I have several stories of my life to narrate, thanks to every month’s menstrual cycle. 15 years of drama in my life has been too much to handle. Every month, I used to go through this terrible pain which used to make me feel paralysed for 2 days.

It looked something like this:

PHYSICALLY, I would get bedridden, vomit many times, could not be able to eat anything, cry in pain as if I was delivering a child (by the way, I am a mum of 2 girls), sweat badly, sometimes have to take pain relief injections, not be able to walk or go to the toilet alone without support, faint many times and be unable to talk much.

MENTALLY, I would be scarred for days. I used to feel very demotivated and unconfident during the time because I used to have no energy to do anything.

Thankfully, my friends and family were always there to help and support me during my difficult days every month. Every single month, I used to ask this question to God: why me and till how long will this go on?

I went to so many doctors, tried several medications, had many medical tests done but couldn’t find the answers to my problem.

Back in school, I was an athlete and a few times, I disappointed my team for not being able to participate in competitions because of my unpredictable cycle. Sadly, people never understood the depth of my problem.

Many times, I had to skip my exams because of the dates coinciding with my period. I still remember during my CBSE Chemistry exam, I started menstruating the night before and didn’t know how to appear for the exam. My father assured me to not worry about it and attempt it the next year again. I was not ready to drop a year with no guarantee that this situation would not occur next year. I stayed awake all night because of my pain and had many medications. In the morning, with the help of my parents, I managed to reach the exam hall. I was sitting on my bench with my head down on the table and holding my tummy in pain. Everyone was watching me thinking about what happened to me. I was not able to write anything or read anything. It was a 3-hour long exam, but suddenly after 2 hours, my medication kicked in. I wrote as fast as I could and managed to finish 90% of my exam. I passed with flying colours.
Later in my life, after marriage when I moved away from my family and friends, I had to handle the pain all alone by myself as my husband had to go to work while I had to take sick leave every month from my work. One incident that I can never forget was when I was sitting in my office and suddenly felt that my period was about to kick in any time. I left the office after taking permission from my manager. It was a half-an-hour journey from my office to back home. I was about to enter the train station but before that, my pain started and I couldn’t walk anymore. I sat on the walking pavement of the roadside and a few people came to help me. I somehow managed to inform my husband and later he came to pick me up. While sitting on the pavement, I felt so helpless, embarrassed, and dirty what with my vomit all over me.
My husband who is a doctor himself investigated more and found out that I probably had endometriosis which is very hard to diagnose. I came to know that it is very common among women but people don’t have a lot of awareness about it. Endometriosis affects an estimated 1 in 10 women. It is a disorder in which the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of it. So, when menstruation approaches, the tissue lining of the uterus along with the tissue outside of the uterus, starts bleeding. The tissue in the uterus has a pathway to pass out the blood from the body but the tissues that have grown outside the uterus do not have a passage to bleed out of the body, which makes the whole process extremely painful. To deal with that pain alone every month can be very depressing and difficult to manage. I was always very open in my life about my problem to all my friends and family irrespective of their gender. That certainly helped to garner a lot of support around me.
Few doctors and elderly women used to tell me when I was in university that this problem will get better after I had a baby. I used to find this very silly given that they had no reasoning or data to prove that. I thought to myself that this is how my life is and assumed that after having babies, I will get my uterus removed later on in life. However, after having my first baby, the problem actually got resolved and I started to get normal periods like my friends. My life has completely changed now. I don’t have an answer to how it changed, but certainly, birth changes women’s bodies internally so much so that anything can happen.
To all the women out there who go through a similar issue, please don’t go through your suffering alone; share with your family and friends and ask for help during that time. Don’t hesitate or feel shy. Mensuration is a normal part of the reproductive cycle in women. Women hesitate to talk about it with others, particularly with men. But if they are your close friends, they will understand your situation and will help you out during that time.

Author: Shruti Tayal

I was born in Delhi and have worked at Visiongain as an Editor and Senior Pharmaceutical Analyst. After my marriage, I moved to London, UK. I am a strong mum of 2 girls (a 3- and 1-year old). You can reach out to me on Instagram: @open.to.mum.

Edited by: Divya Rosaline