Nice knowin' ya, Midol.
My menstrual cycle has been a full-blown fucking nightmare ever since I was 14 years old and started my period on Southwest Airlines traveling from Sacramento to Los Angeles. I was all by myself, 30,000 miles up in the air, and my vagina decided to shed its uterine lining for the first time.
I panicked. I ran into that tiny little airplane restroom and scoured the cabinets for pads or anything that may be able to absorb massive amounts of blood.
Luckily, there were several pads in the restroom. So I stocked up, because I was headed to a family friend’s house for a week and wanted to save myself the shame and embarrassment of having to talk about starting my period.
I couldn’t figure out how to put a tampon in, so I spent my whole summer of ’88 walking around mortified with a sopping wet pad that had grown three times its regular size through absorption, in my bathing suit.
Then there was the camping trip incident that same summer.
My dad took my sister and me as far out in the wilderness as we could go, pitched a tent and then I got my first ever-menstrual cramps accompanying my period. I literally felt like I'd die.
The pain was so immense that I ended up lying in the tent for two days, howling and bleeding like a wounded animal. My poor dad didn’t know whether to shoot me right there in the back woods to offer me some peace, or pack the campsite up and head back out to civilization where I could get some Advil.
I spent 20 years of my life dealing with heavy menstrual cycles and crippling cramps.
After I delivered my triplets via C-section, I made sure those doctors tied my fallopian tubes up nice and tight. I didn’t want to ever have to worry about getting pregnant again.
Around that time, my periods got worse. Aunt Flo had packed on some pounds over the years, and her presence was aggressive. I spent days in agony, doubled over waiting for my 800 mg Advil to start doing its magic.
I spoke to my family doctor about it. She said that when women reach 35 years old, their periods go back to being as horrible as they were when we were teenagers.
You have got to be kidding me! So, I have been dealing with this for 20 years now and have birthed four children only to have my reproductive system turn on me now?
One day while I sat with a hundred foils in my hair, my hairdresser told me about this thing called an endometrial ablation. This is a procedure that can be done for the treatment of abnormal bleeding of the uterus. Your insurance will pay for the procedure if you qualify through your OBGYN.
I went in to my doctor and made sure I would qualify. I made sure my bleeding sounded “abnormal” enough. I carried triplets in that uterus, so I figured they should do whatever I want in that region.
My procedure was scheduled for a week later.
Here’s how it works:
1. Get put to sleep under local anesthesia
2. Doctor comes in and lasers your uterine lining. That takes 4 minutes.
3. Wake up and spend the rest of the day with light cramping that doesn’t begin to compare with your normal menstrual cramps.
Two years later, have no period at all. I have no bleeding, no cramping, no uterine lining, which means I have another form of birth control in case my fallopian tubes found their way back together.
It has been blissful.
I am perplexed about why I don’t hear more people talking about the endometrial ablation. If someone told you that for very little money (a co-pay) and a 4-minute painless procedure, you will never have bloating, bleeding and cramping discomfort of a menstrual cycle again, wouldn’t you say HELL YES to that?
I thought so.
Note: You can only have an endometrial ablation if you do not plan on having anymore children.
This article was originally published at xoJane. Reprinted with permission from the author.