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Caption:Steph, 27, uses an IUD as well as tampons and pads to manage her period. 'I have an IUD to help manage my endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome, which in turn helps manage my menstrual cycle as well.' Melbourne, Australia, September 2018
Credit:WaterAid/ David Freeman
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Steph, 27, Melbourne.

I have an IUD (a Mirena) to help manage my endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome, which in turn helps manage my menstrual cycle as well. The Mirena means that I don't get a regular period, which is exactly what I was hoping for. Instead I have maybe 2 days of very light bleeding a month, it is quite random at the moment, but I don't find this difficult to deal with. I almost always experience pain before the bleeding starts, so I can predict my needs quite well. For any bleeding I do have, I use pads and tampons as needed. I also have some prescribed pain medication to help ease any symptoms that my cycle may cause.

The Mirena and pain medication were prescribed by my gynaecologist and bought from a chemist. The Mirena was inserted during a laparoscopy surgery that I had September 2017, which was completed by my gynaecologist. I am also on another medication, that was prescribed by my urogynaecologist, but this doesn't directly relate to my cycle and/or periods.

I use brand name pads and tampons as needed. I get them from the supermarket, but often forget to restock and my wonderful partner goes out to buy them for me. Luckily he is very comfortable with all this!

I use things that have been prescribed to me to help with my health conditions. All of the things prescribed to me have been discussed with specialists in the field as well as my GP and my nutritionist. I use the sanitary products I use to help manage my hygiene.

I buy them because I use them for hygiene. I have never thought twice about if I should/can buy them or not. Because I manage my cycle with an IUD, I don't need many sanitary items and a pack can last me as long as a year, so I don't need to constantly worry if I have any in my drawer or not. I do often feel bad if a friend asks me for a tampon, because I never have any on me!

My mum taught me what to use when I am on my period. We learnt about these things in high school, but I got my first period years before that and mum taught me everything I know.

I have in recent years switched to more eco-friendly products. But apart from that I have no concerns about the materials I use.

Using these products don't keep me from doing any kinds of activities. However when I have my period, I always wear a pair of pants with a pocket so I can keep a tampon on me.

I do feel different of course when I am on my period. I experience quite a lot of pain, which effects my mood. I always know it wont last long though. Luckily I have a wonderful partner who heats up my heat pack and feeds me chocolate. I am also lucky in that I work in women's health. So our workplace is very supportive of everyone's individual health needs. In my office at work, there are 3 of us, all females all in our mid-20s. I am very grateful that I spend so much time with others who are going through the same things I am going through.

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