Being on your period isn’t just bleeding for a few days. Anyone who has ever had a period will know that it comes with a whole host of other experiences, emotions, and pains! To help keep you as happy as possible while menstruating, we’ve gathered together our top period symptoms and their solutions.
The most notorious of all period woes, cramping occurs when your uterine muscles contract and expand in order to push the fluid out. Formally known as “primary dysmenorrhea”, it takes place with different intensities in different people, proving to be quite the nuisance!
- Exercising: We realize that it may seem counter-intuitive: you feel like avoiding movement at all costs. However, experts suggest that exercising might actually help relieve period pain. By releasing endorphins, along with reducing PMS symptoms, exercising can uplift your mood!
- Applying heat: Heating pads help with relieving period cramps. Applying heat to your belly and lower back helps relax the muscles, easing pain and increasing blood flow. You could use a hot press or a hot water bottle for this.
- Having an orgasm: Either by yourself or with your partner, having an orgasm is known to relieve cramps, as well as elevate mood. Don’t shy away from a little extra loving during your period!
#2: No sex
Many menstruators avoid intercourse during their period. Be it for worries about mess-making, or due to a lowered sex drive, it can be annoying to have to sit around and wait! As mentioned before, orgasms can be of great help in relieving cramps and bettering your mood during your period.
If you’re someone who experiences a heightened sex drive on your period, and you are worried about mess, there’s no need to say no. Using nixit, a cup that sits at the base of your cervix, enables your vaginal canal to be free. Don’t let your period get in the way - indulge wholeheartedly, without the worry of stains or leaks!
#3: Leaks & Stains
Ever let the hyper-awareness slip a little while on your period, only to find that your blood has freshly decorated your clothes? Leakage and staining are regular occurrences to menstruators, particularly users of pads and tampons. In fact, many tampon users choose to double up, using pads as well, for extra protection.
While it is natural for stains to occur from time to time, there are a few ways they can be avoided. Wearing loose, dark-colored clothes enable both in comfort and in concealing possible leaks. However, we believe you should be able to wear your favourite white, fitted jeans or bathing suit worry-free! Menstrual cups to the rescue. nixit holds up to 4 times the flow of super tampons and even 2 times that of traditional menstrual cups. No more unwanted leaking on our watch!
#4: Lethargy, fatigue, and distractedness
“Brain fog” is a common experience, both for those on their period, as well as those experiencing PMS. Sluggishness and forgetfulness may occur due to drops in serotonin, a neurotransmitter. Iron deficiency is another cause of brain fog and tiredness, which may show more severely during your period due to the loss of blood. Anemia can be diagnosed with a blood test; we recommend consulting your GP if symptoms persist.
Eating iron-rich foods such as red meat and egg yolks may help, or leafy greens and beans if you prefer plants. Here too, healthy routines help. Good amounts of sleep, exercise, and hydration can go a long way in reducing your fatigue and giving you clarity!
You could also track your cycle so you might anticipate these days better, while being prepared with lighter schedules, greater planning, and long-lasting menstrual products.
#5: Nausea and diarrhea
Whilst on your period, your body releases a hormone called prostaglandin. While its primary purpose is to shed the uterine lining, it occasionally gets into the bloodstream. This can cause menstruators nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Headaches occur as a result of this as well.
You could kick these symptoms with over-the-counter medication, or try some recommended home remedies. Ginger, either in lozenge or tea form can regulate your body’s prostaglandins. Cinnamon as well - it contains the compound eugenol that suppresses prostaglandins. This reduces menstrual bleeding, nausea, and pain. Other beneficial foods for this include Fennel and peppermint. Or, try sticking to blander food!
#6: Mood changes
Mood changes are a common occurrence, both during PMS as well as on period days. While there are no clear causes for changes in mood, it is likely that hormonal changes are to blame.
Exercise, good amounts of rest, and regulated (reduced!) caffeine use can help create suitable conditions for your body and mind. There is also evidence to suggest that yoga, talk therapy and meditation can elevate mood by reducing stress.
#7: Tender breasts
Sore, tender, and painful breasts are experienced by some menstruators. While this symptom is not common to all, it can prove to be quite a nuisance for some!
Over-the-counter NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen can be taken to reduce pain. This Healthline.com article details lifestyle changes that can help. They suggest reduced fats, salt, caffeine, and alcohol to help in reducing breast pain. You may combine these with wearing comfortable and supportive clothing - let’s ditch the underwire!
Again (our trusted friend), regular exercise is said to help and reduce pain. Some types of exercise, such as running, may worsen the pain, however, low-impact exercises such as walking, biking, or yoga may be beneficial. Remember to listen to your body, if exercise doesn’t feel right, then rest could be a better fit for you.
**Lastly, remember that despite the hassle, all these period symptoms are signs of a healthy reproductive system! Regular periods and all of their related processes go a long way in keeping our bodies healthy.
The next time you cramp, get a little sore or another symptom has got you down, remember to extend a little love to yourself. You’re doing great, you've got this!
Do you have another solution that we didn't cover? We'd love to hear from you! Add it to the comments here or send us a DM on Instagram and be sure to follow along if you don't already!