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Periods, every uterus-bearing individual’s nightmare, yet we are cursed to go through it Every. Single. Month. Explain this torturous fate to me because it truly makes zero sense. If you are someone who experiences menstruation, then the majority of you know that it is not a fun time, and that is putting it lightly. The fact is, I did not realize that your period can change as you grow, and that in fact it might intensify and change at a whim. This is my journey with periods. I hope that by sharing this story with you, it lets you know that you are not alone, and we can embark on this journey of figuring out our periods together. 

So, I was 14 when I first got my period, and everyone kept telling me that I was a bit of a late bloomer. I barely bled the first time and during the first year, and I experienced little to no cramps. I felt a little left out of the girls club; I wanted to complain about “cramps” and talk about the struggles of being a “woman” too. Well, I got what I wished for and I instantly regretted it. I started experiencing cramps in 10th grade, and I never knew how to take pills until the pain got too much one day in school, and I took my first advil. Since then, I took advil whenever the pain got to be too much. I mainly experienced back cramps and had a lot of discomfort and some pain the first 2 days, but I would take 2 advil and be okay eventually. It was always gross and quite painful at times but not excruciating. That all changed when I went to college. 

I experienced my first debilitating period: nausea, writhing in pain, could not speak or move. I called my best friend, freaking out that maybe I was sick with something along with being on my period. For the rest of the year my periods were normal again. Then, all of a sudden the next year I had my second debilitating experience: I had the prior symptoms but this time I fainted. Then there was another shift. 

Once covid hit and I moved back home, my period pains kicked up a notch. I now need to take Advil 3 times a day on the first day to keep the pain at bay. I had spent my college days taking some Advil and being able to manage my day. However, my pain shifted when I came home, and I was not used to such intense pain, that I would need to take Advil as soon as I saw blood in order to prevent the writhing pain, each time. During Lockdown I had my third debilitating experience: all day I was fine and I had taken my Advil in the morning. I learned the hard way that you need to take the pills prior to the pain, or else it is too late. Unfortunately, I did not take Advil in the middle of the day because I had no pain and I wanted to hold out until I needed to take more medication.I ended up waiting till 10pm when slight pain started creeping in to take my Advil, but it was too late. I experienced Intense pain and nausea, and stumbled to my dad’s room where I passed out again. 

The reason I am sharing this story is because I thought that my period journey would be somewhat stable. I did not expect these many shifts and changes, and I certainly never thought I would be taking so much Advil each month. I used to only take medication if the pain got bad, but now, if I do not take medication as soon as I see blood, it ends badly for me. The fact is, they do not teach girls how nutrition, hormones, and environmental factors impact our periods. This is part 1 of my period journey, and for the next part I want to learn how to regulate my period through the use of food and natural healing. There are certain foods that are recommended to be eaten during the various phases of our cycle, and there are vitamins and physical exercises/yoga moves that are meant to ease our period pain. There is also a relationship between productivity and emotion with regard to our cycles, and all of this information can be overwhelming to navigate at first, but we are not alone in our journeys ladies, and we can master this. Stay tuned for the next part in this period series. 

Vanathi is a student at UC San Diego who loves laughing till she cries and bingeing way too many Netflix shows. She is a fiery, warm, compassionate, and goofy. She loves fantasy and space and dreams of living in Hogwarts one day. She is a performer and a romantic, and squeals over sunsets and the night sky.
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