If you've ever found yourself rushing to the loo with an overflowing tampon emergency or woken up in the morning to find that, despite your giant sanitary towel, blood has still managed to get on your pyjamas and bedsheets, then I feel you.
When I was 24 I was diagnosed with womb cancer, which caused me to have extremely heavy periods and bleed between cycles. My periods often lasted 7-10 days and I had to wear sanitary pads in between, ‘just in case’ of an unexpected blood explosion. I'd bleed during sex, where I found that nothing kills the mood quite like needing to clean up immediately after finishing. Before my diagnosis I needed the largest tampons and a nighttime sanitary towel, which needed changing every hour. I had to set alarms throughout the night to wake up and change.
During this time, there were some very unhelpful things I found out. Like that there are only so many pairs of pyjamas you can wear in a week before running out. Also, that public toilets seem to be a thing of the past, because they’re never around when you need them.
I am now period- (and cancer-) free following a hysterectomy last June, which was no fun at 24, before having had a family. Something I had always seen for myself is now, sadly, no longer a possibility. But while my years of bleeding are over, yours are not. And from my three long, painful years spent dealing with such heavy bleeds, I also learned some very helpful things about managing high-maintenance periods – and I’m here to pass them on to you.