In the beginning, there was pain.
My periods began when I was 13-years-old, and I only remember them accompanied with pain. I bled heavily each month for six to eight days. As I got older, I would find myself passed out on my bedroom or bathroom floor from painful cramps. I would pass heavy blood clots, was often lightheaded, and regularly was prescribed iron supplements and over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen. When Alleve came on the market, I was thrilled to try a new pain reliever. They would dull, but never eradicate, the pain. My periods were always preceded with hefty bouts of PMS; I suffered from bloating, fatigue, headaches, skin rashes, and swelling in my knees and fingers.