Tuesday, November 20

Live-tweeted my period, why?

Title changed back to "Live-tweeting my period, why?" from "Live-tweeted my period, why?". See latest edit for reason.

Periods are considered 'gross', 'disgusting', and 'icky'. As women we're faced with media campaigns that refuse to talk about them as if they don't even exist, and you'll rarely hear someone openly talking about what it's really like.

Most of us will, at some point, have been told that 'it's all perfectly natural, we all go through it. You'll have to get used to it one day' when we're doubled up or passing out from the pain it's causing. We're just wussies, we should be able to cope with this because VAGINAS. It doesn't work like that. No period is the same as another.

Some women can suffer absolutely immense pain, causing them to be unable to move or in some cases even pass out. They can bleed so much that they're worried to go out in public in case it leaks through the 'sanitary' devices they're using, but it's not acceptable to talk about it. This is something that can cripple women for a week out of every month. But it's not a medical condition, it's 'being a woman'.

I'm getting fed up with it. If I have to bleed and double up in pain once every 4 weeks to 4 months (yeah, I'm that irregular), you can hear about it. You hear about it other times I'm going through something.

If it were anything else causing this much of a disruption, you would take notice, not tell me it's 'gross'. I understand these are 'things we go through', but it's nowhere near as simple as the rhetoric suggests. And no, I'm not looking for sympathy and nor are most women, we're looking for understanding. We're looking for a way that we can go through this so often without being ashamed.

We don't go skydiving, we don't go skiing or partying. For many of us, we sit at home on the sofa cuddled up to a hot water bottle and drinking hot chocolate. Why do we do this? Well.. It's not acceptable to talk about that, is it?

There's my point. There's why.

If you would like to join in the discussion,  ask questions, answer questions others have, share experiences, or even general concerns about this topic: tweet with #periodgate or to @halfabear. Let's finally start talking.

Edit 25/11/2012: Right, okay, that's over and done with. I'm incredibly surprised by the response I've received. Rather than lots of 'ewww gross' messages (of which I got a few, I even got told I'm 'revolting'), there was an awful lot of positive discussion. People have been sharing their experiences, problems they've had with stigma, and tips on various sanitary devices. It's helped some women realise that they're not 'abnormal' for the symptoms they get during menstruation, such as sore boobs (boobalgia, as it's now called), a lot of mucus, above average flow, severe clotting, and different types of pain.

Thank you to everyone who's got involved in the discussion. It's helped some people get a much better understanding, and any discussion can only help to lessen the stigma.

And now for the data.

20/Nov 9:00am Started
20/Nov 3:10pm 18ml
20/Nov 6.30pm 5ml
20/Nov 9.30pm 8ml
20/Nov 11.30pm 4ml
21/Nov 1.30am 4ml
21/Nov 9.30am 4ml
21/Nov 1.30pm 8ml
21/Nov 3.40pm 20ml
21/Nov 5.40pm 12ml
21/Nov 8.10pm 10ml
21/Nov 10:20pm 7ml
22/Nov 12:40am 0ml
22/Nov 1:30am 2ml
22/Nov 8:30am 9ml
22/Nov 10:40am 6ml
22/Nov 1:40pm 7ml
22/Nov 6:00pm 12ml
22/Nov 9:40pm 10ml
23/Nov 12:34pm 12ml
23/Nov 2:50am 10ml
23/Nov 8:40am 2ml
23/Nov 12:10pm 3ml 
23/Nov 5.20pm 3ml
23/Nov 19:00 4ml
24/Nov 2:30am 5ml
24/Nov 4:00am 8ml
24/Nov 9:00am 0ml
24/Nov 1:40pm 0ml
Total flow was roughly 193ml

This is quite a difference to the 'normal' period (I greatly dislike that word, we're all so different) which is between 10 and 100mL.

This has been a very short and light period for me, it's been a real eye opener to actually take down the numbers and find out it's still been that heavy. I may chart again in future in what's a more commonly occurring flow.

Thank you again, all of you.

Edit: 26/11/2012: Seems it's not over and done with yet. Yesterday it started up again, much heavier (which is more in line with what I normally get) although fortunately no cramps or clots.

I have times when my period will start, stop for a few days, and start again. I was hoping this wouldn't be one of them but apparently it is. If you'd like to get involved, the hashtag is still #periodgate on twitter, or you can tweet @halfabear.

Edit: 27/11/2012: I'm aware that this amount of menstrual fluid is rather alarming. As this is the first time I've actually measured my flow and taken down the figures, I was unaware that it was this heavy. I'm going to be speaking to my GP about it soon.

Edit: 28/11/2012 It appears to have finally finished. I'm now getting some rather heavy discharge which is rather brown in colour, but no longer passing clots, mucus, or blood. Here are the figures after the two-day break that occurred. 

26/Nov 5:20am 16ml
26/Nov 9:10am 18ml
26/Nov 11:50am 20ml
26/Nov 1:40pm 18ml
26/Nov 3:15pm 15ml
26/Nov 5:40pm 18ml
26/Nov 9:50pm 17ml
27/Nov 12:50am 20ml
27/Nov 2:20am 20ml (overflow)
27/Nov 3:20am 8ml
27/Nov 8:20am 20ml (overflow)
27/Nov 12:1pm 13ml
27/Nov 3:20pm 5ml
27/Nov 6:50pm 7ml
27/Nov 8:20pm 4ml
28/Nov 12:20am 19ml
28/Nov 1:40am 17ml
28/Nov 8:00am 7ml
28/Nov 11:20am 4ml
28/Nov 5:10pm 2ml
The total amount of menstrual fluid released during this period was 451ml, or roughly 0.45L.


  1. Thanks for this. I wish more people - women in particular - would take similar measures to challenge the stigma that surrounds unglamorous conditions such as incontinence, IBS and haemorrhoids. I'm a terrible sufferer of IBS so should take the plunge myself. More and more people in time will ignore the stigma of discussing these things, of that I'm certain. Anyway, thanks again, fascinating stuff. Best, Sheila.

  2. Awesome post! I get tired of all the euphemisms and eye rolling surrounding the whole thing. If you're interested, there's a thing called "beautiful cervix project" that promotes awareness and openness - with photos of the cervix through cycles. I think it's amazing and just thought I'd give you a heads up :)