How long can you miss your period
7 women tell why they are not getting their periods (anymore)
Supporting one another on your period is not uncommon. From colleagues who help each other out with ibuprofen and tampons to roommates who make each other hot water bottles. Somehow we managed to turn one of the most painful components of the female reproductive system into a unifying experience.
But what is it like not getting your period? Many people probably think to themselves at first: “That would be great!” However, that often only looks that way at first glance. Because a menstrual period not only means having menstrual pain, but in most cases also means being fertile.
There are a number of reasons why people stopped getting their periods. Some people enter menopause early, others have had their uterus removed for medical reasons. Some women are trans *, while trans * men may slow their periods with the help of hormones, while others suffer from an eating disorder. The reasons for missing your period (also known as amenorrhea in technical jargon) can be complex and diverse, but we shouldn't forget one central factor: whether or not you get your period does not define your femininity. If you identify as a woman, you are one.
Photographer Bex Day has traveled across the UK and Germany and met women who are no longer getting their periods. Here they tell for themselves how this has influenced their lives.
When I was 24, I was diagnosed with a rare form of uterine cancer. I was treated with hormone blockers, but it didn't work. So I had no choice but to completely remove the uterus and freeze my egg cells. The cervix was also removed during the operation, so I no longer have my period. My ovaries are still functioning and I have a monthly cycle (and even PMS) like other women.
I quickly forgot how bad it can be to get your period. A friend of mine once struggled with her rule while we were skiing. As I watched how she had to deal with it all day and was in incredible pain, I thought, “Fortunately, I don't have this problem anymore!” Now and then I still remember bad situations from when I was still menstruated back. Once I was bleeding so badly that while I was walking I noticed the blood running down my legs. At that time I was out in the park and panicked looking for a café. It was totally horrible back then and I am glad that I no longer have to worry about my period today.
A colleague once said to me: “I know how hard the menopause is, I had to go through it too.” She simply equated her situation with mine and completely ignored the fact that I was only 24 years old and because of one Cancer treatment had lost my fertility. She also said, “I know cancer makes people selfish. You have to be if you want to survive. But now you have to think about work again. "
I'm so happy not to have my days. It is totally liberating not to have to plan my life around public toilets during my period. Everything else that led to my operation and that followed my operation was extremely stressful for me. Recovering from cancer is a difficult and lengthy process and I would give anything to not be sterile. But I can't change it now, it happened. Not getting my period is the only positive aspect I can get from this terrible disease.
After years of health problems and difficulties with my periods, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) in 2013. For years my days were extremely irregular or not at all. I try very hard to eat healthily, and it's reasonably okay right now. Before that, however, I was quite moody and that could sometimes be very difficult for those around me. When my hormones became unbalanced, I often had insanely dark thoughts and felt physically uncomfortable. No mind and no logic could get me out of there. Every month I lost weeks to this silent monster that refused to leave my body. Taken as a whole, I've wasted eight years of my life on the hormonal fluctuations around my period.
Not getting my period forced me to take an all-encompassing look at my health. I am grateful for that. Still, I get frustrated when older women say things like, “Funny, I've never had such problems. I hardly noticed my period. "
I have now accepted it. It is as it is. Not getting my period doesn't affect my identity. I feel feminine regardless of that.
I publicly admit that I am a trans woman and was born with all of the things that make me a man biologically. This year I came out as transgender, but I've been doing my inner process for four years. Although I can never physically relate to everything other women feel, I have so much empathy for women who are having their periods that I want to talk to them about it and show understanding. For example, I can hug them to make them feel good.
Some people will never perceive me as a woman, only as a "woman in the aesthetic sense" because I cannot fulfill all the components of being a woman in the binary-biological concept. I cannot have children or give birth to children of my own. Does that make me less of a woman? For some it is.
I accepted a long time ago that I couldn't get a period, so I hardly think about it. I can't, that's why I can't long for it. Rather, I am glad not to have to feel the pain that goes with it; at the same time, of course, I wish to have all the experiences I would have had if I had been born with a biologically female body.
The way I perceive it, there are many women who don't get their periods. There are many women who cannot have children, including those around me. Neither mine nor her identity depends on this formality. Are born women who don't get their periods still women? Naturally. That's why I'm one too, even though I don't menstruate. The experiences I have are just different from those of other women. To experience myself as a woman is wonderful and the fact that I don't get my period doesn't detract from it. The feeling is too deeply rooted in me for that.
Today I'm getting my period back. But for many years this was not the case because my body weight was unhealthily low. I tend to lose weight when I'm stressed. A few years ago I did a very strenuous internship and during that time I lost a lot of weight in a short period of time. Unsurprisingly, my period stopped because of it. I am naturally slim and it took me a long time to gain enough weight to reach a healthy range.
For a long time I wasn't sure what to make of not getting my period. It was a good thing because I had some terrible cramps before and it was nice not to have to worry about all the stress around my periods. But after two years without menstruating, I began to worry that I had long-term damage to my body. Especially now that I'm getting older and thinking about whether I actually want to have children one day or not.
Sometimes I think part of the problem was that I was more connected to my “masculine” side for a long time. My work always came first for me and it seemed important not to let any stress or insecurity show on me. Only after I took more time for myself and allowed myself to come to terms with myself and my “feminine” side did things get back to normal. Perhaps you can say that the balance between masculinity and femininity was a little out of joint with me. Still, I felt just as feminine back then as I feel now that my period has come back.
I've never had a normal period. When I was 15, I was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure, which means I had entered menopause before puberty began.
When I was told what was going on, I was madly angry. My family and I had been convinced, up to this point, that I was a natural mother. I struggled with the diagnosis for a long time and questioned my identity and my right to exist. For me, being a woman has always meant being a mother. I felt like my body must have been wrong. It took me ten years to accept that even though I can't have children naturally, I can still be the woman I want to be. For a long time I have longed to get my period so that I would be "normal". In order not to have to explain why I don't menstruate, I lied to everyone around me about this for years.
It's totally frustrating when some people say that "maybe it will happen soon". I don't think many people understand or even consider what it is like to go through menopause at fifteen. I was prescribed six different pills to stimulate my ovaries. Countless blood tests, ultrasound examinations, computer tomographies and heaven knows how many surgical interventions have been carried out on me to determine why my body does not respond to any medicine or treatment. So what else should I do? Doctors can't do more, and if a miracle doesn't happen, there is no solution. The thing about menopause is that it is permanent.
I now believe that most, if not all, women have a maternal instinct. When the possibility of having children no longer exists for a woman, it is difficult not to question yourself. If you're a childless woman because you made up your mind to be, that's one thing. But being a childless woman because you cannot have children can seriously shake your self-image as a woman.
I have endometriosis, which means that tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is found outside of the uterine cavity, which is benign in most cases but is extremely painful at the same time. That's why I take the pill to avoid a "normal" period, because it would not only be associated with great pain, but could also lead to even more endometriosis. So not getting my period helps me achieve my goals. Modern medicine makes it possible for me to have a good degree and a successful career, I was able to travel to different countries and make great friendships and relationships.
I missed a lot of classes at school because I couldn't leave home due to severe period pain. Today I know that it was due to my endometriosis. Fortunately, that didn't have a negative impact on my future. But when I think about my teenage years, memories of extremely severe pain, vomiting, and the feeling of missing out on everything come back immediately.
When I was around 20, I went to my GP with a list of persistent symptoms and asked if they might be the result of endometriosis. Without doing any investigation, she told me that it certainly wasn't that. When I left the doctor's office, I felt like an idiot and let the subject rest for four more years. At that time the pain and bleeding became unbearable. I was prescribed three tablets of the strong pain reliever codeine so that I could cope with my everyday life at all. In the end, an endometriosis was diagnosed, which meanwhile extended over three different areas in my body.
After I got the diagnosis, I felt like a ticking time bomb at first. During an examination it was found that I do not have the best egg cells and that my fertility could also be negatively affected by my disease. I was advised that if I wanted to have children, I had to be active by the age of 27 at the latest. I have a very happy relationship with a great partner, we have a dog and a house. In the meantime I have accepted that what will come will come. I'm 26 ½ now and I have my body under control. I do not plan to get pregnant until further notice.
It's a bit weird because I don't feel like the fact that I don't get my period is limiting my femininity in any way. Rather, I feel empowered as a woman because medicine allows me to lead my life the way I want and not let this disease control me.
I've always had very heavy, long, and painful periods. So when I got into a committed relationship, I looked for a contraceptive that would best suit my needs. I found out that in most cases the hormone stick ensures that periods stop altogether and I decided to do it. I now have the second and only had my period once in the past four years.
There are many small occasions when I think it's good not to have my period. For example, in the time between my two hormone sticks, I had my periods very, very heavily and for almost two weeks. I often woke up with blood stains on my clothes or bedding.
Something that people say a lot that really annoys me is, "I don't think it's healthy not to have your periods at all." Because I didn't ask about it and you're a doctor, or what?
In any case, I feel free and that I can do anything or worry about my period. Especially because the severe pain associated with it is now gone. In a few years I would like to have children, then I'll have to remove the swab anyway and get my period again.
Even though my period has always been so strong and painful, sometimes I still miss it. I miss the feeling that my body works after a cycle. I know that my body is still working this way, but I can no longer feel it. Not having my period and hearing my friends tell how painful theirs is sometimes makes me almost jealous - like I'm missing out.
* Name changed by the editor
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