Irregular Periods Mixed in with IBD

I have no idea if this is one of those things that only affects me BUT here goes…

My period has been irregular since I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at the age of 13. I never worried about it because I know how sensitive a woman’s menstrual cycle can be and after a while I even stopped keeping track. There would be sometimes six or seven months in between so there was really no point.

As I got into my late 20’s, I have tried to be better at noticing this part of my body. I think because my inflammatory bowel disease was taking over my entire world, my mind didn’t have room to learn or even care about anything else. Even though it is always best to be an informed and educated patient, no one WANTS to become so familiar with the inner workings of their organs.

My IBD has brought on so many changes to my body. I have lived with a large intestine, a Jpouch, an ostomy with my Jpouch still in, a loop ileostomy without my Jpouch, five kock pouches, and now an end ileostomy. So clearly, I had enough to deal with without thinking about ovaries, uterine linings, etc.

I don’t think I have a clue how I should feel. I know “should” is a word that isn’t supposed to be in our vocabulary but who are we kidding? It would be weird if we didn’t think like that given how potentially life altering Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis are to our minds and bodies.

With all of the challenges inflammatory bowel disease can bring us, it is understandable how our mental health can be impacted a great deal as well. Sometimes I don’t know when I am reacting poorly because that is just how my brain is after dealing with so much trauma OR if it is just normal female “stuff.”

I never really dealt with traditional PMS or cramps because it was just meshed in with all of the turmoil my IBD was putting me through. I had no idea if my hormones were causing me to cry or if it was the fact that I just received bad news about my health… again. Point being, I have had so many reasons to react emotionally to situations that it has become such a mind-field trying to figure out what is hormonal and what is a psychiatric reaction to living with a chronic illness.

To be honest, I have gone back and forth about talking about this topic for years. I often feel like sometimes I can get too personal and should hold back. But then again, I always felt so much less alone after reading posts that shared vulnerable things about the author. I always want to share real things because even if one person can relate, I know it made that one person feel validated. And validation is what I always needed and how I am able to thrive in a world that constantly wears masks, with an invisible chronic illness that is very poorly understood.

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