiting
  3. Extreme menstrual cramps
  4. Heavy flow
  5. Inability to walk or sometimes even move (I am not trying to be dramatic)
  6. Thus, I couldn’t go anywhere for the first few days

It all started around age 14. I was watching The Pursuit of Happiness with my younger sister when I started to feel very sick and dizzy. My cramps started to get worse and worse by the second. I slowly got up and ran to the bathroom. I felt like throwing up but I didn’t. Confused, I laid on my bed in pain for about half an hour. I was too weak to try to do anything, and I weakly tried to tell my sister about the pain but she didn’t believe me.

The pain went in phases. First, it would start off kind of dull and achey, and then full on pain for about 6-12 hours. Then there wouldn’t be any more pain for the rest of the week, besides the occasional ache. It doesn’t seem bad when I describe it like this, but the pain was so unbearable that I was positive that I’ve never experienced pain like that ever. Multiple times I was in so much pain that I tried to contact the police. I didn’t because A. I was too weak to find the phone, and B. my mother would’ve gotten angry.

So, this went on for about a year, and I missed school so frequently because of the pain that I was almost truant. In total I lost about 30 days of school. Finally I decided that this wasn’t normal, and that I should go to the doctor. My doctor then diagnosed me with dysmenorrhea, and prescribed me with birth control. As you probably know, birth control does a variety of things. It can help with severe acne, severe menstrual cramps (obviously why I got it) and of course, it can help to prevent pregnancies. (Not that I needed that.) My mom allowed me to have it but as soon as we got home, she hid it and said that it “wasn’t safe.” I wasn’t angry at first, but once my next period came around, I was furious. She couldn’t understand the pain that I experienced, but I guess she was just trying to make sure I “didn’t get cancer,” according to some article that she had read. Actually, birth control prevents ovarian cancer.

So, with pain and no birth control, I learned to live with the pain. Sure, she purchased some “homeopathic remedies” but of course, they weren’t nearly as strong as birth control would’ve been.

Finally, after 2 years of pain, I went vegan. I didn’t go vegan because of this, I actually went for health and ethical reasons. But the best thing ever happened to me.

When my period came around, there was no pain. No cramps, no dizziness, no nothing. I was so shocked and ecstatic. I had heard stories that veganism was good for menstrual cramps but I didn’t quite believe them… until it happened to me.

Month after month went by, and still no pain. As my diet went on, however, and I ate slightly less vegetables and whole based foods, I experienced more cramps. I still experience cramps to this day, but not NEARLY as bad as I used to.

I will be forever grateful for the vegan diet and lifestyle. Who knew veganism had so many benefits?

Thanks for reading.

 

 

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Maritza's Thoughts

I have always enjoyed the art of writing and language. That is why I decided to start this blog. I write about my thoughts, veganism, and mindfulness. I hope you enjoy my blog.

16 thoughts on “My Period Story”

  1. That’s interesting, I wonder what the correlation is? My sister always had very heavy, incredibly painful periods. She was later diagnosed with endometriosis though. So that explained that. I wonder if a vegan diet would’ve ever helped her… Just thoughts. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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    1. Oh, yeah endometriosis is terrible! (From what I’ve heard.) A vegan diet is not the answer to every disease or problem, but it has been scientifically shown to be amazing for the body! It has been shown to REVERSE cancers and heart disease. It has even cured eating disorders!

      You are welcome!

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  2. Thanks for posting this. It’s important for people to be able to recognize when things aren’t just “normal” and they should go see a doctor. I think it’s awful when something like this gets dismissed as “just cramps”. Or even when normal cramps get dismissed as “just cramps”. I always got more normal cramps with my cycle, and while taking a couple tylenol was usually enough to help, I had difficulty taking pills, and without them, it was still bad enough to make my day absolutely miserable and interfere with my daily activities.

    I find it quite interesting to hear women talk about their experiences with their monthly cycle. As a trans man my experiences are rather different, as it’s not just the cramps or the annoyance of dealing with hygiene products, but also a feeling that my body has betrayed me (again!) by doing this thing it’s not supposed to do, embarrassment over experiencing this as a man, worry that anyone will find out about it. It’s hard to explain exactly how and why I find it so distressing. It’s like I have to deal with some super embarrassing, cyclic medical condition. Mostly I cope by pretending it’s never going to happen again, but that obviously doesn’t always work. I even find it distressing just to use hygiene products (guys shouldn’t need these!) and why why why do they always have to be pink or purple???

    But, fortunately, I just got my testosterone prescription so I shouldn’t have to deal with this for much longer 😀

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your experience. I’m sorry your sister didn’t believe you and your mother hid your medication and gave you homeopathic “remedies” instead (those things don’t even do anything, anyway, except for the placebo effect–they’re so diluted that there isn’t even necessarily any of the active ingredient left in the final product). I’m glad you found a way to deal with it. That’s a pretty strong incentive to remain vegan!

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    1. I am so sorry that you have had to deal with that embarrassment! As a trans man, that must be horrible. I always wondered how they dealt with periods but I thought it would be inappropriate to ask. Also, I am a female and I get slightly annoyed at the pink and purple wrappers. Kind of stereotypical, you know? I hope all goes well with your new testosterone prescription! Also, I didn’t know that about the homeopathic remedies? I knew there was something about them though. Thank you for sharing your experience!

      And yes, although veganism for me goes way beyond health benefits.

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      1. Well, it’s never inappropriate to ask google a question, if you’re curious about something but think it would be rude to ask. As a general rule, you shouldn’t ask a trans person any personal questions that you wouldn’t ask a cis person (e.g. enquiring about the shape of a person’s genitals–you wouldn’t believe how many people ask this of trans people!). And it’s probably best to keep in mind that trans people might be sensitive to certain questions that get asked of them so commonly in such tactless ways. Although asking questions can be fine in certain circumstances, such as in an educational context or when a person has indicated they are okay with being asked questions like that. Like many things in life, it all depends on context. For example, we’re already on the topic of personal experiences with menstruation, so if you have questions, ask away!

        My personal experiences probably aren’t representative of all trans men. Sometimes I get the impression that my cycle bothers me more than most (you may have noticed that I even go out of my way to avoid certain words when talking about my own cycle). One way of dealing with it that I saw suggested for trans men one time was to use a menstrual cup instead of pads or tampons. It’s something you (theoretically) only have to deal with every 12 hours, so that’s less time spent dealing with (and being forced to acknowledge the existence of) one’s cycle. It’s basically just a cup that you can insert into the vagina to catch and hold the flow temporarily. Most are reusable from day to day and month to month (you just have to clean it), though there is one brand that’s disposable.

        Also, I find it very refreshing to talk with you after the day I’ve had. Too much class time and textbook reading today that addressed gender and sex related topics in ways that aren’t terribly trans sensitive… or ace sensitive… and even one person’s presentation I had to listen to that felt like an attack on shy and/or introverted people (for starters, shy and introverted are NOT synonymous… sigh).

        Gender is often one of my favorite subjects… right up until people start talking in ways that exclude, erase, or insult trans people, which quickly turns it into my least favorite subject.

        And yea, all the ubiquitous pink and purple with any “feminine” product is so incredibly stereotypical.

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      2. I couldn’t even imagine the discrimination that you have to go through. If I can ask, do you live in an area where people are regularly discriminatory? From what you have mentioned, you seem to live in an area that is incredibly different from mine. Of course, I haven’t experienced discrimination against transgender people firsthand, but in the area where I live, people are so chill that they don’t even notice your gender. (I live in Portland, Oregon.) The people are very liberal/progressive here, and are very open to LGBT rights, women’s rights, African American rights, and so on.

        About the menstrual cup, (might be TMI) but I just ordered one yesterday. I’m excited to try it out because I am sick and tired of dealing with pads, but I didn’t want to have to deal with tampons because of the risks involved. (TSS) I can tell that you are very educated on the topic of gender and I am slightly ashamed to say that I am not. (Good thing you blog about it)

        I love having a conversation with you. You are very mature and polite, and we have a lot of topics in common.

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      3. No, I live in a pretty liberal/progressive city, too. We even have laws against discrimination in places of public accommodation (e.g. schools, libraries, restaurants) that include protections for gender identity and expression. I really wish I’d known that before it became relevant! But it is really good to know now. Most people are cool about stuff, but every so often there’s someone who decides to be vile. And, of course, there are lots of people who do or say hurtful things out of ignorance (e.g. asking if a trans person has had “the surgery”, or asking around behind a visibly trans person’s back to find out what pronouns to use for them, rather than asking them to their face, or talking about gender/sex as if it’s as simple as XX=girl, XY=boy). There are plenty of people who want to be respectful but just don’t know how. There are also people who generally want to be respectful and nice, but have an issue with trans people, which affects their feelings and/or behavior to a greater or lesser extent (one of said people was one of the ones who ended up deciding to be vile to me…).

        There’s also less personal stuff like rules or policies or systems which screw over trans people. For example, basically any gender segregated space can be uncomfortable, or even downright terrifying, for trans people. Example: mental health wards/hospitals. When I went into a mental health hospital for an assessment once (while I happened to be in the next city over, which is much more conservative), I ended up leaving feeling more suicidal than when I went in. Long story short, my trans status seemed to affect the decision not to admit me, I was outed in the waiting room, multiple staff members used the wrong pronouns for me, and I sure as fuck did not feel comfortable there. They put me in the day treatment program, and I left after two days (I wanted to after one, but felt like I should at least try to stick with it another day). I felt like I didn’t even have the option of checking myself into a hospital as a last resort during a suicidal crisis… which increased my level of suicidality in such crises (I did eventually find a place that had their shit together with respect to trans people, which was good). It is cruel irony that trans people, who have a scarily high level of suicidal ideation and attempts (and, it would logically follow, completed attempts) compared to the general population, actually have less access to the exact resources intended to prevent suicide!

        I only have a handful of stories that particularly stand out, though, and that one is one of the two worst ones. It’s hard to decide which is worse, between that one and the time my ‘friend’ and roommate rejected me for being trans and I was afraid of getting kicked out of my home and felt like she stabbed me in the back, and other details I don’t want to get into because yay traumatic experiences. I tried to write about it for a piece on trans experiences in gender segregated spaces, but I got stuck on it–the hospital story is actually considerably easier to write about.

        But some of the really small stuff is just so common that it wears you down. Like the way menstrual hygiene products are always pink and purple and called “feminine” hygiene products. Or, well, every other word in my textbook for my human sexuality class? Okay, it’s not that bad, but when they talk about people with vulvas it’s always women this and females that and she she she and no acknowledgement that not everyone who has a vulva is, in fact, female. Couldn’t they even occasionally just talk about “people” or “a person”? Do they really have to use woman/girl/female/she/her in every single godsdamned sentence about female-typical anatomy? (technically there’s a chapter about gender which talks about intersex and transgender people which grudgingly acknowledges sex/gender variation in humans, but don’t even get me started about that, I already spent 10-15 minutes in my professor’s office telling her about all the problems contained within a mere three pages of that chapter–fortunately she thoroughly falls into the “wants to be respectful” camp and was not only receptive to but thankful for my feedback).

        Very cool on the menstrual cup thing. I hope it works well for you. And, well, we’re already talking about menstruation. I’m not sure what TMI would look like, here? Lol.

        Also, looks like we’re about to have even more topics in common. I think I’ve decided to become a relative vegetarian. By which I mean, I am absolutely not going to give up bacon or hamburgers or beef jerky, but I will be modifying my eating habits such that they involve less meat and more veggies, and so that meat becomes more of a special occasion thing than a daily thing. Like, why not replace a meat thing with a vegetable thing, if the meat thing isn’t that important? E.g. bean and cheese quesadillas are just as tasty as chicken quesadillas. Besides, relatively less meat is a lot more realistic of a goal than no meat, for me.

        Apparently I am doing blog post length comments now ^.^

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      4. That’s great that you talked to your teacher about the errors in her class. I have never thought about the menstrual cycle in the way you have. I believe that some of those textbooks may be a bit outdated and so they are not aware that women can be transgender too.

        Congrats on becoming a “mostly” vegetarian. I’m pretty sure there’s a specific name for that but I can’t remember it right now. I remember that when I first dabbled in vegetarianism, I cut out chicken first. Then pig, and then finally cow. (It was hard to give that one up because I was addicted to hamburgers.) The reason that I gave up those animal products was simply because I felt so uncomfortable eating another animal’s body part. (Sorry if that sounds offensive. I don’t know how else to describe it.) If I may ask you for a favor, would you be willing to watch these documentaries? They could drastically improve your life. If not, I’m totally fine with that. I don’t want to force you against your will.

        1. 101 Reasons to go vegan on YouTube. (this one video made my mom go vegan. Don’t worry. There is no scary things in it. Just logical reasons. I know you like logical reasons. Tons of scientific evidence as well. Great presentation.)
        2. Forks over Knives on Netflix. (Now I haven’t finished this documentary, but it is astonishing and it really opened my eyes, even when I was already vegan lol. It talks about the health benefits of veganism)
        3. Cowspiracy on Netlfix. (This shows the environmental side of veganism, and how animal agriculture is contributing to global warming. Tons of environmentalists go vegan to save the earth. I save 2,000 gallons of water daily by being vegan. There is one graphic part (2 minutes) which I skipped, so don’t worry, but you can watch it if you have a strong stomach.)
        4. Either The Best Speech Ever on YouTube or Earthlings. (Earthlings is extremely graphic, and The Best Speech Ever might be a little dramatic at times, so take your pick.)

        I hope you will consider going vegan in the future, or even if you don’t, at least watch these documentaries. If you have absolutely any questions at all I will answer them as honestly as I can. Remember that in no way am I forcing you to watch these documentaries, and I will not be the least bit hurt if you don’t. I really value your opinions and your views, so I’m interested in your reactions and thoughts on this topic.

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