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Some women know exactly when they’re going to get their period. They can circle the day on their calendar and know, with absolute, self-assured certainty that that is the day their cycle will start.

Other women can’t do that. Not even a little bit. And it’s the worst. Here are some struggles you definitely understand if you have a very irregular period:

You’ve given up buying cute underwear.

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Or light-colored underwear.

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Pretty much all of the underwear you own at this point is plain black and cotton.

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Ditto your bed sheets.

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At least once in your life, you’ve accidentally tie-dyed the back of a pair of pants bright red because you obliviously left the house thinking, “My vagina definitely won’t start bleeding today.” But you were wrong.

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People tell you to just start taking birth control, like that will solve everything.

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But you’ve done that, maybe for years, and you know that’s not true for everyone.

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When your doctor asks you for the date of your last period, you’re usually just like ¯_(ツ)_/¯ because it’s so erratic you’ve honestly lost track.

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You keep a couple of home pregnancy tests on hand just to give yourself peace of mind for those times when your period decides to take a longer break than usual before making its surprise comeback.

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And it’s not just the timing that’s irregular. It’s everything—the length, the flow, the whole deal.

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As a result, you have to have pads and tampons on hand, everywhere—because you have to be prepared for anything at any time.

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Any sex you have could end up being period sex.

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Planning anything involving swimming is almost not even worth it.

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You’re an expert on which bathrooms near your home/office/favorite coffee shop have tampon machines (and which ones actually keep them stocked).

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By necessity, you’ve become a menstruation MacGyver, able to create makeshift pads out of wads of toilet paper, first aid gauze, or anything else sanitary and absorbent you can find in a pinch.

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People told you for years that your cycle would get more regular when you got older.

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But you’re still waiting for that to happen.

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