“Oh, NO!” is probably the mildest reaction you’ve had to getting your period at work. While this situation is faced by every working woman around the globe, the taboo still exists and it can still be embarrassing. For women with uterine fibroids, heavy bleeding, one of the most common symptoms of fibroids, can become overwhelming.
While the idea of women having menstrual leave from work seems to be picking up speed in some countries, the future of these laws remains in great debate and is far from becoming a sure or immediate option for most of us.
Track Your Cycle
Your first step is to keep track of your period. Document it in whichever way works for you. Are you a pen-and-paper kind of person? Work out a system of marking the first and last days of your period in your datebook. Your doctor can also reference this information when diagnosing and discussing your fibroids, so you’ve taken care of two to-do’s with this one simple task. If you’re more inclined to stay on top of period tracking by using technology, as everyone says, there’s an app for that. We recommend the Lady’s Diary, downloadable for Android and for Apple. Knowing when it’s coming is a huge help in being on top of your period.
If you have been diagnosed with uterine fibroids, and until you’ve found and proceeded with a fibroid treatment plan that provides relief for your symptoms, your period’s imminent arrival may still be hard to pinpoint. Your best bet is to be prepared at all times for any situation. A quick search on YouTube brings a multitude of clips featuring the preparation of various “period kits” and the number of views these videos have received should be enough to let all of us know that we are far from alone on this.
A period kit is essentially an indiscreet bag that fits into your pocketbook, desk drawer or work cubby. This bag is where you keep a collection of essential menstruation items, such as pads, tampons or a menstrual cup. Additionally, you’d be smart to head off potential disaster by keeping spare underwear, a small bag for laundry and a no-mess, stain stick-type of laundry product in this package. If you tend to experience uncomfortable period pain, include your favorite pain reliever.
What to wear during heavy periods is another issue to take into account, as is the possibility that, despite all the precautions you’ve taken, the possibility of staining still exists. Most work places in the developed world use some form of climate control, which is usually impossible to set at a temperature that satisfies everyone in any given workplace. It is entirely normal and acceptable to keep a light sweater or jacket over the back of your chair or in a work locker. Even if you never plan to wear it, keep one handy as the easiest solution to an unsightly stain. Simply tie the sleeves around your waist for a quick and stylish cover-up.
Protection at Home
Sometimes, we’re lucky enough for our monthly visitor to arrive in the comfort of our own home, but even so, heavy bleeding does present its challenges.
- If you’ve received a diagnosis of fibroids, invest in a comfortable, no-crinkle, washable mattress pad for your bed. Some days, even heavy-duty sanitary pads and/or tampons may not be quite enough.
- Have a good anti-stain product at the ready for any stained laundry.
- Keep a consistent supply of sanitary products and creativity available. Some women double up on pads in a T-type formation or feel more comfortable wearing a pad as a backup for tampon overflow.
- Stay hydrated. It always makes you feel better.
Heavy bleeding can take a toll. It’s important to see your doctor, manage symptoms in the safest and most comfortable way possible, and set up a treatment plan.
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