Yes, it’s a fact of life and all that hoo-haa but if you are anything like me then you could do with some tips on how to not let your period bother you so much with every monthly visit. Considering for the majority of us, this is a life long event up until we hit the big M (menopause) it makes sense to make it as manageable as possible and learn how to not let your period bother you so much, right? So here goes...
1. Know when Aunt Flo’s in Town
Up until recently with each month I would be surprised as the month before that my period had arrived, as though it was a freak accident each and every time. It wasn't because I wasn't regular; I just wasn't organised. So I’d be caught unawares mid work day or social event by excruciating period pains letting me know it was that time of the month again. I now started jot down in my diary when my period is due and also the week before so I can mentally be aware and make sure I have the necessary equipment on me… If you know what I mean. Being prepared ahead of time, by knowing when it will come, is one of the best ways to not let your period bother you so much.
2. Mentally Prepare
As if the period pains are not enough to contend with, I seem to loose all rationality and emotional stability the week before my period. If you know it is coming then you will be more aware of your emotions and be able to bear in mind that at any point during the lead up, the slightest hiccup, unfriendly bank teller or rogue hair could possibly send you around the bend.
3. Combat the Pain
Excess estrogen in our bodies, can cause heavier and more painful periods and cramps. Fiber helps to cleanse the body of excess estrogen, so try to maintain a fiber rich diet by enjoying foods such as wholegrain foods, nuts, fruits and seeds. Pay attention to what foods seem to help reduce pains or those that only make them worse.
4. Be in the Know
I know why we get our periods, but I wasn't too sure about why I feel like Cruella Deville the week before up until now. Estrogen levels slowly rise just after our periods end and then peak two weeks later. After they peak, they drop like lead balloons and slowly start to rise again. These dramatic shifts in levels are thought to be the reason for the mood swings that many women experience. If you know what’s going on and why, rather than just presuming you’re going nuts once a month, it seems a little more manageable doesn't it?
5. Stick a Pin in It
Many women suffer from lower back pain, anxiety, depression, headaches and insomnia during their periods. Although when you’re in pain all you want to do is have it stop, it is beneficial to look at other options than popping a pill every time you feel a pang. Acupuncture is an Ancient Chinese healing technique in which they insert thin needles into your skin to treat a variety of issues. It has no been recognized by the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture as a viable treatment for PMS and the symptoms associated with it.
6. All Puffed up
One of the biggest things that bugs me about my period is the bloating. My fingers are replaced by 10 chipolata sausages and my face looks as though I am storing nuts for the impending winter. It turns out that the hormones involved with preparing a uterus for implantation create the bloating that many women suffer from. The best way to combat bloating is to drink as much water as possible and eat foods that are primarily made up of water such as berries, salads and melons. Stay away from foods high in salt and diuretics such as coffee, tea and wait for it… chocolate! Although these foods/drinks are usually diuretics, during a women’s cycle they will only increase bloating.
7. Easy Does It
Instead of seeing my period as some laborious torture that I have to endure once a month, I am now starting to treat it as a time for me to be extra considerate towards myself. On the day it arrives have a lovely hot shower, get to bed early and be gentle on yourself (and those around you) If we associate our periods with pain, bad moods and general unpleasantness, then that’s what we will get every time. Changing how you treat yourself and go about things may help change your experience of your period.
8. Keep Moving
Unlike back in my Mums day when having your period meant no form of physical exertion whatsoever let alone taking a dip at the local pool! Nowadays, if you have the right ‘tools’ you can go about your normal routine with ease. Try to keep up with your exercise routine during your period as not only will the endorphins help lift your mood and combat bloating, but after it’s done you’ll still be on track exercise wise.
Our monthly cycles are part and parcel of what make us women, but that does not mean that we have to ride the menstrual roller coaster every month coming out feeling drained, inflated and in agony every time. In what ways does your period impact your life and do you have any suggestions on how to not let your period bother you?