I Don’t Ever Want Babies, Just My Painful Bleeding Under Control… But My Doc Won’t Agree!

My doctor is reluctant to do the necessary surgery on me since I’ve never had surgery before, and because I’m 46, single, and have no babies... WHYYY?!

Trigger Warning: This deals with gaslighting of and not heeding women’s voices, and may be triggering for survivors.

‘Menstruation’ is a topic I’m always ready to write about despite the social taboos on the subject. It’s not going to make my dad happy that I’m writing about my uterus, polycystic ovaries, heavy bleeding, and perimenopause for the worldwide web. But I’m sitting down to do it anyway: because I care and I feel that more women should read such stories to know they are not alone.

More importantly, the men in their lives should read them so that they know all that a woman goes through and many of them quietly.

There is an alarming dearth of good doctors in the city where I live, especially in the suburbs. I have to take a cab for two hours and then wait at a gynaecologist’s office for another two hours before I’m seen.

I recently learned that it’s better to see a gynaecologist who has an MBBS degree combined with an MD, rather than a doctor who has done her MBBS, followed by a paid fellowship program, where they do not learn to do surgery. In my horrified mind’s eye, I was wondering if the doctors I’ve been to are just glorified midwives!

My PCOS diagnosis

I’ve always had a tenuous relationship with my period. It turned up when I was 12 years or so and living in the suburbs of another city. It was quite regular until I turned 21, although weakness and mild bouts of near-fainting are things I’ve experienced during “the curse.”

I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries when I turned 21 years old.

The doctor who I saw for it was male, largely disinterested, and did not treat me properly for it. After struggling with the condition for about another decade, I saw a reputed lady doctor, who was on the phone with her grown son talking about his tattoo for the entire duration of my visit. I did find out however that I was insulin resistant. So, it was a kind of warning that I could develop Type II diabetes.

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From the age of 36 years or so, I have been on tablets for diabetes on the advice of my endocrinologist, with reference to my insulin resistance and to keep Type II diabetes at bay.

Irregular periods and heavy bleeding

When I turned forty, however, I started having irregular periods and heavy bleeding. I passed heavy clots during my period, which I nicknamed “blood babies” due to their nature.  I was given hormone tabs to control this for a few days – a round of 52 tablets – on more than one occasion.

And then after a few months when I did not have any tablets, my period lasted for 1.5 months!

It was a horrible experience. Every girl hates “Aunt Flow” and waits till she is period-free so she can get back her energy. But the doctor I met for this back then dismissed my problem as “not serious” when it was at the beginning stage, instead of nipping it in the bud. She also found a small fibroid in my uterus. She was more interested in delivering the healthy babies of her other patients than dealing with an unmarried patient who was only facing “period issues” and reporting symptoms.

Thickened endometrium; doctors hesitating about doing a D&C!

When the pandemic set in, I was on WhatsApp calls with a new doctor who told me to continue the tablets I was on. In the last few months, I’ve been bleeding for three months in a row with hardly a gap in between.

The fourth gynaecologist I saw asked me to take an ultrasound of my pelvis, which revealed a thickened endometrium. It was almost 27 mm, due to which the doctor told me to undergo a Dilation and Curettage (D&C) procedure.

But the new doctor I’m seeing now (I’ve seen a total of five) has put me on different medication and feels I should wait it out rather than do a D&C. The most recent pelvic scan showed that my endometrium had thinned down to 13 mm. She is reluctant to do the procedure on me since I’ve never had surgery before and I’m 46 and have never been married.

The new procedure is safe – even if I do have a D&C, it will be a hysteroscopic D&C and not a primitive cutting and scraping. The hysteroscopic D&C seems to be one of the few advancements in medical science to have reached us.  In this procedure, the surgeon can look into your uterine canal and uterus with the help of an endoscope. It’s not a blind cutting and scraping.

All this bleeding is taking a toll…

Due to all the bleeding, I’ve developed anaemia for which I’m being treated with iron supplements. I’m clear I never want to have babies and I just want my bleeding to be under control, which I have explained to my current doctor. Let’s hope I live to tell the rest of my tale a few months/years down the line.

Doctors always check your family history when it comes to periods. My mother had a hysterectomy in her mid-thirties and my paternal grandma had two D&Cs since the first one was botched. I’m only just hearing about my paternal grandma’s D&Cs now. In those days, these matters were swept under the rug.

So, I don’t really know when any of the women in my family experienced menopause. It looks like I will have to be on my current medication for a while until all the bleeding is brought under control. It doesn’t sound like anything good is waiting for me at the end of my forties, but one can always hope for the best and be careful about one’s diet and walk as much as one can. There is hopefully a light at the end of this tunnel and not just more blood.

Editor’s note: Women regularly face #MedicalMisogyny from health care professionals. For the WHO World Health Day 2023 theme of ‘Health for All’, identifying this misogyny and ensuring #Equity in healthcare is essential. All of April, we will be sharing stories with you on this these, either personal stories or fiction. Find them all here.

Image source: still from Modern Love Mumbai/ Cutting Chai edited on Canva Pro

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About the Author

Aishwariya Laxmi

Aishwariya Laxmi is a writer, editor, blogger, and poet living in suburban Chennai, India. She blogs on https://aishwariyalaxmi.com/ and has a newsletter at https://ash.fambase.com/. Her poems and flash fiction have read more...

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