10 Ways to Make Your Period Suck Less
Uwe Porters - Midwife & Menstrual Cycle Expert
Like it or not, if you’re a menstruating woman, you’re going to get your period pretty much every month. From the time of your first cycle to menopause, the average woman will have around 450 periods! Added up, this equals about 3,500 days – or TEN years – that you’ll spend bleeding! And often, it’s not just bleeding. You might have cramps, acne, mood swings or trouble sleeping.
We know that sounds pretty grim but rather than pretending it’s not happening, we thought we’d tell you how to make periods suck less and how to make those 3,500 days you spend menstruating as guud as possible!
1. Start Tracking Your Cycle
There is nothing worse than being caught somewhere and unexpectedly getting your period. Rather than fashion a DIY pad out of toilet paper each month, we recommend getting ahead of the game. Start tracking your cycle using one of the many apps available. Many will even give you alerts to let you know your period is due so you can plan accordingly! (Not sure which one is right for you? Check our post rounding up our top picks for period tracking apps!).
2. Keep Some Spare Underwear Handy
Even the best laid plans can sometimes fail. Even if you’re totally on top of your cycle, leaks can’t always be avoided. Consider keeping a spare pair of underwear in your bag so you’re not stuck in an uncomfortable situation all day.
3. Cut Down on Coffee
We know you can feel extra tired when you have your period, so it can be tempting to reach for the caffeine, but caffeine may not be the best choise. Why? Read more about the influence of coffee on your hormones!
4. Up Your Iron Levels
When you’re on your period and bleed a lot, your iron levels might get a tad low. Avoid the temptation to reach for that greasy burger. Instead, up your iron levels by eating lots of green leafy veg like spinach and kale.
5. Plan Your Period Snacks
When you have your period, your hormones can cause all sorts of food cravings, especially salt. But salt can cause you to retain water and make you feel sluggish and bloated. Instead, plan ahead. Make sure you have plenty of period-friendly snacks on hand. We love things like nuts, bananas and a little bit of dark chocolate. Dark dhocolate contains magnesium, an interesting mineral responsible for many important functions in your body.
6. Get Your Fill of Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C
Vitamin B6 is a power vitamin! Vitamin B6 contributes to normal energy-producing metabolism, normal nervous system function, normal psychological function, normal immune system function, fatigue reduction, regulation of hormonal activity, and much more. You can find it in things like turkey, fish, chicken, nuts, bananas, potatoes and eggs.
Vitamin C is also an interesting vitamin that can help relieve a variety of symptoms. Stock up on citrus fruits, cranberry juice and if you’re a fan, add some Brussel sprouts in there too.
7. Drink Lots of Water
When you are on your period, your estrogen levels are low and this cause you to retain less water. Too little water in your body can make you weak or irritable. It can also give you a headache and make your skin tight and dry.
Therefore, when you have your period, it is extra important to drink plenty of water. Carry a water bottle with you and aim for 2-3 liters a day. You can also get some extra water in by drinking tea. Many types of tea have traditionally been used for menstrual cramps, especially peppermint, ginger or cinnamon tea.
8. Increase Your Snooze Time
Get some extra Zzzzs when you have your period (as if you needed an excuse?!)
Sleep is important for lots of bodily functions, so make sure you get enough!
You might feel like curling up on the couch with a water bottle and Netflix but a little bit of movement can do wonders for your body. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. These feel-good hormones can help alleviate cramps and give you an energy boost. You don’t need to do something intense like go for a run to get the benefits. A stroll in nature, a mindful yoga session or a walk with the dog will do the trick.
Yoga is an especially good way to alleviate menstrual cramps and stretch and soothe muscles. Leigh Ryan, a yoga teacher in New Jersey, suggests these poses that could relieve cramps:
- Half Camel Pose: Kneel upright on the floor (so your bum is resting on your heels) and reach back with your right hand to touch your right ankle, keeping your hips pressed forward. Repeat on your left side. Ryan says this can stretch the muscles around your hips and help release some negative energy.
- Seated Forward Fold: Sit with your legs straight out in front of you and bend forward as far as you comfortably can. This can feel like a massage for your organs so its kind of like a backrub for your uterus!
- Child's Pose: This is a great posture if your cramps are causing you lower back pain. Start on your hands and knees, with your knees about hip-width apart and your big toes touching each other. Keeping your hands on the floor and arms outstretched, rock your butt back towards your heels and lower your torso to the floor.
Want to learn more about how to exercise according to your cycle? Check out our blog post here.
10. Treat Yourself
You’ve got about 3,500 days of periods ahead of you. That is too much time to waste feeling sorry for yourself. Instead, try to find a way to embrace your period. It’s a sign that you’re a healthy, fertile goddess of a woman! Consider using your period as a time to do something nice for yourself. Book a massage, get dressed up, put on a clay mask and listen to some jazz. Whatever floats your boat. It doesn’t need to be extravagant and it might just give you a little something to look forward to.
If nothing seems to be helping, talk to your GP or gynecologist. They can check for more serious issues like endometriosis that might be causing you to have extremely uncomfortable or painful periods.
Still have questions about your menstrual health? Chat with us! We are in this together