This post contains frank talk of menstruation. I’m also going to talk about the mental health effects of hormonal birth control, which for me included suicidal thoughts and self harm. If that bothers or upsets you in any way, feel free to skip this post! Why not read a review instead?
Allow me to get a bit vulnerable.
Can a period last 6 weeks? Mine did. It came back a week later, and has been going for the last 2 weeks, with no signs of stopping. It feels like a never-ending period. This has gotten in the way of my job as a sex toy reviewer, and I’m conflicted about the medical interventions I’d need to stop it. It gives me feelings about my body, although I know it doesn’t make me broken.
I don’t like to test internal toys when I’m on my period. For one thing, I feel like it impedes my ability to gauge sensation properly. The engorgement of the tissue changes the sensation I feel, and it’s different than the baseline I normally use for testing internal toys. For another, it’s messy, and while I do own a Throe, I have to be stealthy when I toy test. I’m a busy home schooling mom, and I don’t have the time to do major clean-up and extra laundry afterwards, in addition to the time I take to test internal toys. I could test them with Carrie, if she didn’t have a severe aversion to blood. Seeing gory movies or graphic news footage sends her head spinning. Just getting her blood drawn usually causes her to pass out. I’m not going to force her to deal with blood and tissue during what should be a pleasurable encounter. We’ve tried it, and it’s just too much for her. So, when I’m on my period, I generally don’t test internal toys.
This is really unfortunate since I have an Ambit and a Stronic Drei waiting for me to review them, and I regret not getting in more testing during the week it was paused. I want so much to say “fuck it” and see if I can get enough time away to test and deal with the mess. Of course, that means scheduling a masturbation session, and those rarely go well for me. The sense of time I’m taking and the echoes of “Where’s Mom?” coming from outside the bedroom door hamper my ability to pay attention to what’s going on, much less get any pleasure out of it. I haven’t decided yet what I’m going to do, but I’m still waiting and hoping this bleeding will end.
I’ve talked to my doctor. She’s not worried. I have PCOS (poly-cystic ovary syndrome). That basically means my hormones are out of whack. Hormonal birth control is the only treatment for an irregular period. That has negative effects on my mental health, though, especially during the time I’m supposed to get my period. The dropoff of the hormone progesterone (in birth control, it’s synthetic and called progestin) sends my depression spiraling. I was on Mirena for several years, which provides a constant stream of progestin. When I got it removed, I was suicidal for 2 weeks. I spent hours upon hours crying in our bedroom closet on the floor. I just wanted to die. I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t function. I never want to go through that again. I could try pills again, like I had in high school, but again, they made me feel like utter shit for half the month, and I used to cut my arms and hands. While my mental health is better managed now, there’s no telling how birth control will interact with my antipsychotic. I’m not willing to risk it, at this point. I’d rather wait it out, for now.
I’m used to not having periods often. Because of the PCOS, I’ll go 5, 6, even 12 weeks without a period. On average, I get maybe 5 or 6 per year. Usually, I like this, but it’s never manifested itself as a never-ending period after months off before. I’ve been keeping track using the old school Cycles Page since 2001, when Oldest was still a toddler, when I used AOL on dial up to access the internet.
Age, of course, is also playing a part, as my doctor explained to me. I’m in my mid-30’s. That’s when, hormonally speaking, the body starts to change. I’m no longer growing up; I’m growing old. Since I took Endocrinology in college, I know this theory makes perfect sense. My doctor drew blood work, and nothing weird is going on, not even in my thyroid.
Mostly, it hasn’t been heavy bleeding. It barely leaves much in my Diva Cup to dump out. Cramps have been manageable. But just when I think it’s about over, it gets heavier again. It’s frustrating.
If it goes on much longer, I will test the internal toys I have waiting anyway, and deal with the clean-up. If it goes on longer than that, I’ll take my doctor up on the offer of some form of birth control. But for now, I’m going to continue to wait it out and see what it does.
Still, I know I’m not broken. Bodies are weird. Hormones are a delicate balance, and genetics plays a big role. There’s nothing wrong with me, per se. I’m just having a period that never seems to end. It’s annoying, sure, but it’s not life-threatening and it won’t last forever. I won’t lie: things like this can make it hard to love my body. I might feel alone, but I know I’m not. I’m not the first person this has happened to, and I won’t be the last. I am not broken. And if this is happening to you, you’re not either.