By Mei Tachibana
I had my first period when I was in 4th grade at only 10 years old. It was incredibly painful. Almost all the women in my family have had hysterectomies before menopause due to Uterine Fibroids, which are essentially dormant tumors that form in your uterus causing pressure, pain, bloating and other issues. In addition to this, almost all the women on both sides of my family have endometriosis, which makes periods much more painful. I lived with those symptoms for 6 days a month until 7th grade, when I was 13. My periods started to last for months at a time without stopping. My iron levels started to dip, and I was losing weight because I was constantly nauseous from the pain. So I went to the doctor, to see what could be done. They gave me prescription ibuprofen and left it at that. I went to another doctor, and they said this was normal. I went to another and they agreed with the prior doctor. Another one said there was nothing to do since I was so young. One more had the audacity and disrespect to say I was faking it to get birth control so I could be sexually active. I lost 15 lbs, fainted twice, and missed a week of school before one doctor finally gave me a prescription for progestin based birth control pills, called mini pills, that would help to regulate my period. It worked. Finally. My past situation demonstrates how incredibly difficult it is to obtain preventative birth control. The need for a prescription in so many places to obtain birth control, especially for minors, is a huge roadblock. Some people can’t afford doctors, others can go because of parents. Some people don’t have the time to go to the doctor, others have language barriers that make it difficult, and even more are just afraid of being judged or written off like I was. We need change in the medical field. Women and girls need more respect and trust when they seek treatment, and anything else in dangerous neglect.