Period. Cycle. Aunt Flow. AF. That time. Menstruation. Whatever you call it; women everywhere have a hatred for it. Periods are miserable. They come with bloating, acne, cramps, backaches, mood swings… Do I need to go on?
BUT more importantly than any of that, periods bring something amazing; something many women easily forget during the suffering. Periods come with fertility. I used to hate my cycle as well. I’d be lying if I didn’t wish my husband could take a turn every few months. Without a period though, I’d never have gotten the opportunity to conceive my daughters, carry them, feel them move inside me, labor with them, deliver them… Being a woman is a big deal. It comes with some amazing benefits so for me, menstruation is just the price we pay for all those special moments our husbands will never know.
This time of the month does not have to be miserable for you. Sure, there are medicines you can take but most of these are natural ways you can help yourself. Cheap solutions. Easy solutions. Here are eight ways to make your period not so miserable:
- Take Ibuprofen on heavier days. This can decrease blood flow up to 25-30%. Doesn’t hurt the cramps either. Unless you have a medical reason to not do so, please take my advice on this one. We all normally have at least one “heavy” day, you know which day I’m talking about. Just take a dose of an anti-inflammatory every 4-6 hours for that day. It’s worth it.
- Use moist heat for sore muscles and joints, including for backaches and cramps. Moist heat helps increase circulation. It also provides longer relief at lower, safer temperatures. It is easy and cheap to find. A warm shower, a hot wash cloth or a rice sock are all alternatives to heating pads.
- Stick with your exercise routine. Work out with a lower intensity but don’t avoid working out just because of your period. A light workout will help stretch abdomen and uterine muscles.
- Eat more. Stick with healthy snacks. Women’s metabolic rates increase 10-15% during menstruation. The cravings you experience are real due to nutrients being used by the body in different ways this week of the month. Be smart about your choices. Try some dark chocolate in a healthy trail mix or some almond or hazelnut butter with your apple slices. Salt craving? Try pretzel sticks or baked wheat crackers like Triscuits and Wheat Thins over greasy potato chips.
- Use organic or cloth pads. The chemicals used to bleach and increase absorbency in modern products have been linked to unnecessary surges of hormones in women’s bodies. This could mean heavier bleeding, cramping or both. Increase water intake.
- Have sex. The rhythmic spasms from an orgasm can be very soothing for cramps. The endorphins and hormones released can help with mood swings and depression as well as lack of energy experienced sometimes during good ole AF.
- Use a Simethicone product for bloating. Gas X is a common brand. This does not mean you actually need to be tooting to need Gas X. Bloating is caused by air bubbles and water retention. This can be very uncomfortable. None on hand? Steal a few drops of your baby’s Mylicon.
- Try a grapeseed, coconut or olive oil for moisture. Both during and after your cycle, you may feel dryer than normal. Your skin may be damaged from being trapped against pads or tampons for seven days. A natural vegetable based oil is fully hypoallergenic, safe and comfortable. These oils also make great lubricants. (See point 6.) **Oil based lubricants decrease the effectiveness of condoms. Do NOT say I didn’t warn you!
Don’t worry, I’m not naïve enough to believe that you will suddenly jump on board the Aunt Flow love train BUT I do hope I’ve opened your eyes to enjoying it not letting it ruin your week just slightly more. Focus on the positive. Keep living your life. And seriously, try number 6.
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