Stop treating periods like a dirty secret; teach menstrual wellbeing in schools
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My name is Alice, I'm 22, and for over 5 years, my periods ruined my life. I missed school regularly and suffered debilitating pain. Appointment after appointment, I was told this was completely normal. It was only later that I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis. So far, I’ve been hospitalised, had one surgery and I’m waiting for another.
My condition is not rare. It’s suffered by 10% of girls and women of reproductive age - that’s 1.5 million women in the UK. But, just like me, too many are waiting too long for a diagnosis. One reason is because schools aren’t teaching girls what menstrual health means.
The Government is currently updating its guidance for Sex & Relationship and PSHE lessons in England. Please sign my petition to get menstrual wellbeing included in the curriculum to prevent girls having to experience what I went through.
Before I even started my periods, I suffered from crippling pelvic pain every month. When my periods started a year later, the pain got even worse; usually twice a month, I was rushed to A&E and had to be given morphine. During my period, I lost a lot of blood, used multiple tampons and pads every hour, became anaemic and suffered chronic fatigue. By the time I was 14, my quality of life was non-existent - most of the time I couldn’t leave the house. I was still being told what I was experiencing was normal, or worse that I was making it up to gain attention. I was made to feel like I couldn’t talk about what I was experiencing, and self-doubt crept in.
I don’t want this to be anyone else’s story; it doesn’t have to be.
I am now a trustee of Endometriosis UK, a charity that supports and campaigns for change. But this issue is not just about endometriosis. Women also struggle with fibroids, heavy menstrual bleeding, and the financial costs of sanitary products. We cannot allow taboo, stigma, embarrassment, or lack of education to continue preventing and hindering the conversation about periods.
It’s time to give periods a voice. It’s time for the menstrual cycle to be heard. It’s time for us to arm every girl and boy with the right language to address the menstrual cycle as a fundamental and healthy thing to discuss as part of our wellbeing as women and as a society. Why not give every woman the opportunity to openly discuss her own body, all of it and all of its cycles without any
embarrassment or shame and with the right tools, the right words to get the care and support she deserves.
Sign this petition today. And then please share it with all your friends and family, so that they sign too. Together, we can make a difference.
Protect. Empower. Period.
Today: Alice is counting on you
Alice Smith needs your help with “NGibb;menstrualhealth”. Join Alice and 7,031 supporters today.