I Don't Get My Period Anymore, and Here Are 5 Ways My Life Has Changed Since
Like most women, I remember the first time I got my period with vivid clarity. It was the summer before eighth grade, I was 12 years old, and I hadn't been at sleep-away camp for more than an hour before discovering blood dripping down my leg. I had just arrived and my luggage was still on the bus; my first moments of womanhood consisted of me frantically flagging down a friend and rifling through her suitcase for a pad, which I promptly applied as my fellow campers shouted instructions through a bathroom door. Then I took a swim test, and wanted to die. The whole day was a chaotic mix of excitement, anxiety, pride, relief — it was exactly what the first time getting your period was supposed to be like.
Unfortunately, the rest of my menstruating career has gone a lot less smoothly. After that first day, I didn't get another period for six months, and not another for four months after that. Over the next few years, my cycle was so sporadic that my doctor put me on birth control to regulate it, but that only seemed to make things worse. My period would be fine for a few months, then stop coming at all, or be accompanied by side-splitting cramps, or have so much spotting that it felt like I was never not spilling blood. I went through four or five different pills, each one worse than the next, until finally, I found one that allowed me the holy trinity of no cramps, no spotting, and no unreliability. The only problem? It also came with no periods. Ever.
See, due to its users (like me) needing the lowest hormone dose possible to avoid causing major menstrual drama, my new pill rarely, if ever, produced periods. If I wanted, I could take a supplement that'd give me one, but since that would have hormones, too, my doctor felt it best that I refrained. So, for the last eight months, I haven't had a single period, and probably won't again until I eventually decide to get off the pill. It's been a strange experience, but certainly an informative one; here are five things you realize when you no longer get your period.
1. You're Saving a Lot of Money
An average box of tampons is seven or eight dollars, and most women require a new purchase pretty much every month, not to mention the costs of things like pads, Midol, and large boxes of Hershey's chocolate. All those items adds up, fast — but when you're used to getting your period regularly, the money you're hemorrhaging (pun intended) on supplies hardly even registers. But oh, does it sink in when you're not buying tampons; suddenly, you're rolling in the money, able to save up or buy things that don't require you to suffer first.
2. You Can Stop Buying New Underwear
Every period-having woman knows the frustration of wearing a nice pair of underwear, only to have them ruined thanks to a surprise visit from Mother Nature (though thankfully some underwear companies are innovating around this). It's always annoying, not to mention expensive, to have to replace your panties, so it's a huge relief when you stop needing to run out to Victoria's Secret every time your cycle doesn't go as planned — that is, until you realize you no longer have an excuse to raid that 5 for $25 pile anymore, and then you just want to sulk.
3. Bleeding From Down There is Weird
Look, I know periods have a biological purpose and are the reason we can have babies and all that stuff. But why can't that process go on inside your body, instead of happening in a place so... intimate? Only when you stop getting your period do you realize how strange — not to mention messy — it all was.
4. You Can No Longer Complain About Cramps
One of the only upsides of having your period is getting to whine all the time about its side effects, and no one can get (that) annoyed with you. Everyone knows that periods are bad, and cramps are the worst. But when you stop getting your period, it doesn't matter if you still get any symptoms; the moment people know you're not bleeding for five days straight, your shooting stomach pains suddenly turn into, in their eyes, tiny little aches. It's not fair, but it's the truth.
5. You're Out of the Sorority
That is, the sorority of menstruating women. Getting your period is one of the very few things that's familiar to nearly all cisgender women, regardless of their background or lifestyle. Who hasn't known the struggle of figuring out tampons for the first time, or had the frantic mid-class run to the bathroom, or laughed with a roommate over newly-aligned cycles? There's a lot of solidarity that comes with having your period amongst other women, and not getting to have that experience, for all its benefits, is actually pretty sad. Still, there are those benefits — and speaking for myself, at least, not having to deal with another flimsy tampon ever again is totally worth a little less bonding with my fellow females for a few days every month.