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Is this all normal?

By Anonymous November 28, 2010 - 6:34pm
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I've been on the pill for about year now due to problems with my cycle. In the past few months those problems have come back even worse. My periods last for up to three months at a time, I bleed through pads in about 30 sometimes 15 minutes frequently, I have severe cramping and back pain and vomiting for the length of my peroid. I also have severe and regular cramping when i'm not on my peroid. But my biggest problem is that my ob/gyn brushes it off as normal and "exaggrating". My question is- Is this really normal? Am I overreacting? I'm only 17 and am very unsure about everything.

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It sounds like it might be time for a new gynecologist.

If you are not exaggerating, and are keeping copious notes regarding:
- first day of menstrual period
- last day of menstrual period
- symptoms before, during and after period
- how often you are changing tampons and/or pads

...and your gynecologist says you are exaggerating, you are not receiving good care. I am sorry...you are not overreacting, and I'm sorry that you are not being listened to.

By definition, an abnormal period is one in which:
- you bleed more than 7-10 days consecutively
- excessive bleeding occurs. This is defined by soaking through more than a pad and/or tampon every hour.
- severe cramping or pain.
- vomiting
- Menstrual cycles that are longer than 35 days or shorter than 21 days are abnormal.

Have you asked your doctor questions? Have you had any testing done, and if so, what were the results?

Here are some pamphlets from your doctor's own professional association, ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology):
- Painful periods
- Abnormal bleeding.

You should be taken seriously with any symptoms that you bring to your doctor's attention. Depending on how comfortable you feel, you can ask your doctor why they are not concerned about what you are experiencing, and ask if another doctor in their practice would be concerned, or specializes in teen health. You can show them the pamphlets, and point to what is relevant to you.

It is important to be consistent with your doctor, in regards to the symptoms you are experiencing. Please keep a "journal" of your symptoms, and bring it to you during your next visit (or, when you visit a new doctor). The second online brochure above has a Menstrual Flow Chart that you can track your bleeding, and you can also add other symptoms you are experiencing.

Do you need help finding another doctor? Do you have any idea why your current doctor is not receptive?

November 28, 2010 - 8:01pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Alison Beaver)

Thanks so much for responding! I think the reason my ob/gyn is so unresponsive is b/c she has mentioned before that i'm too young to be having problems and for the first few years after you start your peroid it's unpredictable. I've thought about keeping a more detailed and steady journal before, so I will defintely do that. I live in a very rural area so my gyn. Is one of the only around and my mothers health insurance is very restrictive when it comes to approved doctors which kind of keeps me from seeking new care. I am looking at doctor that is quite far from my house but is approved by our insurance, so I think that it will be worth the trip for better care. You've been extremely helpfull and certainly more caring than my doctor.

November 28, 2010 - 9:10pm
(reply to Anonymous)

I'm glad to hear that you can see another doctor!

I assume you began your period when you were 13 or 14....being 17 is quite different than a "young teen" just starting her period. Your doctor is right that young teens (and any woman, for that matter) can have periods that are "unpredictable" as described.

Your periods do not sound "unpredictable" due to the excessive bleeding, and should be looked at. I don't want to be an alarmist, as everything might be fine...but age is irrelevant in regards to having medical conditions! :) Many women experience excessive bleeding, severe pain, bleeding that lasts for weeks....and they deserve treatment regardless of age (you can let your doctor know that this is called ageism...not receiving proper care because she does not think you should have a problem based on age alone). Very interesting!

Anyways, let us know if you would like more information about what could be causing excessive bleeding, and your journal will help, too. There are many treatment options for women, and you should not have such difficult periods...you're too young for that! :-) (ha ha)

November 28, 2010 - 9:16pm
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