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Whether this is causing additional health related problems – such as anaemia or depression.
If contraception might be a good idea to help regulate your periods and reduce pain, heavy bleeding and skin problems
If your symptoms might be caused by some other condition such as PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), Endometriosis, Fibroids or another gynaecological or hormonal problem
What you may also try to help manage these symptoms and the impact they are having on your life.
Preparing to talk to the doctor
You can see the doctor or practice nurse to talk about your periods. If you are worried about doing so, this guide on feeling more in control when speaking with healthcare staff about genital/gynaecological issues may help
It would be useful to try and remember the times you most recently had your period, even if it is a rough guess. And to note how long you bled for and gaps between periods.
You can speak to your doctor about period pain.
You can speak to your doctor about period pain.
Also note down what the bleeding is like how often do you change pads/tampons/empty your mooncup? Do you have problems with bleeding leaking on to clothing or bedding? What does the blood look like?
You said you get pain in your stomach, back and legs but if you may want to describe more about how the pain feels and how long it lasts for (e.g. the start, or throughout your period) and what, if anything, relieves it?
Although you sometimes only bleed for a few days, other times you say it goes on for a lot longer. Noting when that has happened and how long you have bled for is important. As is noting if you are having more than one period/bleed per month.
Could you detail what your period is like? For example is it very heavy the whole time or heavy at the start but a lighter flow to the end?
For some people issues around past abuse; being raised to see periods as bad, dirty or sinful; body image; gender issues; or faith can mean that unpredictable and heavy periods are not only annoying, painful and upsetting, but may also carry with them additional connotations about how you feel about your body, or live your life.
This may be worth mentioning to the doctor, especially if conversations on the topic are frightening for you.
If you have a specific faith, where bleeding requires additional management and recognition, talking to faith leaders about it may help you feel less isolated and ashamed. Or if such conversationsresult in you feeling isolated and ashamed that is something to share with your doctor, as it may have a bearing on the kind of support you will need.
If it turns out there’s a medical cause for your symptoms then joining a real life or online support group for that condition may be worth doing. See above for some organisations that can help, or you might also try Pelvic Pain Support Network
Having sanitary protection, changes of clothes, painkillers etc in a bag you keep with you (where possible) also can reduce the worry of being caught out. And if flooding during your sleep is a problem, having a towel under your sheet, using an absorbent/disposable bed pad, or a waterproof mattress protector may be useful.
Some people find changing their diet, eating regularly and exercise reduce symptoms, although this may not appeal or you may feel too unwell to currently explore it. Masturbation can also reduce pelvic/genital pain but again not everyone feels like doing this when they’re bloody and sore.
Noting things that help you feel better may be comforting.
If you are interested in wearing makeup, then this and a good skin care routine to account for sensitivities may help you feel confident and comfortable. Sali Hughes’ book Pretty Honest can give you more ideas.
Period problems aren’t that unusual although they remain a taboo. I would hope an understanding partner would be sympathetic about any difficulties you experience rather than judging or shaming you (and anyone who did that isn’t worth your time).
It’s understandable you may not feel able to have relationships – but don’t let anxieties about bleeding stop you being happy if you would like to try dating.
You can set the limits over who you want to see, when you want to see them, and if you feel up to any particular date. If you are not feeling well or confident, it’s okay to reschedule. You can see someone without it having to lead to any kind of intimacy until you are ready. And you can take with you supplies (see above) so if you are caught short with a bleed you can quickly repair.
All of this is up to you and it may take a while to work out the problem, plan to manage it, and then think about dating.
Or you may decide that this is just part of your life (just as it it for countless other people) and to get on doing things to make yourself happy despite the unpredictability of your body.