PMT chat and stats

TMI Warning : pissing, pooing and bleeding

I just finished my 10,000th wee and third poo of the day and remembered how much of a cunt pregnancy is.

I feel a bit guilty using cunt as an insult. Vaginas are wonderful things so why do we use them as the worst insult ever? But it does have a bit of gravitas ‘dick’ doesn’t quite manage. Dicks are basic. Whereas vaginas are wonderful and interesting things so I am going to share some vagina and vagina related information for anyone who doesn’t spend their time reading vagina books and watching vagina youtube videos and generally googling vagina & co information.

Fact one : PMT is shit

Back to my many wees today, this isn’t the weirdest pregnancy announcement ever, I’m not pregnant…at least I bloody hope I’m not. I am pre-menstrual, I was sat on the toilet thinking this must mean my period is coming (my friend google confirms this is a thing). Excellent news.

I really enjoy my period arriving, I’m not generally an enthusiastic person but I am a (menstrual) cup half full kind of person. Literally half full – which is probably why I don’t mind it as it isn’t too heavy or painful. However what I do dislike is being pre-menstrual for the following reasons:

  • Bloaty mc-bloat tum. This isn’t a vain complaint, we are on kind of lockdown still – I don’t care what I look like. What I do care about is the limited amount of food I can comfortably fit in my stomach as it is too full of air. This also means constipation for 22% of us folk who menstruate.
  • Grumpiness. The cats meowed one too many times today and I genuinely wanted to kick them (but refrained).
  • Spotty face – 50% of us. Not this month though, thanks Caroline Hirons and salicylic acid.
  • ‘mega ceebs’ (term not my own, but I think it is good) total can’t be arsed-ness. Kind of me all the time, but I reach new levels of introversion when I am pre-menstrual.

And I don’t really get these but there is also the:

  • Crying (unless of course you put Little Women on, two hours solid tears when I went to the cinema pre-menstrual one time)
  • Sore breasts
  • Tiredness for 40% of us (obviously have this, unfortunately all month long)
  • Increased appetite (see above)
  • Headaches for 49% of us

(percentages from a survey that Clue App did with 4,000 people who menstruate. I use the app, it is free and good)

Sounds a whole lot like the absolute joys of pregnancy right? There is a reason for that, your body knows ovulation is done for the month so why go out and be friendly when there is no chance of getting impregnated – so it makes you hate people and want to stay home, on the sofa, in ugly pyjamas.

If the ugly pyjamas, foul mood and big tummy aren’t enough to stop you getting laid then it kind of fucks you over by reducing your vaginal lubrication. Your uterus is such an optimist it doesn’t want to waste fluid on frivolous things like sex for fun in case it already has a tiny little fertilised egg to look after. This is also why you might be constipated, it doesn’t want to let you poo, it wants to hang on for food as long as possible to get every last bit of nutrition out to look after that maybe baby.

Entering ‘Autumn’

Maisie Hill in Period Power calls this your ‘autumn’ a much nicer way of describing the winding down, taking it easy and eating comfort food most of us do at that time of year. She recommends bearing it in mind when you plan your month out, not over committing, trying to work from home a bit more and if you’ve planned to meet friends have something easy to cook at home rather than a big night out.

She also recommends using this quiet time for introspection and creativity. Reduced desire to socialise and be active often means greater focus and awareness of your emotions. Yes you might be grumpier during autumn but is it exacerbated by a dickhead in the vicinity? Have a proper think about that now before ovulation rolls round and your brain gets swayed by an overwhelming desire to fuck them.

One interesting thing I learnt from Period Power is that a tiny bit of blood for the first couple of days of your period is not in fact your period. It is classed as breakthrough bleeding and can be a sign of progesterone deficiency, along with other symptoms such as:

  • Headaches
  • Bloating
  • Clumsiness
  • Cysts
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Swollen breasts

Potential ways to fix it include lowering stress, addressing hyperthyroidism, and consuming more magnesium, zinc and vitamins A, B6 and C. Also seed cycling can help, which involves consuming more sunflower and sesame seeds (2-4 tbsps a day) during the second half of your cycle (the bit this blog is about) and in the first half of your cycle (first day of your period and two weeks after) including the same quantities of flax and pumpkin. To be honest it sounds like a whole lot of seeds to me, but if you are a organised and healthy individual it is worth a google.

Maisie also draws parallels between PMT and symptoms of low blood sugar and says how important it is to eat regular and healthy snacks. Seems sensible and easy and, in my case, completely unattainable.

The Pill is progesterone which is PMT

In other words – proper shit.

All the shitty stuff I’ve been ranting about can be blamed on progesterone, the shittiest of the shit hormones that dominates in the ‘autumn’ between ovulation and your period. As you aren’t fertile during this period the pill mimics this with the synthetic copycat hormone progestin to make sure a little dose every day stops you being fertile all month long. It isn’t exactly the same so you might not go full PMT, and it might not be obvious straight away as the effects can increase over time – but you are slowly filling your body with the shit hormone which is often at the expense of oestrogen, literally referred to as THE BEYONCE of hormones (Maisie Hill again).

They normally add synthetic oestrogen to the pill to stop you feeling quite so shit but I think we can all agree there is only one Beyonce.

Now I’m recycling old stats here but they are good stats so if you haven’t already been convinced that the pill is shit and genuine oestrogen is the bomb then digest these stripper facts:

  • non pill taking strippers earn an average of $35 an hour when menstruating
  • strippers who are enjoying all that fake oestrogen on the pill earn a marginal $2 more, taking in $37 an hour on average (all month long)
  • ovulating (and therefore non-pill taking) strippers are absolutely smashing it with all that genuine oestrogen with a crazy $70 an hour

(Pill facts and stripper facts courtesy of How The Pill Changes Everything by Dr Sarah Hill which is super super interesting and I massively recommend)

Now by this point it makes sense to move onto your ‘winter’ (your period), but Maisie told me to take it easy and I’ve already got both my favourite stripper facts and Beyonce down so I feel I have done enough for now.

ps if any real life friends are wondering how i have managed to write a full blog and yet not respond to a basic whatsapp message then please see above. It isn’t my fault it is my menstrual cycle’s fault. Also sorry.

What my cervix has been up to this week

As I have no social life after 7pm I tend to spend my evenings binge eating and reading. At the moment I’m really enjoying How the Pill Changes Everything by Dr Sarah Hill. It’s full of interesting facts and she’s quite funny too.

She is basically saying that the pill affects all kinds of things and I could try and summarise it but I’m actually quite tired so here is a a Guardian article which is much better.

Here is my one little nugget of information for any aspiring strippers in my subscribers list who can’t decide on contraception. The pill makes you less sexy. Strippers know it. At least the ones that compare tips do anyway.

  • Strippers on the pill earn an average of $37 per hour all month long
  • Non pill taking strippers earn $35 an hour when menstruating
  • Non pill taking strippers earn $50 an hour when not menstruating or ovulating
  • Non pill taking strippers earn a whopping $70 an hour when ovulating

Very interesting points! And I may not be a stripper but it’s still nice to feel a be a bit sexy.

(ps it’s not just sexiness it’s immune system, libido, personal grooming, appetite, energy, choice of partner and general joie de vivre among many many other things I don’t even know yet because I’m only 45% in)

So long introduction over and the point I was getting to is that I decided on the copper coil.

Scary, yes, scary.

Or so I thought but I now am I fully fledged COIL FAN.

So this may or may not be relevant to my own life experience of the coil but an interesting point is that it is a very effective emergency contraception. Whereas the morning after pill which we all think of as being the go to choice is in my (not at all expert) opinion actually fairly shit.

If 1000 women had a shag 55 would get pregnant

If 1000 women had a shag then took the morning after pill then 22 would still get pregnant

I don’t feel that those stats are all too reassuring.

So that’s 5.5% chance in general, 2.2% chance on the morning after pill or less than 1% chance with the coil. And BONUS that the coil lasts between five and ten years depending on how brave you are feeling at the fitting (apparently ten year coil is a little bigger).

I’ll run you through my copper coil journey

Where I live in North Yorkshire you need a preliminary appointment to discuss before you can book in for a fitting. And by discuss I mean horrify you. Perhaps the nurse would describe this as providing you with all the information but if I’m completely honest I wanted to be sick / have a little cry to myself.

In her defence she was lovely (as are 99% of the nurses I meet) and she was telling me relevant and important facts. She even had a miniature coil and womb/cervix model.

The two take home facts I got from the appointment were that around 4 in 1000 women will have perforation of the uterus. Basically as horrifying as it sounds – coil jabs into your uterus hard damaging it and requiring surgery. But this sounds less scary as a 0.4% risk factor.

But then if you times it by 6 to adjust for the fact you have a softer womb when breastfeeding it becomes scary again at 2.4%.

Bring it back to the 5.5% chance of pregnancy (and resulting childbirth and unlimited sleep deprivation) and a bit of minor surgery ain’t so bad.

I therefore booked myself in. And didn’t sleep that night because of the words ‘perforation of the uterus’. Horrifying.

Fast forward two days of me spamming my doctor friend with a thousand stupid questions and I was on my way to York Sexual Health Clinic.

A little nervous, big pack of sanitary pads in my bag. Already dosed up on paracetamol with a full tummy to avoid getting all fainty (as instructed).

As with any medical procedure I always announce my anxiety on arrival. I was optimistic there would be a little of my favourite pain relief, gas and air, somewhere on the premises that she would wheel out. No such luck.

I got up on the bed, legs in stirrups, vag ready. The doctor was doing the fitting with the help of a nurse. Lovely nurse was up for a chat to keep me company so obviously I dropped in the ‘my husband left me’ thing so we could spend the time slagging off men. Seemed appropriate to the venue. I didn’t see any men going through awkward discomfort for the sake of contraception. Standard.

Anyway first up is the speculum, standard smear test issue plastic spy hole thing. Then a funny little womb measuring device. Now it probably verged on pain but I would actually describe it more as discomfort.

I know that doctors describe everything as ‘a little uncomfortable’ and you think yeah yeah shut up this is going to fucking hurt.

I would describe it more as… very weird, do not like.

Once your womb is fully confirmed as being coil suitable then up she goes. And IT WASN’T THAT BAD.

Maybe 3 or 4 minutes from speculum in to speculum out. However as my nurse did say I was getting looked after by the dream team and I completely agree. Absolute five star service thanks ladies.

I wholly recommend going to a sexual health clinic where they are regular coil inserters. No chance of me having a GP who does it every now and again having a go on my cervix. I want the most efficient service going. But I will say a huge well done to those ladies that let student nurses / student doctors have a go, you are braver women than me.

Now at this point a lot of women may feel woozy and stay laid down for a while. Some may need to call someone to collect them. Not me (shockingly) I was absolutely buzzing on life, astounded by my pain threshold. Off I strolled into the York sunshine, not even a stomach cramp to complain of (which is common). Lovely big sanitary towel in my pants for any bleeding – which I didn’t even have.

And now my womb is an inhospitable environment for sperm to survive in, hurray that sperm hate copper. Theoretically it works straight away but it only works if it stays in place and you need to check the little threads are in the right place through your cervix so a lot of women go back after a few weeks to have it checked.

Other than that (and regular checks to ensure the little threads haven’t shifted) you’re good for between five and ten years with no artificial hormones. Wowser.

Anyway as I’m a big oversharer do send me a message if you have any questions. Always happy for some vag chat gals.

(ps some kind of generic disclaimer type thing here. I’m not a medical professional, I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about I’m just a cervix owner with a bit of copper in her womb. Do talk to someone who is an actual medical professional if you want advice.)