When my first period came at age 13, it involved blood clots and extreme pain. I didn’t know what to expect or what was considered “normal,” but, thankfully, my mother did. She recognized that my symptoms were unusual and immediately took me to see my pediatrician. I was first prescribed birth control pills, which seemed to help initially, but when my period remained heavy and painful, I was put on a different birth control pill that enabled me to have my period only four times a year.
I thought my situation was normal — albeit uncomfortable and inconvenient. No one ever suggested painful periods could be anything more than bad luck. I would hear women talk about menstrual cramping and see advertisements for medications to relieve menstrual symptoms … I just figured I had bad periods like so many other adolescent and adult women.
I believed that for years. …
Having painful cramps isn’t really something a typical 14-year-old girl wants to think or talk about. Most girls assume that it’s normal and just part of the process of growing up. But when intense pain started to interrupt Brittany Berg’s social and academic life, she knew she needed to speak up.
It began during her freshman year of high school when the pain would get so bad she couldn’t focus while she studied at night. She’d lie down, hoping for sleep, but would still be overcome with discomfort. The only female in her drum line at school, Brittany couldn’t easily explain to her bandmates why she was a little slower on some days, or why the pressure of holding the drum caused even more pain.
She tried her best to explain to her friends what she was going through, hoping they could relate, but since she didn’t understand it herself, it made little difference.
Finally, Brittany talked to her mother and saw a doctor. She had a pelvic ultrasound and was prescribed birth control pills, which are often used to regulate a women’s menstrual cycle. However, this treatment only added mild depression and weight gain to Brittany’s list of irritating symptoms. Frustrated, and still not knowing the root of her pain, Brittany tried another type of birth control pill that her doctor prescribed, one that is taken every three months instead. Even though the pain lessened a little, it was still there. …
In the following blog, a young woman shares what it’s like to live with endometriosis, a painful condition that occurs when tissue similar to the inside lining of the uterus is found outside of its normal location.
I remember when I first started having pain. I was 14 years old and told my mom about a constant pain in my side. She brushed off my comment and gave me some Advil thinking it would help. After a while the pain just never subsided so I told her I needed to see the doctor. After a number of tests, hospitalizations, surgery, and a year of searching for “what was wrong”, it was confirmed that I had endometriosis.
Even though the process of figuring out “what was wrong” had concluded, my pain was still present. It did subside a bit after going on birth control pills and other pain alleviating remedies, but every now and then there would be moments of unbearable pain. My parents and friends would comment and say things to me like “You must be feeling so much better, or “I’m so glad you’re in less pain, the surgery and medicine really must have been what you needed”. Little did they know that endo is not like a cold that goes away after a few days. …