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Strokes And Periods

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Credit: Victoria Broad of me

This seems to be a subject no one wants to talk about.

We whisper, “I’m on”, like it’s a dirty little secret that no one should know about.

As if having a stroke is not bad enough, throw in your monthly visit from mother nature, and the fact we only have one hand that works, and the fact that most of us are on blood thinners, makes for a huge mess.

So what do I do ? How do I cope? I hear you ask.

This is just my experience on how I cope. This is by no means to say that what you do is wrong. It is just my experience, which I would like to share with you.

I was in hospital for five months following my stroke. I had had my son a months before the stroke. I couldn’t understand why the nurses kept talking to me about “coming on” and that I needed to be “prepared”.

I thought to myself, ‘I have coped with mother nature since the age of 13. I’m 24 years old, I’m sure I can cope with periods now.’

I was wrong. So so wrong.

It was 8 months after giving birth that I “came on”.

O.M.G

It was like the flood gates had opened. I spent most of that week just sitting on the toilet as it was easier than changing a towel every hour and re washing clothes, as I had leaked through.

I use Always night time towels. They are longer than standard towels and absorb more. But saying that I still leaked through.

I foolishly thought, ‘it’s the first period since giving birth, of course it’s going to be bad’. Haaa, I was wrong again. The next month was worse .

The pain was so bad. With rock hard boobs. My tummy seemed to swell to twice its size.

I broke out in what I can only describe as teenage acne. I couldn’t take any more medication as I was on Warfarin, which is a strong blood thinner. You have to have weekly blood tests to check your INR levels.

I found it hard to use Tampax. Coping with the lose of my right side and ‘re learning to do everything with my non dominate hand. I wasn’t ready to learn or re train in how to use a Tampax again.

So I stuck with Always night time towels.

I was then moved to a different blood thinner, Clopidogrel, this is not as harsh as Warfarin.

Again I thought my periods would get better.

Nope. Still the same.

As stroke survivors, most of us can not take any form if hormones like the pill. I had a 2nd stroke after the pill injection. I had the copper coil fitted 1) for contraption 2) in the hope that it would help my periods.

You can guess that it didn’t .

I spent many unhappy years. The pain started two weeks before the period – the period lasted two and half weeks.

It wasn’t until quiet a few years later when I started performing that I found help. My friend recommended Sea sponge tampons.

These are revolutionary. Just push them in. That is it…

Also recommended to me was a moon cup.

This was a bit tricky as you fold the plastic cup which catches the blood and place it inside you. Then leave it for up to 8 hours. My trouble was getting it out without spilling the blood everywhere.

My doctor was well aware of my unhappiness with my periods. We discussed my options and I decided to go for a ablation. Information about them are here.

www.nhs.uk/conditions/heavy-periods/treatment/

I decided that I would go ahead with it. I had heard really mixed reviews but I was prepared to take the chance. At the same time I also made the hard decision to get sterilized at the same time. My stroke was caused by child birth. I had been advised not to have any more children.

After the op I was very sore. But I had no bleeding. It wasn’t until my period due date that the pain started and so did the bleeding. I was so upset it hadn’t worked. The next month came and no bleeding. I still had the pain but no bleeding at all. This was amazing . My whole life for the last 13 years had been planned around my periods. When you go on holiday that’s a huge amount of swimming you miss out on.

I can go on holiday when ever I want to. I can dance in nude clothes if I please..

The pain is getting less and less each month.

In no way am I suggesting every one should have this done . All I want to do is share my experiences with you. It’s been a year next month since I had the operation, and to be honest it’s the best thing that I have done for myself ….

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