Managing Travel When Bleeding Non-stop

Last updated: December 2022

Recently I have been experiencing a bleeding episode on its fourteenth day. While this is nothing new, I am exhausted and will cry as soon as anyone mentions the word “holiday.”

Deep down, that is all I want: a break from this body. I still don’t have a medical explanation for the bleeding, although it could be a side effect of my hormonal medication.

Because the bleeding is going nowhere, it has become a disrupting side of endometriosis that I am learning to manage on the go.

Traveling while bleeding

Last week I had to travel from my city to a town three hours away, and stay at a hotel for one night. The thought of doing so while bleeding profusely made me extremely anxious.

Yet, as soon as I was off, I knew my long-term experience with this disease had provided me with many tools. All I had to do was put them into action to make my journey easier.

I forced myself to ask for help

There is a certain element of pride in managing life with a chronic illness. Many of us want to appear healthy to everyone around us in order not to disappoint or unnerve.

But often, this means letting ourselves down. On this occasion, I wasn’t traveling alone, yet the friend I was with hadn’t known me for very long.

This meant they wouldn’t automatically know what I would struggle with the most. I had to explicitly ask for help carrying my bag when I felt too weak to do it.

I also explained my dietary needs when choosing a restaurant for the evening.

Speaking up for myself made the whole experience kinder and more manageable, which made me better company.

I used public transport unapologetically

Because I don’t have a car, I tend to walk everywhere. But that is impossible when your energy levels are compromised by non-stop bleeding.

So, even though it meant stretching my budget, I ordered a taxi to get me to the train station and another one to get us to the hotel. It was well worth it.

I remembered to eat well

Normally, because I get so anxious about travel, I forget to feed myself. I always assume I will be fine on one cup of coffee until I am not, end up with the shakes, and feel light-headed.

Traveling by train may have meant sitting down for hours, but it also involved switching trains and walking up and down flights of stairs. When our first train was delayed, my friend and I headed to a restaurant to eat a full breakfast.

I picked up a huge peanut butter cookie with my coffee on the way back. Eating well during my travels meant I could function at my destination.

I wasn't afraid to bring my arsenal of comfort

I would have probably traveled more lightly had I not brought everything I need for life with endometriosis. My suitcase held all my regular tools, including painkillers, extra pads, my TENS unit, and anything that would make me feel comfortable if the bleeding worsened.

I believe life with endometriosis means developing the ability to carry on despite disrupting symptoms. Yet to get on with our lives, some things can make any challenge much easier.

We have to love ourselves enough to decide that every little effort, management tool, and expense is a gift to ourselves.

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