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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.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    8 months ago

    You are definitely not alone in this. Whenever I was in a flare, my periods would stop. It wasn’t until I got my IBD in control that I had normal menstrual cycles.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

  • 3 years ago

    I was diagnosed with chron’s disease in 2000 but it didn’t take off until 2008. I had two surgeries that left me with ileostomies and a hernia and had two resections. Then again in 2013 it started up again and on March 6, 2014 I had surgery that left me with a colostomy. My life was changed forever afte that. I was feeling much better however I have new health challenges that I am dealing with. All of this has affected my menstrual cycle. My last one was July 4, 2014. I think it may be starting again because I am experiencing symptoms of cramping, headaches, backaches etc…..

  • Kelly Dabel moderator
    3 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story jac43. We’re glad you’re here. So sorry you’ve had to go through all of that. You are not alone here. Irregular periods are not uncommon for women with inflammatory bowel diseases. Any time you experience new or worsening symptoms, we encourage you to speak with your doctor as soon as possible. In addition to speaking with your doctor, this article on menstruation irregularities and symptoms changes may be helpful to you: https://inflammatoryboweldisease.net/symptoms/menstruation-irregularities-and-symptom-changes/. Please let us know any questions you may have. Kelly Dabel, RD – InflammatoryBowelDisease.net Team

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