'I had a hysterectomy at 41. It's one of the best decisions I've made.'
Getting a hysterectomy at 41 wasn’t in my life plan. So how did I get here?
I’d always had heavy periods and bad period pain for as long as I could remember. But during my 20s and some of my 30s, they were kept under control by being on the pill.
When I was about 34, I had to stop oral contraceptives due to a series of severe migraine episodes and that’s when the heavy periods really started to cause problems.
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For a couple of years, I simply put up with it – maybe it was normal? For at least three days of my period, the blood loss was extreme.
I had to change tampons at least every two hours, I also had to wear pads and black pants to feel 'safe' from any accidents, and it was estimated I was losing up to 500ml of blood.
On top of this, I was constantly popping painkillers to deal with the severe cramping and lower back pain.
By age 38, after unsuccessfully trying to fall pregnant for about two years, having fallen easily pregnant with my first child, we started to look into fertility options. I started having regular scans and found out I had a large fibroid in my uterus,measuring around 8cm.
When she was reviewing my scans, my doctor asked if the fibroid was causing heavy periods. "YES!" I said, and it turned out there was medication I could take for that.
This worked okay to reduce the bleeding, but I still had two to three days of my cycle where I needed to use two forms of protection. Thank God for the invention of period underwear!
My doctor started sending me for six monthly scans to monitor the fibroid’s growth. It was growing about 1 to 2cm a year and had increased to about 10cm.
By the age of 40, the medication had lost its effectiveness.
I estimated that I was losing between one to two litres of blood each period. I was also having intermittent bleeding if I exercised or rode my horse, which was most days, which meant there pretty much wasn’t a single day that I didn’t haveto wear some kind of protection. Wearing any kind of white clothing was a long distant memory.