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When I looked at the upcoming list of prompts for February on Sex Bloggers for Mental Health and saw ‘Women and Hormones’ I knew I would be sharing on this subject. Seeing that topic, in black and white, on my laptop screen made me growl inwardly, feel a wave of fury in my tummy and I had to take a deep breath and tell myself to save for the blog post.
There are a lot of times in a woman’s life where hormones take centre stage. Puberty, pregnancy and menopause probably being the most commonly discussed ones. Though whether we discuss them in the correct manner or with any useful intent is up for debate, thankfully in our sex blogging community we are definitely sharing for the better.
What we often don’t discuss is that hormones are devilish little fuckers and they make their presence know far more regularly than they are ever given credit for in the wider world. My entire existence is plagued by hormones, I am I suspect a very hormonally charged person. I don’t know if my post will resonate with other because I have never had this conversation with another woman.
Feel the Buzz
I am very lucky to have myself a Bakji who is very open to discussing all the woes I have when it comes to hormones. He’s kind and gentle when I need some TLC and always open to learning about the effects hormones can have on me. Which makes handling them a whole lot easier. This past week we were discussing how I can often feel the presence of an unwelcome hormone surge.
There are a wide range of physical and emotional effects that take place in my body that are undeniably linked to hormones. I don’t know which ones, and I don’t know why. I am woefully ignorant about the biology of this subject. I do however know when the little fuckers have taken hold and can identify them as the reason I want to rip someone limb from limb or eat an entire chocolate cake.
You’re in a Mood? Are You on Your Period?
I fucking wish. I wish that the only time hormones affected my mood was when I was actively bleeding. I also wish that people wouldn’t equate being in a mood with periods and that any variation of describing a woman as ‘in a mood’ would fuck off and die. If however, you’re looking for a fight telling me I’m ‘in a mood’ or ‘being moody’ is a sure fire way to unleash the wrath of a thousand demons straight into your face!
Sometimes hormones make me full of rage, sometimes they make me super tearful, sometimes they make me feel a little needy. I always know when the emotional surge I’m feeling is hormone related though. Always. It’s usually a little more intense and a lot less rational. Often seemingly coming from nowhere.
I already get migraines, though admittedly they are less frequent these days, on top of that, I also get hormonal headaches. These aren’t like any other type of headache I get, they make my head feel full and heavy, and the ache is dull and all-consuming. Due to the nature of my migraines and my susceptibility to hormonal headaches I had to stop taking the contraceptive pill that had worked so well for me for such a long time. Medical guidelines change though and I was deemed too high risk to continue with the pill safely.
When discussing contraceptives options the doctor suggested the Mirena coil, doing my research I found a lot of people having success with it and gave it a go. The time I spent with the Mirena coil inside me was incredibly distressing. Within hours of it going in something didn’t feel right, within days it had increased after two weeks I was back at the G.P surgery begging her in floods of tears to remove it. Which she did.
Obviously, with any new medication, they usually like to you give things time to settle and allow your body to adjust, but the G.P agreed that my body was no reacting to the Mirena well and that waiting would likely just prolong my misery. Those two weeks on the Mirena coil was the most depressed, fearful and miserable two weeks of my life. Even factoring the experiences I have with grief. It was horrendous. I wanted to physically reach up inside my own body and rip it out. I cried constantly and felt consumed by a darkness I couldn’t escape from.
I eat pretty well but I don’t deny myself yummy things, because life is too short not to eat cake. However, there are days when my hormones dictate that I must go to the supermarket and buy weight in chocolate and devour it immediately. Donuts, cream cakes, ice-cream and carbohydrates are also not safe at this time. Human hands are also not safe if they choose to try and get between me and my goodies during a hormone feast. I won’t eat them but I will slap them hard.
Now, in theory, I should have a big long chunk of text about how hormones get me in the mood for sex or perhaps give me a low libido. However, I don’t seem to have much experience with hormones and sex. My libido is average, always has been and don’t feel the surges of hormones I get are ever aimed at my sex drive. Perhaps this is a blessing, perhaps a curse, who knows. I enjoy sex and kink very much though so tend not to worry myself about not being on high alert mode for it all the time.
Ovulation and Feeding Babies
After 4 years of trying for a baby, hormones were to blame for my lack of ovulation, hence no baby, because no eggs were being released. Thankfully a low dose of fertility medication kick-started things and after 6 months on the medication, I was pregnant. This was my successful pregnancy and that baby is now 7!
When he born there was a high emphasis on ‘breast is best’ and he latched beautifully and despite being prepared to bottle feed I was delighted at the notion of breastfeeding him, at least for a little bit. After a few days I could tell something was amiss. The problem? Pesky hormones or lack of meant I wasn’t producing more than a trickle of milk. Certainly not enough to feed a growing bambino. The breastfeeding support workers offered advice on pumping to kick start things and various other ways to keep us on the breastfeeding track.
After a week of trying I decided that feeding my baby with formula was better than spending no time with him because I was constantly trying to encourage milk production to feed him. That said I have very fond memories of the time he spent suckling and I don’t for one-minute regret giving it a go.
Knowledge is Power
Over the years I’ve viewed various information on women’s hormones and one of the things that used to drive me nuts was people constantly telling us we didn’t have to be a slave to our hormones and know what happens during a women’s regular cycle helps to combat the effects hormones have on the body. What a lovely little theory that is, except it isn’t that simple.
We don’t all have the textbook 28-day cycle, which is evident from the posts over on Menstruation Matters. If we were all blessed with textbook menstrual cycles that would perhaps allow us a better understanding of the why and when of our hormonal fluctuations.
For me knowing the workings of menstrual cycles and hormones is general isn’t all that helpful to my personal situation, what does help is knowing how I can help myself and when all the good habits in the world aren’t going to make a jot of difference.
Exercise and healthy eating do seem to make a difference in some ways, sometimes. It is by no means a cure all though and with the best will in the world sometimes hormones take hold and what I really need is a nice warm shower, a duvet day and plenty of cake. When those days hit I give in to them, because self care matter and when it comes to hormones I think having a knowledge of your own hormonal ups and downs is more advantageous than knowing the way they’re ‘supposed’ to work.
If you’re as clueless as I feel about my hormones though just through your hands in the air, declare you’ve given up caring, grab a slice of cake and a cuppa and put your feet up, because when it comes to hormones I feel like that is the right thing to do 99% of the time. The other 1% of the time the answer is sleep.
I am definitely looking forward to reading more thought on this topic, if you have some add about woman and hormones then you can follow the badge below to link your post to Sex Bloggers for Mental Health. If however this has got you thinking about periods and you’ve got something to contribute on that topic follow the Menstruation Matters badge and add your link there.