Is Your Period Trying to Tell You Something?

by Charlotte on February 27, 2012 · 110 comments

Actually, she’s wearing white pants and as anyone knows you can’t have your period and wear white pants at the same time. Or ride white horses. Or play tennis in a white tennis dress. I’m guessing she’s the girl whose babysitter showed her Jaws at age 5.

“Hormonal” is not generally seen as a compliment. And yet, I’ll be honest, I am. Some girls seem hardly affected by the monthly ebb and flow of the Crimson Tide but me… well, let’s just say that ancient cultures would have worshiped me because of how obviously I follow the lunar cycle. Sure I get all the usual PMS crap like cravings (for like two weeks, so basically half the month I’m fighting sugar), bloating, moodiness and cramps. But I have some weirder symptoms. It took me until I was 30 to realize that the day before the Crimson Tide flows in that I have a serious “everybody hates me” day. And I mean serious. I cry to my husband that I have no friends. I tell my sister how nobody cares about me. Then I go on Facebook and cry over statuses as benign as “had eggs for breakfast – thanks for the recipe Jill!” because clearly Jill is sending out recipes to everyone but me which probably means they’re all having brunch right now and nobody invited me. The next day, without fail, Aunt Rosie comes a-knocking and I want to smack myself. It’s gotten so bad that I actually have a calendar alarm set up to remind me not to send any ill-advised e-mails for those couple of days.

The problem is that it all feels so very real. Even though it happens every month or so. (My cycle isn’t super regular which adds a whole other level of difficulty to this puzzle!)

But the most interesting symptom I have is a hormone-induced stupor. For 20 days of the month I am a writing machine, coming up with posts, working on my book, doing research, conducting interviews and enjoying every second of it. (Eh, mostly.) But then something happens to my brain and I go into this mental fog. Everything is hazy. Writing feels impossibly hard. Heck, even calling the store to order my son’s birthday cake (no, I’m not making it – hush, do you not remember what happens when I bake?!) feels insurmountable. Parent-teacher conference? I have a 3rd child? It’s not flip-flop weather?! Wha…?? I can’t remember a dang thing. It’s like depression, a stroke and a Baldwin family reunion all in one.

So what do I do? I work 10 times harder because now it takes me 10 times as long to get anything done. This necessitates staying up until 2 or 3 a.m. to finish tasks that ought to be simple but feel like eating peanuts with chopsticks. The lack of sleep then necessitates OD’ing on sugar and dark chocolate to keep moving. Then I feel compelled to hide all my crazy feelings because I know they’re crazy and I don’t want to vent my spleen all over people which turns me into an emotional volcano. That only erupts inwards. (What does “venting one’s spleen” even mean?! Weirdest idiom ever. And second grossest visual.) And the best part is that it happens about every 30 days! Yippee!

Basically everything sucks for those 10 days but then all is happy hyper-achiever again. It’s a weird roller coaster. A friend recently asked me if I’m bipolar. I was like, “No, just bimenstrual. Which might be the same thing.” I was relating this to my sister and bemoaning my hormonal fate when she said something profound. “Maybe your period is trying to tell you something.”

“Excuse me? I am not on speaking terms with Mother ‘you want to complain about fair, I’ll show you Somalia’ Nature.”

“Well you should start talking to her again. Because I think she’s smarter than you think.”

“How can she be smart when she makes my life absolutely miserable for 1/3 of every month??”

“Maybe she’s not trying to make you miserable. Maybe she’s trying to make you rest.” I harrumphed while she finished. “You are so go-go-go all the time so maybe your body is telling you that it needs to rest. Mentally and physically. You’d probably be happier if you just stopped fighting it and took a nap.”

Well, huh. My little Earth Mother sister might be onto something.  Historically in many cultures women were given a break during That Special Time.  While sometimes women were just forbidden from cooking or having sex or doing other “wifely duties”, many cultures gave a special power to a “moontime” and gave women extra space and reverence. But either way women were generally expected to be different during their periods. It was normal to not be your normal self.

This is a far cry from what is expected today. We’re free to make jokes about Shark Week or Chocolate Bloodletting or whatever but aside from Middle School gym class we’re absolutely not allowed to use it as a legitimate excuse. PMS is seen as a weakness, something that needs to be fixed, covered up or ignored – a disease even.  Every time I talk about my horrible hormones I have a few people tell me to try the new birth control pills aimed at PMDD (pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder, i.e. the PMS from hell), like Yaz or Yazmin. I’m definitely not opposed to pills and if these help you then I couldn’t be happier for you. (Truly: I’m not trying to tell anyone that they shouldn’t take these pills or that they’re bad.) But when I went to my doctor and she gave me a prescription for Yaz, I never ended up filling it. The side effects felt too scary and I already have an IUD for birth control so the risk wasn’t worth it for me. And I’m not going to lie: there was an element of not wanting to pathologize something that is completely normal. Just like we’ve forgotten what real boobs look like (hint: they don’t always point straight forward), society has given us amnesia about what unmedicated hormones do. They fluctuate. And that fluctuation has effects.

Periods can be indicators of so much more than fatigue. If you lose your period it could be because you’ve over-exercised (ahem), dropped your body fat too low (learned that lesson), have an underactive thyroid, are overly stressed or even have cancer. If your period is irregular it can be a sign of fibroids, nutritional deficiencies, stress and (again) cancer. If your period is excessively heavy then you could possibly have polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, are overly stressed or (you saw this one coming) cancer. Us ladies are fine-tuned machines and perhaps our menstrual cycles are the canaries in the coal mines.

In the end, I can believe my body tries to slow me down once a month. Heaven knows I need it. But I still hate the inconvenience, the mess, the cramps and especially the brain fog. I also hate how it feels trying to live in a society that expects women to be on a perfectly even keel 365 days a year. Where’s Beyonce when I need her??

Have you ever felt like your period was trying to tell you something? What other normal female (or male!) things has society pathologized? Do you do anything special or different during your Card Game Where All the Suits Are Red? Should I rethink Yaz/Yazmin??

P.S. Thanks to some previous tips from you guys, I’ve started taking a magnesium supplement and I think it’s helped a ton with the cramps. I do 250mg a day until the week before my period then I up it to 500.

 

{ 108 comments… read them below or add one }

Alyssa (azusmom) February 27, 2012 at 11:32 pm

So much of this is familiar (of course! :) ). And it keeps changing: which, interestingly, has made me wonder over the past few days (seriously, I was thinking about this yesterday!) that maybe Aunt Flo is giving me signals.
I’m currently in the throes of PMS: cranky, bloaty, pimply, and all the other dwarves are settling in. This morning I decided to skip my yoga class. I REALLY needed to rest, and my elbow is out of joint (again. A sure sign that I’ve been subbing too many pilates classes). I eventually decided to not only skip working out entirely today, but to go ahead and eat that chocolate cookie. All 3 of them.
It’s That Time of the Month, and I’m taking full advantage!

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Heidi March 19, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Yaz is amazing. I don’t randomly fight with people I don’t know anymore. And when I mean fight I mean yell. I can also see better and I don’t get migraines. I’m still super emotional and eat a crap ton. I use to gain around 8lbs at that time sense yaz it’s prob 2lbs. I love yaz I’m a huge fan!!

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M. Lindsay February 28, 2012 at 12:12 am

I get super duper dizzy. It’s actually the most annoying 4 days of the month. I end up sitting in my office feeling nauseated from being so dizzy, it’s absolutely terrible. I almost wish I had worse cramps, and no dizziness, because at least I can help cramps with advil, I have no idea how to cure dizziness (more water, etc. doesn’t help).

The 2-3 days before, I just eat all the chocolate in the world, and watch terrible rom-coms (which I usually hate). :/

I don’t think I’d recommend Yaz/Yazmin. I took Yazmin for about 7 years, and it really messed with my mood (my anxiety is infinitely better since going off), but also, both are linked to blood clots, and a bunch of other heart issues (though cancer was not mentioned…). I personally don’t think that risk is worth it.

Your sister is right, just be more kind to yourself (which is really a good motto for life broadly as well…).

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firouzeh June 12, 2013 at 1:51 pm

please stop taking those pilss as they killed few people in Canada as per news I read in newpaper today…

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Casey Kay February 28, 2012 at 12:44 am

Your body is definitely good at telling you when to rest. If you ignore it long enough, sometimes it will force you to rest against your will. I find that during the first day or two I have to spend a good amount of time sitting down or resting or else I start feeling like I have the flu. (And I know it isn’t TSS because it happens without fail the first day of my period whether I use tampons or pads.) So maybe you – and the old cultures – are onto something and we should be allowed to take some rest once a month.

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lala September 24, 2013 at 11:40 pm

I don’t even know how to use tampons. I
I’m so fatigue and tire , I can only use pads anyway.

Yelp, it’s something else I tell ya.

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Sable February 28, 2012 at 1:47 am

My cycle and I are NOT on good speaking terms. Since high school I’ve had periods that lasted up to 6 months at a time, ranging from light to extremely heavy depending on the day/week, accompanied by horrible cramps. My cervical exams have been fine, and most doctors have told me “it’s stress” (I’d like to “stress” them right in the face!) My sister apparently developed this problem in the last year and had to start birth control, so it looks like I’m going to have to cave. I don’t want to though – I already have an IUD and the weight gain risk freaks me out. =(

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Jazmine October 2, 2013 at 11:52 pm

I’ve had the same problem, my period stopped for three months and then lasted for six months , on September 26th2013 it stopped and now I feel dizzy when I walk and it scares me :( Dont know what to do. Dont know what it means!

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Sable October 3, 2013 at 12:06 am

Jazmine,

It sounds like you may be anemic due to an iron deficiency caused by having your period for so. It’s not uncommon. I suggest you look into the symptoms and treatments online. If the dizziness is severe, constant, gets worse, etc PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE go see a doctor. PLEASE. You should probably go see one regardless. Hope you get well soon. =(

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Sable October 3, 2013 at 12:07 am

Oops! *by having your period for so long. Missing words over here, ha.

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T. February 28, 2012 at 3:02 am

I have no advice, really, just a thank you for bringing this up. It’d be only fair to cut us some slack and not expect business as usual at a time when, in my case, the only thing I’m capable of is a gentle rocking motion and eating ice cream. I’ve made a point of letting people (even my male friends, whether they like it or not) know what’s going on because really, being teary and feverish and absurdly greedy for a week, cramping horribly for three days and bleeding for 7-8 is enough to deal with without having to hide the reason I want to bite everyone’s head off. I wish I dared take magnesium but I’m still worried that an overdose of it might have kickstarted my hypothyroidism (the only upside of which: no period). Thanks for the excuse to vent my, um, ovaries. :)

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Sue February 28, 2012 at 3:33 am

I don’t have any useful advice, but taking magnesium pills and a so called ‘micro pill’ (lower dose of hormones, almost zero side effects) has made my periods at least a litlle easier. I still get PMS and cramps, but they used to be much worse when I was a teen.
Thank goodness for my understanding husband, who cuts me some slack when my hormones go crazy.
Just curious, what’s the #1 grossest visual of all?

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skeptigirl February 28, 2012 at 4:22 am

Back in tthe olden days women did not use anything special to catch their flow, so they just bled through their skirts.

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Kathryn February 28, 2012 at 4:44 am

I have recently come off the pill and am back in touch with my natural cycle. The week after my period im super cheerful, very energetic and my sex drive is through the roof. I then even out for a while til the week before my period when i get sore boobs, a crankier mood and a low sex drive. After being kept at the same hormonal level for so long by the pill, im really enjoying the super positive week of the red-ruled-roller-coaster. For me it outweighs PMS week.

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Claire February 28, 2012 at 4:50 am

Yes! It’s trying to tell you to look after yourself and stopping running round like a headless chook. I was on juliet pill and took ponstan prescription tablets at that time of the month for 10 years because I had such bad periods. I would throw up from the nausea and literally crawl into a ball and cry. I can tell you now the thing that helped mine most was going plant based. I know it’s a tough area for you and don’t want to push you into restricting but all I can say is that eating a whole foods, low fat, plant based diet has made my periods SO MUCH better. I don’t want to gross you out but they’re quicker and less painful…. instead of being 7 days of agony it’s 1 maybe 2 days of heavy flow with uncomfortable but not enough to take painkillers achy cramps and then 2-3 days of really really light flow with no pain at all.
I hope you find some relief!

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Kate May 19, 2014 at 11:55 am

Claire’s right a WFPB diet really helps a ton check out dr mcdougall with his it has cured endometriosis, also slices away any risks of breat it ovarian cancer. Western women really suffer from diseases of this and cultures plant based do it. Also the age of menarche for plant based cultures is very much later inset and earlier finish.

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Naomi/Dragonmamma February 28, 2012 at 6:27 am

Aunty Flow stopped visiting me a couple of years ago, so now I’m free to be a cranky bitch (or not) whenever I want. Wheee, I’m free, I’m free!

If I remember my historical misinformation correctly, it was once thought that we were ruled by our body “humours”, and our spleens were held responsible for producing whatever it was that made us bad-tempered.

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redhead February 28, 2012 at 6:43 am

Not on the pill myself – it made me feel SO nuts emotionally. So I asked my yoga teacher (another earth mother) about PMS stuff, and she said something similar- that basically your period is really hard on your body too, so to take a little time. Take a nap, sleep in 15 minutes late, pamper yourself really. You’d treat it differently right before and after a hard race, so kind of do the same thing at your period. She also said that the foods they say to avoid because of bloat (like salt, caffeine and bready starchy foods) can also make emotional roller coasters worse, for what that’s worth. (And Midol has a lot of caffeine in it – not sure about the others).

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Shelly February 28, 2012 at 7:07 am

I get that “everybody hates me day” thing too! Courtesy of the pill, I barely have any other symptoms, but the day before my period or sometimes on the first day, I feel deeply sad and dissatisfied with myself. It sucks.

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Dr. J February 28, 2012 at 7:11 am

Alrighty then :-)

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Al July 10, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Dr. J,
Really after all us women complained about being tired, you have new stem cells for more kids? Or might produce. I don’t think so. Just a thought, LOL!

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Al July 10, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Dr. J,
Really after all us women complained about being tired, you have new stem cells for more kids? Or might produce. I don’t think so. Just a thought, LOL!

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Dr. J July 10, 2013 at 7:20 pm

I like Charlotte and wanted to let her know I visited her site.

I couldn’t answer the article title as it only applied to women.

Have your usual day.

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Heather @ Bake, Run, Live February 28, 2012 at 9:04 am

I get more emotional the day before my period. I have to remind myself of this before I send off e-mails (because man, can I get defensive)! The other thing is I want M&M’s. Must have M&M’s!
I’m lucky, my period only lasts 2 days, so if I’m tired or feeling lazy- that’s just fine!

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geosomin February 28, 2012 at 9:31 am

Hmmm…I’m pretty lucky. The odd month on the day or two before I’ll get cramps or a bit sensitive, but most months I just get rediculous hunger cravings. I’ve been on the pill for over 13 years now and so things are so nicely mapped out and regulated…makes it easier to know what’s what. Having irregular cycles would be really frustrating for me. I’m glad I don’t to deal with it…I sympathize with you though – I had a roommate in college who was pretty much PMS bipolar…it did not look like fun. Every month was a new batch of crazy followed by regret and apology. I’ll stick to my occasional bag of cheezies :)

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Amanda February 28, 2012 at 9:37 am

I think sometimes our period might be trying to tell us something, but in some cases it might not be what we think. Before I had my ablation (my period is now virtually absent, although the PMS is quite present!), in addition to sobbing “the world hates me” hormones I’d also get 48 hours of carnage where I was in the bathroom every hour at minimum, and up several times during the night just to change things over. I was fortunate that my workplace didn’t blink when I spent that much time in the bathroom every month. There are some jobs where I literally couldn’t have functioned in that capacity, and many of those jobs don’t give sick days. It could have had severe financial repercussions for me.

I couldn’t take the pill because it exacerbated the “woe is me!” phase of PMS (I’m wonky that way, apparently), and I’m just grateful that I have health insurance so I was able to get the matter taken care of when I, at long last, switched to a GYN who recognized that things were a teensy bit out of hand. Bless that woman.

So sometimes your period might be telling you to find another doctor. That, in the final analysis, is what mine was shouting :)

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Mercedes February 28, 2012 at 9:37 am

Ah, hormones. Sometimes they’re spiteful little buggers. I totally have the over-sensitive, someone-broke-my-shell, weepy moments often in the days leading up to Shark Week. It’s worse if I’ve been eating like crap or drinking too much.

I have noticed if my exercise levels are up, and my diet is optimal, that I have far less discomfort during my period. Shorter period, less cramps, fewer aches. I guess (purely guesswork) that it’s because my nutrient levels are better suited to prevent problems (maybe naturally higher in minerals like magnesium?), and that my muscles are in better shape to deal with potential problems.

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Abby February 28, 2012 at 10:09 am

I barely remember how my normal cycle was, having been on birth control pills for so long. I did love Yaz when I was on it and I think it got a bad rap for the same issues all pills have but if it’s not right for you then don’t take it. It’s interesting though, a coworker was just telling me about her issues feeling all foggy too. And I know I get the everyone hates me thing when I’m PMSing, even on bcp. Not that I’d know anything about that at the moment. The pill I’m on gives me really light, irregular periods and I haven’t had one in almost 2 months. Why is it that not getting your period is as annoying as getting it?

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Sarah February 28, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Maybe you should give the Pill a go? You never know. If you have bad side effects you can always stop taking it! I have endometriosis and went on the pill for a while. My doctor said she didn’t know why people made such fuss about the pill – sure its putting hormones in the body artificially but those hormones just simulate natural hormones that would be produced in say pregnancy. Years ago, it would have been fairly unusual for people to put their bodies through repeated periods and the hassle it brings because they would have spent a fair amount of their reproductive years pregnant. Just a thought. I’m now on the Depo and have no periods. Bliss.

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Karen February 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Ha! I love that picture — it reminds me of my vacation with my husband to Israel (a five day layover en route to see his parents in Albania for 2 weeks). We took a day trip to Masada and the Dead Sea from Jerusalem and even though it was January and like 50 degrees in Jerusalem it was around 85 at the Dead Sea because of the elevation and such. I had my period so I stood around fully dressed (I DID change into flip flops, however) while my husband frolicked in the salt water with like 40 Russian tourists…

But anyway, regarding PMS… yeah, I totally lose my edge for the week right before my period (and sometimes for 2 weeks before) but I begin to feel normal again as soon as my period starts, so I actually prefer the week of my period to the week leading up to it. And YES! There is usually a day — and YES usually the day RIGHT before my period starts — when I feel all lonely and self-pitying and tragic.

Interesting idea about “listening” to your cycle… I never considered that there may be some larger meaning behind my irritated, tired, absent-minded bloat, but maybe… at the very least, it gives me an easy excuse for being short-tempered and unreasonable ;-)

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Heather February 28, 2012 at 3:23 pm

I used to like being on the pill because I knew exactly when my period is coming, but…honestly, I always know now because two things happen: 1. I feel fat and think I look awful in everything and; 2. Everybody pisses me off.

When I start thinking…you know, I’m really sick of his/her shit or…I really can’t stand him/her..or why the hell did I ever marry him? I look at the calendar and count back & go …oh…right. OK.

Angry and fat. Totally accurate indication that Aunt Flow is coming to visit.

I wrote about it on my blog today…and I can’t wait to see what my husband thinks of this when I get home. LOL. :-) http://atouchofcass.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/just-write-15-now-thats-love/

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Elsie February 28, 2012 at 3:45 pm

For years my husband would say impatiently, “You get like this every month.” And I would snarl “Oh no I don’t! Don’t you dare say ‘whatever was upsetting me’ is due to pms.” Then a day or two later the sun would come out and all was rosy. I guess it’s part of being feminine and that’s what I wish I could have known before I crossed to the other side of the Red Sea. At 56 I’d give an awful lot for just a little bit of fluctuating hormone…sigh.

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Hannah (Balancing on Two Feet) February 28, 2012 at 4:23 pm

I so identify with this! I however have worse symptoms from ovulation than PMS! The days before and during ovulation I loose my mind, get insanely bloated, and am beyond irritable. It seems to resolve itself a few days later and the actual PMS symptoms are nothing in comparison. I too get the “everybody hates me” feeling. That is how I always know that my period is about to start!

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Jody - Fit at 54 February 28, 2012 at 7:36 pm

When I had it it told me that I hated it & it was a pain in the arse! It also led me to carbs & yelling! ;-)

Now, who knows as it came & went & came & went & came & went for almost a year & came back & now gone again – I hate hormones! ;-)

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TwoDiffSocks February 28, 2012 at 8:02 pm

skeptigirl–In the olden days, women used rags

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KDA February 28, 2012 at 8:15 pm

It bothers me that menopause is treated like an illness. When did aging become pathological? As for my period, the DivaCup has changed my life.

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Lina February 28, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Thanks for reminding us to be kind to ourselves. I definitely agree, women on their periods get treated like they have a terrible disease, and that is really unfair, since it’s a perfectly natural thing.

Sometimes, when I’m on my period, I go home early. I’m in grad school and I’m a bit more flexible with my work schedule, so I can do that. I go home, put on comfy pants and plunk down on the couch with hot tea. And yes, I’ll probably treat myself to a whole row of silly TV shows on hulu ;) and I indulge in copious amounts of expensive dark chocolate.

Btw, the week *after* my period is when I hate the world. I hate all of it, and all the people in it and I can be pretty awful. I always try to remind myself that it’s ok to hate everything, because I know it’ll be gone within one week of the end of my period. I started journaling to vent my feelings so that I don’t accidentally say wrong things to the people I love.

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Lisa February 28, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Try transdermal magnesium oil — you’ll get more mag in your system without the risk of the runs. You can put some on a gauze pad at night and use some medical paper tape to tape it to the soles of your feet. You’ll absorb it better that way. I know it sounds crazy but cut open a clove of garlic and rub up the sole of your foot — see how long it takes for you to taste garlic! When your hormones start fluttering, put some mag oil in a dish pan and put your feet in it. Just takes enough to cover your arches not your whole foot. Got cramps — put mag oil on a wash cloth, put it on your tummy and top it off with a heating pad. works on your back too. You can also use castor oil to relieve cramps — use it the same way but use a ratty old wash cloth that you’ll never use again — castor oil is thick and doesn’t wash out.

I’ve tried a lot of mag oils (trust me — some of them are no-so-good!) and my favorite by far is from Global Light Network (www.globallight.net). Stick with the oil vs. the gel — it’s more potent. Magnesium is so important for so many things in our bodies and most of us don’t get enough. I’ll bet your mom was low in it too — and we pass those deficiencies from generation to generation.

In the meantime — while you’re enjoying a good 20 minute footsoak — try reading The Red Tent. I think our frayed social fabric has unraveled a lot of our safety nets as women. It’s a good book but have a good-sized box of Kleenex ready if you read it any time near “the zone”.

BTW — I’ve noticed, now that I’m almost done with this whole bleed every month thing — that whatever my emotional state is going into the zone, my hormones just ramp it up to the power of 10. If I’m in a great, happy, relaxed place — ow, cramp….and everything is okay. If I’m stressed — I’m sharp, mean, and brutally honest. If I’m already dark and brooding, I become a shrew from the 8th layer of hell and anything anyone says is fair game for removing their testicles….with a dull, rusty knife….slowly….with words that will cut to the depths of someone’s soul. But other than that —

And, whoever came up with that “Have a Happy Period” campaign can bite me no matter what my DefCon rating is!

Try the mag oil. Seriously!!

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Esmerelda February 28, 2012 at 9:35 pm

I am praying for early menopause. About my period… What’s worse? The horrible cramps that wake me up in the middle of the night? The days of negativity beforehand? The days of brain fog and lethargy during my cycle? The fact that it’s completely irregular? The pill just made me worse…I actually felt kinda psycho on it, not to mention bloated like a whale…so I live with three to five days of hell each month. I’m starting to get hot flashes so maybe “the change” isn’t too far away!

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Kat February 29, 2012 at 8:31 am

I am going to say that they can tell you… a lot

I actually was malnourished from a really young age and my insides never fully developed… Which, due to improper eating of my own accord later on, I didn’t find out about until I was 20… I had to go on progesterone. Now I don’t have to take it to get a period (apparently the fake hormones helped to revive my period… first fake, then slowly become real) and while I can’t say I love that time that happens about every couple of months for me I do know that I have to take care of myself to get it.

It’s a sign of health. It’s a sign that you’re able to have children… which even though I’ve never had children – when I heard that I would probably not be able to (they weren’t sure if the progesterone would work) it still made me sad.

I think sometimes in this whole “women are equal to men” movement, we forget that yes… we might be equal, but YES we are different.

Why hide those differences? Aren’t we, by hiding them, saying that they are a weakness that necessitates hiding?

//ramble

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Quix February 29, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I get what you get too – however, luckily (sorry), mine only lasts a day or 2 at most. I need major amounts of red meat, and crave chocolate (totally stereotypical but so true). I’m pretty much dragging myself around doped up on aleve wishing I could just curl up and die and not think.

While exercise helps in the moment (sometimes), it doesn’t do anything long term and I usually just take it as a rest day, or at least, do something mellow like the elliptical.

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Pam March 1, 2012 at 9:14 pm

I would wholeheartedly second KDA’s DIvaCup recommendation…but don’t use one with an IUD! I was told it was okay to use a cup…until it dislodged my IUD and I had to go to an after-hours emergency clinic to get it removed. My ob/gyn called at “learning experience.” What a fiasco.

Many years ago, when I commented on how tired I get on my period, an ob/gyn nurse gave me a couple recommendations (not based on my specific health, just general “good for anybody” type of suggestions): vitamin B6, 50 mg every day; and vitamin B12, 1000 mcg per week. They made the world of difference. I also add a glass of tomato juice on day one (an old habit from my childhood to resist dehydration in the desert; I was always told it was for the potassium but I don’t know if that’s the only thing that makes it work). At this point it may be just a placebo for me, but it makes me feel rejuvenated.

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Pam March 1, 2012 at 9:20 pm

I almost forgot, one more thing: “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler. A good read.

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Lisa March 4, 2012 at 9:43 am

This post had me giggling. The brain fog can be so bad that I will be in the middle of a sentence and totally lose what I was going to say. Example, “The other day I was going to go to the……uuhhhhhhh….hmmm. No idea what I was going to say!” LOL

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Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf March 18, 2012 at 2:10 am

ABSOLUTELY YES! This has really been the major factor in managing my (however mild) PCOS. Since I choose not to use hormonal pharmaceuticals (I used to. And the side effects were traumatic, even long–years–after I stopped taking them), I have to listen to what my cycle is telling me every month. I take my temperatures every morning and monitor other “fertility” signs. Even though I’m not looking to get pregnant, this helps keep me in tune with what is going on in my body. For example, several tests I had last year told me I had high DHEA/DHEAS, high estrogen, low 17-OH progesterone, low cortisol, imbalanced FSH/LSH, and normal everything else. This isn’t exactly textbook PCOS stats, so I have to look at my issues differently. My OBGYN had no real answers for me, but my holistic doctor explained that one cause of my androgen dominance could be that my adrenals were overcompensating for the lack of cortisol with overproduction of DHEA/DHEAS. In turn, the imbalance in my adrenals was leading to an imbalance in my reproductive system, making my periods heavy and irregular. He suggestion a number of dietary changes to manage blood sugar, cutting gluten, and regular weight-bearing exercise.

Now I had done consistent exercise in the past, which lead to no improvement in my problems. But I had never done consistent weight-bearing exercise in tandem in these dietary changes until the last few months. And like magic, the month I started working out 2+ days per week in addition to low-gluten, managed-carbohydrate diet, I ovulated on day 15 (compared to day 19), and got my next period on day 28. Same happened the next month. And so far it looks to be that way for this month as well. And I have NEVER EVER before this year had cycles that short or regular, nor periods that light. I even had a period with absolutely no cramps–another feat.

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Dr. Cranmer March 19, 2012 at 11:47 am

Great information here- i wanted to add that many of my patients benefit greatly from chiropractic adjustments. Often when your lower spine is working overtime during your cycle, the muscles are screaming. My patients come in and find that they can cope much better when they get adjusted.

http://www.sherwoodchiropracticcenter.com
Thanks

Dr. C

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Jen July 29, 2012 at 7:20 pm

I like this so much. This is exactly how I am! I laughed so hard I was crying. Bc I don’t feel “crazy” all month long, I forget what it is that makes me this way. (hormones) thank u for this post,

Jen.

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steph August 14, 2012 at 10:11 am

Oh you all have made my day! I feel like im not an alien. Mine is bad the week before my period and I know it so i try not to voice my anger and keep reminding myself that I am just being over sensitive. oh and add a full moon and lord watch out but that’s another story. Also I always have “blonde moments” but do seem more during that week. My poor Bf I told him to write it on the calendar to not piss me off that week.lol I am currently on yaz well generic bc yaz is too crazy expensive and still have crazy week mode. I try to control cravings when I can, and well I hate to work out but hate the love handle more but it completely make sense the whole relax and body telling u more just which it wasn’t so persistent. I was possibly looking for some over the counter to help w mood. But for right I may have to work on taking more care of myself that week and up the vitamins. But thank you all for reminding me this is normal and maybe plan a spa day for me that week and a golf outting for the Bf for dealing w me that week Hehe.

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Gabs September 12, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Before i recently pegged the PMS emotional stuff to why i was always so teary, I litterally thought I was going crazy. I’d get mad and sad and start to cry at the stupidest things or the tiniest comments–even blowing some friendships horribly, but when I go “I sooooo didn’t mean that! I was PMSing,” nobody except the boys take that excuse. The girls think “You don’t get THAT emotional–you’re just a b****” When THEY don’t get that and I did…now I know to warn my friends a week before so it doesn’t look like an afterthought to cover the damages.

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Milly September 19, 2012 at 1:13 am

I don’t do tearful, I get hateful and vengeful and want to be quite nasty … in fact sometimes I am when it’s a really bad month! Oddly the day it arrives, I feel a surge of happiness and optimism that cannot be matched and could adopt fluffy bunnies and kittens and love everyone But once it hits and for the next few days, I feel like Michael Douglas in “Falling Down” and want to do damage to everyone and everything. I still firmly believe that if men had this, the world be either be an awful place with more wars and destruction, or there would have been a cure for PMS by now … and yes it is that time of the month dear!

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wanderingyogitoes October 8, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Thanks for posting a well thought out piece on this topic! I completely agree when you mention “not wanting to pathologize something that is completely normal” by taking birth control pills like Yaz or an anti-depressant to manage PMS. Our society medicalizes natural female processes such as child birth, birth control, and the hormonal fluctuations of menopause. I do not think we should take altering our bodies with pharmaceuticals and hormones so lightly as we don’t know the long term effect. On that note, I’m pleased to hear you are using a natural remedy, magnesium to help! I once heard chocolate contains magnesium, which acts as a muscle relaxant and soothes cramps. Enjoy that chocolate!

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Diane October 11, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Thank you so much for writting this article. It really helped me to remember to listen to my body. I am not a freak for being super tired or emotional during my period. Even though I am 26 years old and have had it for a while, this article has finally helped me to see that I am not alone in the hormona fluctuation. This was a breath of fresh air to read. Yes society has made us forget and even though I am a feminist I do feel feminism has made it so that we are ashamed to have PMS or anything else biological that is deemed as “weak.” Thanks again so much. Next month I will def not kick myself in the ass for missing that work out and calling myself lazy. I will say my body can’t handle this right now and that is ok.

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Nicole October 24, 2012 at 5:21 am

You guys are so lucky that ur periods are light and birth control works for u.
Since I was 11 and up to now 29 I have all the symptoms and they are the maximum strength. Cramps are off the charts in the pain level 800 Mg of moltrin doesn’t barely touch the pain, moods are every where depression, bloating, fatigue , sleeplessness, pimples, my flow is like niagra falls x10 and im so irregular i never know when im gonna have it. it gives me no warnings until its to late and im stuck some where without pertection. I’ve been on every pill u imagine and none worked to help, and top it off I have IBS (google it) and they make meds for that and none seem to help with that also.

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Kp November 6, 2012 at 1:23 am

First of all, thank you for writing this article and thank you other ladies for posting, too. I think it’s important that women band together and support each other in this and not make it so taboo. We are the ones suffering after all, so the last thing we need is for us to feel worse about “being pms”. Secondly, I love that most of you wrote, we need to take it easy on those days. We always feel we have to be “super women” and it’s just not realistic. We can simply be “women” some days, too, and that is just perfect. To some of the women out there that have bad cramps and bleeding, I can tell you something that works. It’s hard at first, but it’s worth it and it works. Reduce the amount of sugar and alcohol intake, and increase the exercise. Do what you can. You can’t go cold turkey, but I can tell you this, it really works. It doesn’t help with the mood swings, I’m afraid, but it helps with the actual period part. As for my PPMD, I want to scream, cry, quit my job, divorce my husband, move to a deserted island and ram my car into anyone that cuts me off. It’s bad. Then a few days later, I’m happy as a lark. I’m not exactly sure why my husband puts up with me, but thankfully he does. OH, and the brain fog…Let’s just say the fog is REALLY dense. I’m that way today. I had to tell my business partner, “okay, it’s here, just talk me through everything slowly and like I’m a small child!”. Otherwise, I swear I won’t get it. (Usually I’m very quick, but for a couple days, I make molasses look fast.). Anyway, if anyone has any natural remedies for severe PMS, I’m all ears!!!

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Shirley November 8, 2012 at 6:27 am

I am so glad you wrote this post. I thought I was the only one who went through this so crazily at the age of 30. Since about 23 I have had the worst PMS like you described but no one I know seems to have it like I do. I get really moody, depressed, obsessive, a lot of self hate talk goes on and i think my world is falling apart. I make really bad decisions during that time. I argue with those close to me and pretty much almost ruin my life every month during that time. The symptoms last about 2 weeks and then its like a fog has lifted as you said and I become normal again and i can’t believe I said and done some of things I do during that time. I’m just on my last day of my red days now and the fog has just lifted but during the last couple of weeks i have been all over the place. Obsessiveness and self hate for me are the worst elements of it for me. I usually end up calling and texting an ex or guy i like over and over and over again or self hating – saying negative things to myself over and over and over. Its absolutely horrible. Like you I spend the rest of the month running around at 100mph and actually in control so I find it very hard to deal with. For 2 weeks of every month I am completely lost and just a little crazy. Really wish I new the answer because it has actually caused me to ruin relationships and even meant I have had to take time out of work sometimes because its been so bad. I try to make sure I keep exercising, socialising and taking vitamins during that time as these are the only things that I have found help to reduce the effects of PMS as they kind of shake my mind into control a little and remind me that its PMS time and its just my hormones but its hard to get out of the depressive / crazy state and actually exercise, socialise and take vitamins. I also try to remember while going through the red to take it easy on myself but this i fail at every time. But reading this post I think your sister really has a point about taking it easy during that time but for 2 weeks?? That is not possible in the modern world but I will certainly try to incorporate more rest during that time. Most months I only manage to exercise, socialise and take vitamins on the last two days, by then its too late the damage has already been done over the last two weeks at which point I just feel completely embarrassed for all the craziness I’ve inflicted. Been to the doctors about it and yes they just say its stress or take pills but I get side effects from the contraceptive pills I’ve tried in the past. The last one i tried made me have a period for months on end and made no difference to the PMS so I gave up on medicating it that way but if anyone knows the cure for this thing I am all ears too!

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Bronwyn November 14, 2012 at 10:05 am

This is a totally fascinating post. I’ve noticed over the years as things change in my life, and I change, so does my period. And I don’t just mean from a, well I’m so stressed and my period has now disappeared, but also my PMS (pre and post) are very different at different times. I agree that your period can definitely be telling you something. And like we say when it comes to excersing/eating/everything else, it is REALLY IMPORTANT to listen to your body. So why don’t we when it comes to our monhly visits from Aunt Flow?
Very interesting. Thanks for posting.

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MagnesiumWorks&WantMoreWonderTips! November 22, 2012 at 2:56 am

Yes, thank you so much for posting this. Woke with lower tummy cramp so bad this morning I could barely move let alone walk. Put a teaspoon of the magnesium citrate I now use in a bottle of water, drank the whole thing over about 15mins, went back to sleep about 45mins and had no cramp since. It is a life changer. If someone had told me earlier how we women deplete Magnesium faster than men if we drink alcohol, coffee, etc, I might have passed high school calculus!
Magnesium powder has been a life changer for me. I used to get killer lower tummy cramps, bloating, incredibly painful leg/thigh aches and pains, and almost none of that now. Just had the tears today though. Its “the world is going to end” feeling. Embarrassing as I end up crying, but don’t want to go back to my room as it feels too lonely, so shed silent tears in cafes across Asia, the US, whereever. Kinda nuts. Had some Dong Kuai this morning and that doesn’t seem to have helped. Had a hot chocolate half and hour ago and it seems to have helped! Already take tons of vitamins. From all I’ve read we only absorb around 1% of VitB tablets. There is a spray we can get which ups it to around 50%, or apparently getting more acidopholis helps us absorb all better when our digestive bacteria are better. Actually, I was doing really well when I made the homemade Yoghurt set you can get (no sugar) and ate about 4-6 huge tablespoons full each morning. Felt strengthening. Maybe thats what I’m missing now. As I write I’m getting cravings for yoghurt and kimchi or natto (all have acidophilis) which are short supply here in Cambodia. Will have to find out what the local ladies take. Yes, ….there is so much Ancient Wisdom we need to bring ourselves back to.
And no, I’ve never medicated. What I do value is being totally in touch with my true emotions, which I feel also keeps me in touch with my spirit, intuition, path, inner knowing,…I’ve dreamed things often which happened later in life. While I don’t yet know how to control any of this, I at least value these messages about when I’m on the right path for my place in the world….even with the teary days along the way,…where I let go of all sadness I hold about things I see in the world I walked past in such a rush on the other days of the month?……
Maybe these times are supposed to teach us to remember love (romantic, for people in need) which we might otherwise forget if we just powered around all the time. Is this not the beauty of the feminine? To allow in? Including the sadness.
Okay, feeling a bit better from having written this. I usually find cathartic expression helps when I’m shattered in these tears at this time of the month! At high school I would paint dark black and red pictures!

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Beth December 7, 2012 at 8:19 am

I hope my advice will be able to help some of you. I’ve dealt with all the above for….let’s see… 26 years now. (Wow – that makes me feel soooo old!). I have been diagnosed with endometriosis, which is probably responsible for much of the pain, but the rest is just the hormones (damn them!). However, I’ve read everything possible about PMS (PMT as it used to be), and now PMDD, and here’s what I’ve learned:

1. You really are what you eat. Many foods, and particularly highly-processed ones, affect our hormones. If you try to eat a diet that includes as much fresh fruit and veg as possible, has as little caffeine and sugar as possible, avoids toxins and additives as much as possible, and includes things like ‘good’ (omega 3 & 6) oils and kale, it will help. Also try to eat organic foods (fewer toxins).
2. Caffeine *really* contributes to my breast pain. It’s very very hard to balance not drinking caffiene with staying awake, because I also get insomnia for a week before my period, but I do my best to stick to tea, and NO COFFEE.
3. Our bodies need oils for our hormones to stay balanced. I take starflower oil for 2 weeks before my period.
4. Supplements can be good – and are much better than drugs – I also take 100mg vitamin B6, and dong quai for my 2 PMS weeks, and I think they help.
5. Exercise will raise your serotonin levels and make you feel better, no matter how bad your mood. Don’t skip yoga when you’re pre-menstrual! Maybe try doing some restorative poses instead of an intense ashtanga practice :-)
6. Try to honour your body’s tiredness and sleep more than usual. (I wish I could do this – but see insonmia, above. Not yet found a cure for that one!)
7. Many people have food intolerances that can make PMS worse. I feel much better since cutting out wheat, and I my period pain’s much reduced from compared with when I used to be in agony for 4 hours before passing out.
8. When you crave sugar, it’s because your blood sugar levels are unstable. If you then go for a cake or chocolate or something very sweet, your blood sugar will recover, then go high, then you’ll crash again. That’s why you get a cycle-thing going of craving when you’re pre-menstrual. The solution is to eat small, balanced meals – and make sure you eat every 2 or 3 hours, to keep your blood sugar levels more even.
9. Stress will make PMS worse, but none of us can avoid that, so try to find some coping mechanisms, like breathing exercises, yoga, or meditation, to reduce the effect stress has on your body.

I hope I don’t sound too preachy – I’m just trying to share some things that have worked for me, because I know how utterly debilitating PMS can be. I still have bad months, but on the whole my symptoms are far less intense than they used to be. I still get that one day immediately before my period when I want to cry in a corner because nobody loves me(!) but I tend to recognise it for what it is, look at myself objectively, put on my sensible hat and point out to myself how silly I’m being, and that these are phantom emotions that will be gone tomorrow :-)

I might try magnesium – that’s one I’ve not ventured into yet. Thanks for the tip!

Beth

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Laurel December 28, 2012 at 10:38 am

I have the exact same, “everyone hates me” problem. My boyfriend knows my period is coming when he hears it starting. I was having 15 day long periods and went through 9 gynos in Taiwan before finding one who gave me a hormone regulator – not birth control. What a difference!

I wish daily that we could go back to making menstration time, sacred time – and frequently mention that women should be alloted 2-3 sick days a month to deal with the horror movie scenario that befalls us on our period.

Thank you so much for your piece. :)

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Kay January 26, 2013 at 12:56 pm

My period is definitely telling me that something is wrong. I was on the pill for a brief stint, but when I graduated I was booted from my mom’s insurance and the job I have now has no affordable options. Anway, I will say that when I was on the pill my flow was so so so much ligther and the pain was much much less intense. Now, things are pretty much back to normal (which is really not normal at all) with the pain, the heavy flow, the vomiting, the missed days from work, the fatigue, and the general achiness. Le sigh.

I am trying to naturally “cure” myself with different exercises and by taking a fistful of supplements and vitamins with the hope that I will eventually find the right combination and be able to take fewer NSAIDS during that time of the month. On top of the vitamins, I probably go through about 24 Aleve tablets just to manage the pain during the 5 to 7 days of my period.

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laura March 15, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Girl, I have MAD respect for this blog. I’ve had people roll their eyes right in my face when I try to tell them I’m trying to stop crying or stand up or walk faster, but my symptoms are so bad that I cannot control them. The only person who has take it seriously is my ex-boyfriend. He’s lived through it. I have a profound respect for women that go through Shark Week at a 9-5 job. I wonder if I was drawn into a creative profession because I feel unreliable since the first days before shark week, I can get so upset and people take me seriously although I ask them not to. I’m an actress in Los Angeles, but I feel like all my moments of being “emotional” or a “cry baby” when I’m off screen come during this time. I’ll start crying and want to stop and know I’m fine and there’s no point, I can’t stop. I have awful cramps and headaches and crave sugar like crazy. I’ve tried three different types of birth control, and I feel like my hormones get immune to them because after 4 months, my cramps and mood swings are worst than before. what can I do? I think exercise is the only thing that helps.

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Angie April 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Thank you for such a honest article. I love it, I typed into Google, what is it about my period that makes my brain go crazy, and this is the first thing that popped up. lol. I don’t feel less crazy, but I do feel less guilty. I will use this article to show hubby that its not just me :). I try to hard to control myself because its hard to explain why I want to punch you in your face one minute, then the next i’m crying because I love you so much. ugh. did you ever find anything that’s helped?

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Krystal April 25, 2013 at 6:17 pm

Hey there,
I started my “time of the woman” when I was 11 yrs old. From the very start, it never came on a regular schedule. It would be every other month or so, for just a few days. Or every 6 months for 8 days! Then as I got older, I was too busy working 3 jobs to really care that I had actually gone almost a year and a half without a cycle!! I’ve talked with several drs. Told them I knew it wasn’t normal. But they never offered answers. They always made a comment about possibly stress or due to my weight. Which is a whole other thing! I’ve always kept busy and loved dancing and sports. Yet I have a hard time losing weight! I’ve had my thyroid checked, blood work, etc. Yet everything they said, was ok. Every time I now try to go see the dr (gyno) they won’t even do a check up, cause they say since I’m a virgin (which shocks them cause I’m now 27)…. They always tell me “it’s probably stress and your weight. Once you loose the weight, you should be fine and it will become regular!”
Umm, no… Like I said, I’m 27! This isn’t normal. I should not go a yr without a cycle. Ya know?? Does anyone have this problem?
I’d appreciate any and all advice! Thank you!

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Charlotte April 25, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Hi Krystal! I’m NOT a doctor but based on the little info you provided it sounds like you definitely need to find a doc who will listen to you. Read up on polycystic ovarian syndrome and see if that fits your symptoms – it’s a start?

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Funda February 16, 2014 at 6:42 am

Hello Krystal and Charlotte,

I was looking for a cure for the brain fog lasting for a couple of days or more before the time of my menstruation, then found this blog, thank you very much Charlotte. Given this nice opportunity, at this point, I have experiences/ideas that I would like to share with both of you.

Krystal, I went through similar times. Once I did not have my period for about 2 years ! It was a time when I was fed up with the hospital environment regarding similar but slighter past problems and so did not visit any doctor in those years. I was miserable, my psychology was dramatically altered at that time. Then it started spontaneously! I think the reasons behind this long problematic time were having lost weight too fast (over exercising, not eating enough by quantity or variety, since I did not eat any red meat for a long long duration in my life) and stress. Also there is a possibility that I may have a “slight” level of lupus disease now, so maybe I also had it at that time, I do not know yet. Additionally, I had -again a slight level of- thyroid disfunction. Anyway, then I had my menstruation back (without any drugs), I had gained a lot of weight by that time, which I later gave off slowly, returning to my ideal weight. About 10 years after that, I went to the doctor because I had been having some irregularities (had menstruation every month but sometimes also in the middle of the month). Although these irregularities were not severe, given the past horrible experience, I did not want to leave it to chance but learn what is wrong with me before it is too late. The doctor diagnosed me PCOS and prescribed Yasmin for 9 months, as well as iron pills -because, although not severe, I still had iron deficiency due to not eating red meat. Due to practical reasons and for better communication, at the end of this time, I changed my doctor. The new doctor told me that PCOS disease is the “most common wrongly diagnosed women’s disease” and that nothing important is or was wrong with me (he examined my blood tests at the time of the past diagnosis and also showed me in the ultrasound device that I did not match the PCOS profile), so I am not on any drug now. Plus, maybe Yasmin helped me a little because my mid-time bleeding is less now, although, as far as I understand, it was not much of a problem at the beginning either. I agree that finding a good doctor as well as looking after yourself well are very important (if you have excess of weight as the contrary to my old situation, giving it may be very beneficial for you). Although you are a virgin like me (yes, still!) you can have abdominal ultrasound analysis which still shows a satisfactory view for the diagnosis of PCOS. But be aware that, the second doctor who said that PCOS was a wrong diagnosis also told me that, it gives different results when a clinician doctor (like him – a gynecologist) performs the ultrasound analysis, because the experts whose work focuses on the analyses with that device may not be able to look in the same clinical way like him. It is true I think, because ultrasound analysis was used also at the time of the PCOS diagnosis and they had told me that PCOS was likely (afterwards, combining this with blood test results, a clinician had diagnosed PCOS, but actually it appears that the blood tests did not exactly show PCOS either). One last note, I went to the doctors outside US and I do not have knowledge about whether abdominal ultrasound is commonly used in US for such purposes or not, but it is one of the good ways to figure out if you have PCOS or not when the analysis is done by a truly qualified person.

And Charlotte, I totally agree with you about listening to your body and cutting some slack at the PMS time. This is also one big change that I have made in my life compared to those past years. I would like to add that it might be a good way to lower the rate of life even on the days without the PMS, I mean the times after the menstruation before the next PMS time. Sometimes when I felt guilty about the PMS time’s laziness, I used to try to compensate it by overworking at the other times but it was probably not a wise choice of mine. I think if we do not target excessivey high on the times without PMS then our body may not need to tell us so insistently in our PMS times that we should rest, and then we could be more energetic and less absent-minded at the PMS times. I am trying to apply this principle to my own life too :) In that way I think we could decrease the body’s fluctuations and approach closer to a more balanced relationship between PMS and non-PMS times. But nevermind these if in that over-achieving mode you do not skip meals or sleep or get into much stress.

I think I will continue reading through this website for the fog issue :)

Best wishes to you all..

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Funda February 16, 2014 at 11:06 am

Correction: Of course I meant pelvic ultrasound analysis (the type of it that is applied from the outside to virgin women), so please replace the word abdominal with pelvic while reading :)

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Lorraine October 13, 2013 at 2:58 am

Sounds like you need to lose the weight, like they say. More fat, means more estrogen, which means more symptoms. I’m about 13% fat, I don’t even know my period is coming, it just shows up. I have mild, mild breast tenderness – and that is my only symptoms. I exercise 2 hours a day, 6 days a week, 30 minutes on Sundays btw. I just eat vegetables, fish, poultry, fresh fruit, rice and olive oil. Herbs and roots and spices as well. Plus, magnesium.

When I was a higher body fat %, like 16%, and wasn’t exercising regularly and eating SAD, I was a mess, like the women here, symptoms were horrible.

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Krystal April 25, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Thank you. I actually have almost all those symptoms!

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Kels May 9, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Arggg I would just like to say, THANKS…. xD I know when my visit is coming but never the exact day ;-; Perfect example was today… I had a rough cut off in a relationship, usually it make me upset, but this time… I was devastated…I just couldn’t keep anything in…I was sooo depressed I wanted to commit. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve been diagnosed with depression… But thats under control! So when this day/week comes… I just go into a mental insanity. it’s horrible! Long story short… after a long very hard day, aunt flow arrived…and I feel so much better and relaxed… So after my breakdown I thought to see if anyone else has these episodes…. of pure depression…and Reading your artical was fun xD…

thank you so much for relating to us all ;-; I really agree that we need this day or week of rest argg.

Thank you!

Kels (18yr old – just thought i’d mention age idk ;-;)

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Chanel May 23, 2013 at 12:01 am

Lord, when you mentioned white pants, bought back memories when I first came on my period. I was eight years old, yes eight, almost nine when I first came on my period. I didn’t know what was going on with me, my mom didn’t have “the talk” with me so I didn’t know what a period was except for a period after a sentence. Anyway, I was in school when “Aunt Flow” decided to stop by and I had on white pants, I went to the bathroom and saw brown spots in my pants that was pretty curious for any eight year old girl. Wondering what it was and how did it get there.

School was almost over so I dealt with my stomach ache like any other except it was worst than any other stomach ache before but instead of going to the nurse office I stayed in class. Thank God my mom picked me up from school that day. I told her about the brown spots in my pants and she thought that I didn’t wipe myself that good, but she thought about it and realized that I wouldn’t told her that, if I didn’t wipe myself that good. I guess that’s when the light bulb came on to her that I had officially started my period. She gave me a pad and told me to put it in my underwear and gave me some darker jeans to put on.

She called my tuter and told her that I will not be coming that afternoon because I just started. For hours and hours nothing would stay down no food no ginger ale no nothing. I got really sick. When I started to feel a little bit better that night, my mom still haven’t told me what was going on with me, she called my cousin to give me “the talk”. For a few years after my first cycle I continued to get sick when “Aunt Flow” came to town.

But now at the age of twenty-four, I don’t get sick. I used to take mydol for cramps but now they are bearable and I can deal with it without any meds, but now I usually get very hot to the point I don’t like covers on me and I usually wear something light and breathable at night. I drink plenty of waters which I think helps out with the cramps take a lot of hot baths for a lengthy period of time then I use the detatchable shower head to massage my stomach and if I do have it I drink hot lemonade which always hit the spot. I don’t drink sodas anymore which used to trigger my cramps really bad. I just started to excersize on a regularly and that seems to help as well.

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Chanel May 23, 2013 at 12:13 am

I forgot I am irregular too which NEVER, EVER helps me. Comes when it wants to, twice a month sometimes. Try to count from my last period to the next it never helps.

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Yvonne June 30, 2013 at 1:10 pm

I go through this too. Was diagnosed with PMDD and the gyno put me on Zoloft, told me to take it the 3 or 4 days before my period to block the seratonin crash caused by the drop in progesterone. Progesterone drops right before our periods and that’s why we feel so crappy. Progesterone is tied to seratonin and when it’s at it’s highest, during ovulation, we feel great. This is also why, once we start bleeding, we feel relief. The progesterone isn’t falling anymore. It now begins its steady climb back toward ovulation .

My acupuncturist taught me all this. My intuition told me something was off about taking Zoloft. Why treat the seratonin when the progesterone was causing the seratonin crash?

I took the Zoloft once or twice and it made me feel numb. Forget that ladies. We don’t need Zoloft. My acupuncturist and homeopathic doctor prescribed natural bio identical progesterone, which I now take the last 4 or so days before my period.

I feel so much better. I feel like myself. I still feel connected to my body. I might get the blues a little but it’s nothing like the soul crushing mood destroying nightmare I used to experience.

I also learned a lot from an awesome book called “What your doctor may not tell you about premenopause” by John lee: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0446614955/ref=redir_mdp_mobile

Good luck ladies. Don’t let all these medical doctors convince you you need antidepressants. Stay connected and trust your intuition xo

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Miss Single Momma 29ish July 2, 2013 at 8:28 am

Thank you for sharing you experiences!

My mother has a progesterone and sometime other hormone imbalances, and

I suspect that I do as well.

I had a negative reaction much like you described to Zoloft as a teen.

And I wonder if I tried a natural bio identical hormone balancing system, which my mom has in the past, if it might help me a bit.

I take bystolic, a very low dose, for a mild heart condition for a few years now, and I take clonazepam, a very low dose, for a few years now, which allows me to sleep better, have less nightmares, and feel calm more, which is an absolute miracle in my eyes.

I have been complaining to my current doctor for several years that I think I may need some hormone tests done and that I would like to have an ultrasound down.

I don’t have health insurance, and she just really doesn’t seem to care at all about what I am going through.

It might be time for me to try to save up some money to go to get my female check ups at a specialists office again, rather than at my primary care (who is a woman, so you’d think she would be more caring), so that I can get better care in that area of my health.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Sincerely,

Me :)

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Miss Single Momma 29ish July 2, 2013 at 8:18 am

Thank you so much for making this post! Every part of it was like someone was reading my experiences.

I love how you talked about past cultural and other current cultural ways of society responding to women with more understanding and consideration during this time of month.

We certainly are treated like we are supposed to be robots, rather than women. It is so incredibly frustrating, and unfortunately, I find, it has changed the way men expect us to be (like robots or like them) and the way we view ourselves (like we are failures for not being able to operate like little perfect robots).

The tips on slowing downs, focusing on resting more, and making sure your magnesium intake is good is excellent advice. These are things that I have definitely noticed help me!

I found out about those two tips from a magazine I love called Women’s World that I buy at Wal-Mart and I have fallen in love with it!

When I was growing up, my mom especially could be really mean about my hormone fluctuations. It seemed everyone wanted me to be a perfect robot person, instead of a woman, who needed kindness, gentleness, and consideration, and more education about what her body was going through.

Something that I do now when I feel fatigue is try to eat a banana or sip cold coconut juice. Sweet potatoes I have noticed when I eat them more regularly seem to have an INCREDIBLE effect on my hormonal side effects that are more unpleasant.

My period is supposed to start in a couple of days, and my breasts are so swollen and big and sore, it’s unreal!!!

I also experience the days sometime before sometimes after my period, when I am weepy and down or anxious and don’t want to be under any extra stress.

I read an article by a male doctor that explained the sad days thing, and he basically said that your body is creating hormones that make it easier to access sad or stressful memories, and your brain chemistry is just different on those days, and the best thing, like you said, is to try to be aware of it, and be kind to yourself.

I also like that you suggested to be aware that your body is trying to tell you something.

I worry a lot that I should get an ultrasound done of my uterus and fallopian tubes etc because I had two women in my family who had cancer on or next to their lady part. Thankfully both were removable and not a severe spreading kind of growth type.

I take vitamin c, and sometimes a flinstones multi with iron, and sometimes a cranberry supplement or sip cranberry juice.

I could go on and on about my hormonal experiences lol, so I better end this here.

I’m hormonal right now, and am realizing I’m rambling a bit.

Anyway, thank you so much for sharing this article.

It made this morning so wonderful for me to feel like someone completely understood me, and I hope that as a single mom to a wonderful little girl, that I can teach her all the things I wish I would have known growing up and again about my body, especially to be kind and patience with herself, and to teach the

world that it needs to treat her with the same kindness and patience.

:)

God bless!!! :)

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joanna July 3, 2013 at 7:52 pm

i have been having weird periods since i has my tubes tied in 2009 after i had my youngest son i will start bleedin for a few days then stop for a few days an this goes on for 2 weeks i really dont know what it could be i was told it could be stress but it does it every month even if i aint stressed can someone please help me out thanks

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Leslie July 8, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Thanks for posting this. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who gets weird symptoms. I don’t get bitchy with PMS, but the week before my period, I could sleep 12 hours a day and need a nap at lunch. I get really hot and uncomfortable, even when it’s cold outside. I cry at nothing. I start getting choked thinking about stories that aren’t sad. I constantly crave sugar. The week of my period, I want nothing but meat. My cramps are horrific for the first 1-2 days, sometimes to the point where I’m doubled over and I can feel like “cramp waves” radiating into my hip and leg bones. My period is so heavy I can’t use tampons, because I leak around the super heavy flow ones. The other two weeks of the month, I’m fine. Mother nature is a strange and fickle bitch.

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Krysten July 10, 2013 at 6:28 am

Does anyone else get really really dizzy, to the point where you get up in the morning and can’t go back to sleep and have crazy nausea? This just happened to me this morning. I took my last birth control pill the night before last night so I should be getting my period any day now… I noticed the dizziness and nausea happens around the same time, every time. I have anxiety issues and panic attacks so this dizzy thing really scares me, to the point where I go downstairs at 6am, sit on the couch and cry. My head even feels “full” or crampy…. Then when I get my period, it mostly goes away… Does anyone else feel like this before their period? Anything that helps this go away? I’m glad I’m not alone with all these symptoms…

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kelly July 12, 2013 at 10:16 pm

I have nausea during ovulation time. I Take Compazine 10 mg during the day. I read that it helps with dopamine levels in the brain. I get my doctor to prescribe it to me once a month and it helps out tremendously. I also take Xanax almost 1mg a day for my panic attacks. Doctor says because I take Xanax I need to get my tubes tied, I don’t need a pregnancy with my moods plus because of the Xanax. I do have medical insurance but it does NOT cover that issue. I do try to be careful not to conceive, my regular doctor told me if I get pregnant she said I had to get an abortion that I had no choice. I do go through disturbing thoughts, panicked feelings, and sometimes depression during my ovulation time and my sex drive goes through the roof. I feel “normal” when I am on my period and i have them Every month on time, so I know my cycles pretty good. I do use “woman log” on my android to help with non conception days but again its not 100%. doc says its pretty unlikely to not concieve up to 10 days after start of period before then you should not conceive but sometimes the body can change. My mood swings are pretty dramatic a friend of mine told me I was a BAD person and she dismissed our supposed friendship because my moods are so up and down and I know its hormonal and NOT depression because I have probably been treated with just about every anti-depressant out there and it just made me feel worse to the point to where I tried to commit suicide three times. I got off the anti-depressants and got on Xanax and its been a blessing, I had one child. I am 38 now and still fertile. my birth control pills are absolute at this time because i start to take them and I loose my mind so gyno wont put me back on BC. Im at my last end. the only way I could get persay FIXED is get pregnant so I can get Medicaid to get the help I need to get fixed but Do i really want to do that, NO. its been really hard to ponder all these feelings. disappointment and unstable thoughts I feel my life is spiraling just every which direction.i need to save up 10,000 to get my tubes tied. yeah right when you live paycheck to paycheck how do you do that? Sometimes my hormones get so bad I can not move i get paranoid and have to fight through my day. the best part of my days during this period is Sleeping at night and when I get up it is like golly here we go again so when a psychiatrist says your bi-polar I say as Females we all are, or at least some of us are. Some woman have it worse than others. I can not even hold down a job because of my hormone imbalances. I get moody and start yelling at people.I am on the best regime i can imagine at this point of my life, vitamin D, Xanax and Compazine has helped me but it has not suppressed my high sex ovulation drive. Has anyone tried anything else?

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D11Gaut July 19, 2013 at 12:47 am

So I got my period when I was 13 and it was regular, got it every month same time and wasn’t heavy or abnormal didn’t hurt that much but then last year it started to get irregular went to see a dr they said everything was fine so I just forgot about it and figured it was because of my stress levels and family issues but then I didn’t get it for 6 months finally got it and was in extreme pain couldnt move or anything and I was bleeding like crazy! It wasn’t fun and it lasted for two weeks after that I didn’t get it again for 4 months and now I got it again and its same as before bleeding a lot and in a lot of pain. I went and saw my dr and told me to get a blood test so I’m waiting on the results. But I’ve been wondering what could be causing this and how can I help to fix it. Someone help and answer :)

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Becky November 8, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Your exactly right:) Now we just need to allow ourselves to just rest. And maybe your moody because there is an underlying issue that the hormones and fatigue are just magnifying. Time to rest and reflect on your feelings. Moon=yin=feminine=reflection=going within.

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Susan January 30, 2014 at 12:15 am

Hi. I lived that way from the time I was 11 till 50, post menopausal. I LOVE menopause. And that “the whole world expects me to be on an even keel 365″ well, that was the reasoning behind men not wanting women in the work force. Kinda scary reading this article and looking back 50+ years ago. I am 61 now and I can remember, vividly, once my body went menopausal how totally wonderful it felt to have control. That brain fog can certainly suck some of us who have low self esteem into some very toxic relationships.

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Suzy January 30, 2014 at 12:20 pm

So I realize this post is nearly 2 years old, but I saw some recent comments so I thought I’d share. I’ve always had PMS similar to what was described in this article. In fact, I found this post by googling “crazy hormones before period” because I really want to know how to make the craziness stop! In my 20′s I made a make-up counter clerk cry because she couldn’t hide the gigantic zit on chin and I had a party to go to. I’ve ruined relationships because I was seriously crazy for 1/2 the month, every month. I did have luck with low-dose birth control…took it for 15 years…but was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. My oncologist HIGHLY recommended I stop taking it. I broke down in tears. It was the only thing that made me feel normal most of the time. Now I’m back to 2 weeks of every month feeling irritable, crazy, tired, unreasonable. Acne like a teenager? You bet! I’m 38. This is so incredibly frustrating. Thank goodness I’m married to the most amazing, patient, understanding man in the entire world, but I do not want to be this person for him. I want to be the normal, hormone controlled woman he fell in love with.

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Ashley February 11, 2014 at 2:46 pm

I think mine was. Last April I had surgery to have a giant cyst removed. I looked six months pregnant. I thought my stomach was just really fat. It started to really hurt and it turns out I had an ovarian cyst. I lost 20 pounds from the surgery.

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Kara Skrabacz April 7, 2014 at 11:30 am

Wow…I love this article because I found it during an internet search where I googled “Why do I get so mad at my husband right before my period” I always think its something wrong with our relationship or something he keeps doing wrong, but when I think about it, I get SOO mad for stupid reasons. Then I get confused and sad that I’ve been so mean. I am looking into this to find some relief, hope you do too.
Right now what I am trying is a Calcium/Magnesium combo which is said to help majorly, also going to start taking Evening Primrose oil.
Thanks again!

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Hailee May 24, 2014 at 10:13 pm

I definitely, in a desperate emotional state, googled how to stop feeling crazy when on your period. Then your article appeared and I realized I’m not crazy, we all are! (At least once a month) Thanks for this, I needed reassurance to just chill and take a deep inhale/exhale, and realize the world isn’t out to get me.
Cheers.

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Juliet June 9, 2014 at 9:19 pm

I have the same issues. I used to have an IUD which cause horrible periods. And they have never been the same sense. It also could be age, as I get older they get more dramatic. What helps me is daily exercise
( at least 45 min cardio) and charting regularly
So I know what to expect, and I. Take it easy
And rest those days. The hormones are tricky though , but If I stick with high protein I can curb the sugar and salt cravings. I’ve also read to fight the. Bloating it helps to drink more water than usual.

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raven June 16, 2014 at 8:50 am

Thanks for the great article. It really does feel like we are not allowed to be sad or angry while our hormones are going crazy. And that seems to make you even crazier!

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alice June 28, 2014 at 12:56 am

It is hard to be a women me I usually get my periods 20,21,22,23,sometimes after 24 days or earlier but now I got it after 35 days of my last period which is weird and my periods usually last1-6 but on day 5 I never changed the pad because the blood come out just a little bit and on day6 I use a panty liner but now I’m on day6 and I’m still bleeding and I have pains like period pains but my period pains don’t take time only when I started is there something wrong with me?

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katherine July 19, 2014 at 2:26 pm

I would like to know why I have seizures just before,during or after my periods. I have my doctors so puzzled and they tried every test they could think on me.I honestly think it’s got something to do with my hormones but my doctors think that’s not it. I never had them until after i had my son and got fixed and like clock work every month whether on or off my seizure meds i have seizures can some one please lead me in the direction that might get my doctors listen to me cause they don’t think it’s got anything to do with my periods

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