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Written by Valerie Pogue, RN, BSN, MPH, CCWS, courtesy ofHealth in Her Hue

Most girls get their period at age 13. Not me. I was almost 15 years old. Based on what I learned in school and what I heard from friends and family, I was anxiously awaiting and dreading the moment when I became the girl with the embarrassing spot on the back of her pants. However, that never happened. My period was different. It was unpredictable. It was either the unwanted house guest that never left OR the person who tells you they'll be at your house in an hour and never shows up.  Some cycles were accompanied by cramps and clotting, while others never even required the use of a pad.  I would go through the typical hormonal changes that signal the arrival of a period, but there was no guarantee that a period would follow. I could count on one hand the number of times I received a surprise visit from every girl's unwanted friend.

I never hid the fact that I didn’t have a regular period, but in retrospect, I don't think I was very open about just how irregular it was. I always knew that something was wrong, but I was never really compelled to address the issue. Menstruation is what turned girls into women and allowed us to be able to have children. I wasn't in any pain and my quality of life was not impacted. In my mind, I was simply someone who had irregular periods.

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