I have written before about how certain topics seem to be a bit of a taboo. Most things that fall under the subject of women’s health tend to fit into this category. I am not really sure why. After all if you have had a child then you will know that childbirth is not dignified. It maybe the most empowering moment of your life but having various checks while going through the process probably means that everyone in the delivery suite has had a good look around down there. Which is why its is so ironic that we don’t like to talk about our periods.

The even scarier thing is that 1 in 5 women suffer from heavy periods and don’t even realise its a medical condition which can be treated. I am one of those women.  Especially after having the boys. Pregnancy and birth seems to have made my condition worse. Until I heard about the Am I Number 5? Campaign I just put it down to a rather embarrassing side effect of having children. So I guess the question is what is a heavy period? Well NHS England defines it as passing more the 60ml of menstrual blood. Whereas the average amount of blood lost is 30-40ml. Heavy periods (Menorrhagia) can lead to many side effects including depression and anxiety. You can read more about the implications on the Wear White Again website.

Obviously it can be difficult to think about it in terms of liquid. But for me if its my first day. I may as well not leave the house. The first two days are the worst as my body seems to want to get rid of it all at once! I have been caught off guard on a number of occasions, which is why I never wear white around certain times of the month. I will leave the house because I have to take the kids to school and go to work, although if I’m honest I would rather not. But I am very well stocked and never that far from a bathroom. Which can be a bit of a challenge when you work on the road like I do.

Other than the obvious physical effects emotionally it can be very draining. Trying to plan your day around frequent bathroom stops. Forcing yourself to leave the house when all you want to do is stay in bed, curl up into a ball and sleep is hard work. I am always much more exhausted on the run up to my period, and then while I actually have it. I also have a tendency to cancel any social engagements I have in place. I just cant be bothered with the additional stress. As for holidays I won’t get in the pool for the first two  days either. I am too worried about any repercussions. When we went to Tuscany it was difficult to explain to Monkey why I didn’t fancy getting in the villa pool. Thankfully Kipper gave me a good excuse, but I won’t always have that. At some point I will probably have to tell some white lies.

I have never really spoken to anyone about it although Hubby is aware and tries his best to accommodate it. I haven’t made a conscious decision not to talk about it with girlfriends. Ironically we are quite happy to talk about the ins and outs of childbirth, sometimes in quite graphic form. Yet I can honestly say I have never discussed my periods with them.

Whats more I didn’t realise that I could get it treated. I hadn’t really thought about speaking to my GP about it. I just thought it was normal. My body adapting and my hormones doing funny things because of carrying the kids. If I am honest it was probably easier to hide behind becoming a mum. A great excuse to put up with it rather than have that initial uncomfortable conversation. Knowing that there is an actual medical condition and its not just me that experiences this problem. I am now much more inclined to have that conversation and find a solution.

Which is why it is so important to spread the word. This is where the Am I Number 5? campaign comes in. Wear White Again have got together with Endometriosis UK and Wellbeing of Women to raise awareness that heavy periods are a medical condition that do not have to be ‘put up with’ and can be effectively treated. To join in all you need to do is paint one finger nail on each hand a different colour. To symbolise the 1 in 5 women. Then share a photo of your nails on social media using the hashtag #aminumber5 and link to www.wearwhiteagain.co.uk. You could even tag your friends to share their own. For every photo shared publicly, Wear White Again will donate £1 to their charity partners Endometriosis UK (www.endometriosis-uk.org) and Wellbeing of Women (www.wellbeingofwomen.org.uk)*.

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49 Comments

  1. I’ve not heard of this campaign before but so glad it’s out there and people are raising awareness. One in 5 is a lot and people shouldnt be afraid to talk about it.

  2. I’ve never heard of this campaign sounds like a great way to spread awareness! I used to have heavy periods myself. It has been a while as my periods didn’t return after DD1 until she was 18 months and I got pregnant following it!

  3. Tracy Nixon Reply

    First I’ve heard of this topic too – thankfully mine have always been light but irregular! TBH I think there are few women who have ‘normal’ periods – ie that are regular, last 5 days and are not too heavy or light!

  4. Margaret Gallagher Reply

    Ive not heard of this campaign either
    Hope the message gets out to all

  5. anthony harrington Reply

    great campaign, knowledge is key as a Husband and Father to a Daughter, I think men need to make themselves aware of all aspects of health and not just ignore some as ‘womens stuff’

  6. Hannah Wallington Reply

    Sounds like a great campaign, I haven’t had the issue so I’ve never really had to think about it. It definitely needs to become easier to talk about.

  7. I love this campaign and can really relate to it. I was always quite lucky when it came to periods and yet last April something changed and pretty much every day since I have been bleeding heavily. It took me a while to see my doctor about it, foolishly I still felt a little embarrassed, but now I have a great gynaecologist, have been offered different medications and having spoken to friends about it, realised I’m not the only one with issues like this. Good for you for sharing this!

  8. Karen Usher Reply

    Interesting article. I work in the medical field and I’m always telling my patients that they can see their GP if their periods are super heavy, there are so many advances in medicine that can help you with this so you don’t have to suffer monthly.

  9. Karen Usher Reply

    Interesting article. I work in the medical field and I’m always telling my patients that they can see their GP if their periods are super heavy, there are so many advances in medicine that can help you with this so you don’t have to suffer monthly.

  10. This is a great campaign and it’s really important that we talk about it more. I know from experience how embarrassing it can be, how hard it can be to live a normal life during that time of the month. Well done for speaking up x

  11. I think this is such an important campaign, not least because I suffered with heavy periods when I was younger and had no idea that there was help you could get. Thankfully they’ve settled down as I got older, but in my teens and twenties it was always a horrible time for me. I’m so pleased that we are starting to talk about these things more openly – how can you know if your experience is normal if you don’t know what normal is?

  12. I salute you for writing about this subject and all others for doing so, too. Any woman who has suffered from heavy periods knows just how difficult they are to manage and could almost certainly cite at least a few humiliating mishaps.

  13. Lorna Ledger Reply

    I really hope you get help and support, to not be able to leave the house, and then worry about flooding must be horrible, keep strong, and keeping speaking up x

  14. I have just wrote a similar post about this campaign – it’s amazing isn’t it. I have always suffered with heavy periods and it is such a relief now I know that these can be treated. Great campaign and great post.

  15. A.E. ADKINS Reply

    I was diagnosed with endometriosis and adenomyosis, ironically by accident. I had never considered that my symptoms were possibly any more severe than everyone else!

  16. This is so interesting. I have suffered with a similar thing since having children, where my body tries to get rid of everything within the first couple of days. It is so draining and I have to take iron supplements to keep me ticking over!

  17. Ruth Harwood Reply

    Interesting and informative, I have problems with my health, I think many people do!

  18. Megan Adams Reply

    Really informative post, thank you! As someone who suffers from very heavy periods (only recently), its reassuring to know I’m not alone. During a routine smear, I was told that I have a polyp which could be the cause. Due to be removed next month, so we shall see!

  19. Hayley Colburn Reply

    since having my 3rd and sterilisation I have been the same, so seeing a lot about this lately, sorry to hear you are one of the 1 on 5, its such a horrible thing to put up with at the best of times

  20. Fiona jk42 Reply

    Thanks for letting us know about this campaign. it’s important for those affected to know they can get help instead of putting up with things.

  21. Lynsey Buchanan Reply

    I eel very lucky to not be cursed with this condition.

  22. There are so many of us about who suffer, I had a TRCE in January to try and cure my ridiculous periods, all was looking good but now I have my first bleed and I’m not sure how well it has worked sadly! I was the same as you with the pool on holiday last year and that was what pushed me over the edge to seek help. Mich x

  23. Sarah Lambert Reply

    Ive never heard of it before, it was nice to read and get an understanding

  24. Laura Kevlin Reply

    Sounds so debilitating. I am lucky to have a relatively easy cycle but I’ve known people who faint with the pain 🙁

  25. Kerry Taylor Reply

    Some people don’t realise how debilitating it can be. I’ve always been heavy, but mine are controlled by the pill. My goddaughter is too young for the pill, but hers are horrendous. They just keep saying there’s nothing they can do for her. The worst part is, her school actually punish her for having to leave lessons to deal with it!

  26. Hayley Todd Reply

    I have never heard of this campaign, but I am also a sufferer of extremely heavy periods and can relate to absolutely everything you have said. Unfortunately due to other medical conditions, I am unable to take hormone tablets or the pill which are regularly used to help control it.

  27. Ruth Kromkamp Reply

    I used to have heavy periods to the extent that I had a couple of embarrassing episodes at work where I was ‘caught short’ (but basically never really stood a chance of not overflowing and catching it in time). However my experience after childbirth was the reverse of yours whereby after having my daughter, my periods are amazingly normal – quite light flow and normal length.

  28. Anthea Holloway Reply

    This is very interesting and you are extremely brave in talking about it. Certainly we should all be more aware of this campaign.

  29. Kayleigh Watkins Reply

    What a great campaign to be involved with, especially when you suffer with it, I don’t know why there is a taboo with periods, every woman gets them, I suffered with really heavy ones when I had the implant in, I’m now on my 4th implant and have to take the pill as well to control my bleeding as I would bleed for 10-14 days, have a week break and be on again, but with the pill on top of the implant I now have normal week long periods once a month xXx

  30. I’ve not heard of this campaign before – my mum had to have a hysterectomy due t her periods being s heavy when she was done with having kids

  31. Georgina Prince was davies Reply

    omg i know exactly what you mean the first day might as well be written off whichi can cope with, but when i have to work (i’m a nurse) it is a nightmare! i have found the pill helped me a lot xx

  32. sandy ralph Reply

    Ive not heard of this campaign either, im glad the word is getting spread

  33. Like others have said, this is the first I have heard of this campaign. 20% is pretty high though so certainly something that needs to be talked about.

  34. Kirsty Woods Reply

    This is the first time i have heard of this campaign. Come on ladies, we need to talk about this stuff

  35. I had not heard of this campaign – a very interesting and informative piece. I think I’m 1 in 5 too!

  36. Jeanette Leighton Reply

    I hate periods it’s a shame men don’t get them
    But I’m 39 now and when I go through the menopause I’ll probably want them back

  37. Sylvia Paul Reply

    I feel very lucky that I’ve never suffered from heavy periods as both my sisters have. They suffer terribly every month which leads to anaemia. Its only since they’ve hit their 40s that they have plucked up the courage to visit their gps

  38. Sarah Austin Reply

    I haven’t heard of this campaign – interesting read

  39. Natalie Crossan Reply

    I would love to learn more about this campaign, I have suffered terribly x

  40. Maria Jane Knight Reply

    I’am lucky that i can speak to my mum and best friends about my cycle. I’am lucky that i don’t suffer from heavy periods but i do get horrendous leg pain and back pain with mine.

  41. Kelly Hirst Reply

    Thank you for this, I also suffer with heavy periods and didn’t realise it was a medical condition

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