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Tanya's story: "My periods leave me on the floor, vomiting, crying and holding my belly"

For decades, Tanya’s relentless, debilitating symptoms were dismissed by her doctors, colleagues - even herself. After being diagnosed with adenomyosis and endometriosis, she’s now campaigning to inspire women and girls to get the treatment they need.

Photo of a young black woman in black and white in front of many words describing periods such as painful, flooding

Here, Tanya shares her story as part of our Just a Period” campaign.

"I started having bad periods, with severe pain and vomiting, when I was 20. When I went to the doctors about them, nothing got done. They told me, ‘It’s just a period’.

Then in 2014, I had a miscarriage. I was in agony ​​​​and only then was it taken seriously. The doctors investigated and I was diagnosed with endometriosis, but I wasn’t told at the time (we’ll get to that later).

By 2019, my periods were really bad. I had trouble picking up and dropping off my son at school and going to work. ​​​​I went to two different clinics for scans.

The second clinic found adenomyosis and sent the results to my GP. When the doctors rang to tell me, my reaction was, ‘What’s that!?’ and they were like, ‘OK, bye!’.

That’s when I went to see a gynaecologist. They said I have rectal vaginal endometriosis (between my rectum and vaginal wall) and found three big nodules. But I was told it’s nothing to worry about.

I’m fortunate that both conditions were found in those scans, but it’s been horrific.

My periods leave me on the floor. I’m vomiting and can't move. I’m crying (a lot of crying), holding my belly, with shooting pains down my back, down my leg. I get pains in my rectum, so I can’t sit down. There’s a metallic taste in my mouth and a really heightened sense of smell.

I try to be positive. But there was a stage in my life where the pain was daily – it gets hard to keep going.

My periods leave me on the floor, vomiting, crying, holding my belly, with shooting pains down my back and my leg."

​​​​​My periods are so irregular, too. One month I’m OK, the next I’m wiped out. I can’t get up, I can’t do the most basic things.

It’s been a very harsh journey, and especially difficult when you’re a mum. My son’s 11 now, and he knows sometimes mummy will be in bed because mummy’s not feeling very well.

There aren’t many treatment plans out there – only operations, like hysterectomies – and my options are different to many women.

I had a stroke when I was 21 and also have a blood clotting condition, so I’m not allowed to take hormones (no coil or pill for me) and can’t risk open surgery or laparoscopy because I can’t have anticoagulant injections.

So my only options are natural: diet and lifestyle. I’ve stopped eating red meat and eggs. I dose up on anti inflammatories like ginger and turmeric – all to control my periods.

It’s not just the pain, it affects every aspect of your life. Sometimes I can’t have sex because it hurts, so it impacts my partner. It has affected my work, and affected me financially.

Some people have this idea that you’re just bleeding, there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s not as simple as that. They cannot fathom the amount of pain and discomfort you’re in"

I’ve had to go to HR because I was off so much with my period; I easily take about a month off a year. I couldn’t tell them anything more than my diagnosis. In meetings they were telling me ‘it’s just a period’. But it’s not.

When I’m lying on the floor and I can’t move, it’s not just a period.

Some people have this idea that you’re just bleeding, there’s nothing wrong with you. But it’s not as simple as that, every woman is different. They can’t fathom the amount of pain and discomfort you’re in.

And there’s not enough information out there for women suffering every month, who are looking for help. I wasn’t given any information when I was diagnosed.

That’s why I started ​The Adeno Gang. ​Today, I run workshops to help girls and women get ahead of this.

We need to educate ourselves so we can see the right specialists and ask the right questions."

Our “Just a Period” hub is here to help educate and empower women and girls. Get more information and support here.

If you have any symptoms or concerns, always speak to your doctor. 

Support available

If you have been affected by a miscarriage, there is support out there. Visit our information page, to find out more.