“I was a confident person in high school. I participated in all school activities and made friends easily. But college was different. It was stressful and I started depending on food to cope with stress. This led to weight gain and an irregular menstrual cycle. I’d always been familiar and comfortable with menstruation. The extreme irregularity was new. At one point, I hadn’t had a period in 4 months.

I had a condition called amenorrhea which is the absence of menstruation. I sought advice from my teacher who recommended I see a gynecologist. I was prescribed medicine for a year. There were a couple of side effects including drowsiness. My menstrual cycle is still not completely normal but I’m not on any medication for now. Having learned from my own experience, I was able to advise a friend of mine who only had her period once a year.

Gaining weight not only impacted my menstrual cycle but also lowered my confidence. People around me commented on my weight change and some even sexualized my body. After joining college, my participation in activities drastically decreased and I lost myself in the process. I am still learning to self-prioritize and surround myself with people who have good energy. I also started practicing meditation and reading books.

We still find it uncomfortable to talk about menstruation in Bhutan. Even some of my peers are not comfortable talking about it. Nevertheless, I have the right to share about my body and my experiences. Being open about such things could help young girls understand that each body is different, and everyone experiences different things. It also validates the feelings of girls with a condition similar to mine and helps them gain their confidence and self-esteem back. Additionally, it helps the individual understand that there are many ways one can improve themselves, and having/not having a period doesn’t define a woman’s worth!”

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