I've been holding onto this post for 12 months now, I think it's time (now that I know the outcome) to share it.
I happen to be one of those people who thinks talking about feminine issues demystifies them. Periods, PMS, menopause, and all that. Let's face it, more than half the world is female, so why is all this so secret? The other half of us should love all the females in our lives, so a little information can be helpful to everyone.
I'm also one of those people who is not at all medically inclined, so I'm going to write only of my experience, and you can research this from there.
For years, I had heavy periods. There was always a day or two of each month when I had to wear a tampon and a pad. I passed a lot of clots. About ten years ago, though single, I went on a low dosage birth control pill to control some of the bleeding. It helped some, but I still had a "heavy day" each month.
Two summers ago, I went for my regular check-up with my gynecologist, and it happened to be on my heavy day. We talked about it, rescheduled my appointment, and she showed some concern that this was, well, a concern. So I went through some tests. The two I remember were an internal ultrasound and a blood test to see if I was near menopause. The former showed nothing of concern, and the latter showed I was seemingly years away from the cessation of my periods.
My gynecologist suggested a hysterectomy. She said it wasn't medically necessary, she talked about the pros and cons, but she wouldn't tell me what she would do. (That bugged me, as a woman, she should have an opinion, but she didn't share it.)
I did the math. Major surgery. Losing parts. Six weeks off school. Using up all my sick days. Pain. I added that up and measured it against maybe four more years of periods--perhaps 48 more heavy days--nearly equal to the days I'd be restricted after surgery. Since there was no medical reason to go under the knife, I opted to keep those organs.
The next summer, right before my annual check up, my friend AB and I were talking, and she suggested I talk to my (different but still a woman) gynecologist about an ablation. So I did. In fact, this doctor brought it up where my other doctor had not. I researched it, I talked with Brad about it, and I scheduled it.
One year ago, over winter break, I had my outpatient surgery. I had a uterine ablation. I went under general anesthesia, and I was home by one o'clock that day. There was light bleeding for a week or two after, and since then I've only had random spotting once or twice.
No cramps. No periods. It's been a year.
It was one of the best medical decisions I've made. I didn't want to write about it right away because I didn't know how things would turn out. Some women still have their periods after this procedure. Most don't. I don't.
This is something worth sharing. In fact, I've since learned a few friends have had it done. And this past spring, I mentioned it to my friend Jim whose response was to tell his wife who then had one this summer.
Heavy periods? Cramps in your forties? Done having babies? Extreme fatigue during your periods? Talk with your doctor. I'm glad I did.