Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and Hologic and have received compensation for this post. All opinions are my own

I started dealing with heavy periods and cramping as soon as I got my first period at around 12 years-old. I remember it getting worse over time and me just dreading getting my period every month. The first few days of my period were always the worse, and I often had to stay home from school, trapped, dealing with unbearable cramps and heavy blood loss.

Don't Let Heavy Periods Get You Down

I also have vivid memories of days when I was at school while on my period and feeling a gush that I knew would lead to an inevitable leak, how I would run to the bathroom hoping nobody noticed, ready to hide in there all day to avoid having to deal with it all. And if I was able to stay at school, and we had PE, I always had to ask to be excused from anything too physical.

I also remember watching some of my friends have completely different experiences with their periods; they didn’t have to miss school every month or constantly have to run to the bathroom to change pads to prevent a leak. On the other hand, I had to wear a tampon and a pad at all times, and that still would not be enough. I spent lots of time with the school nurse as well, dealing with my cramps and all the pain. I felt anxious and lonely back then when it came to dealing with my period. It just didn’t feel normal.

After a few years of dealing with the pain, heavy blood loss and exhaustion I experienced with my period, my parents took me to see a specialist. They knew something wasn’t right and that I needed some help. I was officially diagnosed with menorrhagia caused by endometriosis, and I ended up going on a treatment to help regulate my periods.

Having an official diagnosis and realizing that my experience with my period could be different was life-changing. I was finally able to relax a bit more whenever I was on my period, and the painful cramps were nearly gone. I was allowed to enjoy my life without heavy periods taking over my life.

Do you suffer from heavy blood loss and cramping while on your period? If you do, know that you are not alone. One in five Canadian women experiences heavy blood loss, pain and exhaustion each month.

I want to encourage you to visit HeavyPeriodTalk.ca right now to find out if you have heavy periods, to get armed with questions to ask your doctor and to join the community and swap your own heavy period stories. For every story shared, $5 will be donated to the Canadian Foundation for Women’s Health to support vital research and women’s health education.

And remember, you can’t let your period define who you are!