The vast majority of medical research is actually conducted on men, due to risks of possible influence on pregnancies or future pregnancies, unfortunately this leaves women (even though we make up roughly half the worlds population) in a no man’s land when it comes to health care….although this is slowly changing.
There are medical conditions which are almost exclusive to women, I say almost because there are rare instances in which men have been found with the condition for various reasons (some men have Ovaries), however they are the exception not the rule.
My genetic contribution which created my daughters unfortunately places them at incredibly high risk of a fair number of these conditions, so you may hear them mentioned throughout the blog at various times because being Female does have a huge influence on the presentation of various conditions, and presents additional complications and contributing factors to her health.
Having a family history of:
Can make the advent of Puberty extra exciting and eventful
The first indicator that they follow after their Mother more than I would like has been the Fainting or Blacking Out every month to few months…all of them have literally hit the deck on us at some stage. Started from about the age of 7 without warning they would be on the floor and off to the hospital we would go to try to find out why…..only to receive no explanation at all.
It has gotten to the point that we have stopped bothering, ok so we all faint without warning. Mum black’s out on occasion too and she was all of 20 before they figured out why (hypotension)
These statements may seem quite general but now they have all reached menses I can honestly say these are all things in common.
All of them experienced regular increased mood swings and attitudes in the year prior to the Onset of Menses. The duration varied from 1-2 years but there really was quite a warning that things were happening. The most obvious coinciding physical indicators was budding and acne.
The big difference for the little super hero and where her Bipolar came into play in the last few weeks was the Mania which broke through ALL of her medications about 2 weeks before her first menses.
With this “episode” having lasted since July last year we were already pretty sure that Puberty was on its inevitable way, as all prior episodes had lasted no longer than two months, but as we recently discovered it had still yet to crest!
It was only once Menses arrived that I could look back and recognize and identify what was happening behind her erratic racing behaviour and thoughts. She is still running pretty fast and by the end of the first week back at school for the term she burned out this afternoon. She was constantly getting frustrated that just shoving sticks into my chimnea wouldn’t make an effective fire to melt marshmellows on….but we did eventually, after unpacking it 4 times and repacking it, get it to a state where we could enjoy some roasted deliciousness…..
I can honestly say if she had not been accurately diagnosed and so carefully medicated as we have, as quickly as we had, by now she would have had multiple hospital stays or I would be a grieving mother. Even having made it through the first 10 years by the skin of our teeth, the advent of puberty, this last year, would have been the tidal wave that did us in.
I am in no way saying this last year has been easy or uneventful. It has been a challenge but with treatment and support services we have managed without catastrophe. I only wish every family could navigate puberty with bipolar as smoothly as we have, unfortunately I know the very real truth is it is exceptionally rare for families to have reached the stage of knowledge and management that we have so early in diagnosis. I really hope this blog helps some of you out there who are struggling.
Thankfully Jac doesn’t show any of the indicators at all which would have me concerned about PMDD. She is the complete Opposite of everything that I have experienced of PMDD for myself and her elder sister.
Unfortunately like her eldest sister, hers was an experience of Pain and Nausea. Put to bed with some Naprogesic, a hot water bottle, Passion Flower and Chamomile Tea with honey and lime slices she felt a little better. All we can do for now is wait and see and pray that when they do try to seek treatment for possible Endometriosis they don’t wind up riding the merry go round their mother currently is. At least they have access to a reproductive health doctor from the start.
all 4 of us unfortunately all score the exhausting drain of Anemia during menses with Iron Supplements barely touching the sides of it.