I’m sure we’ve all googled this at least ten times in our lives (I know I have), so I have decided to make a list for all you beautiful troopers. Get your pads, tampons, diva cups, Thinx, cloth pads and sea sponges ready ladies because you will be invincible after this read.
1. Download a good period-tracking app
Personally, I love using Eve by Glow. Other than tracking your period, this God-given app allows you to record daily logs of physical symptoms, physical activities, food consumption, and emotional health. For instance, you can record whether or not you feel bloated or had salty snacks or exercised/had sex or whatever it is you did. When you look back, you may be able to see some sort of causality in the foods you’re eating or the activities you’re performing (or lack thereof) and the symptoms you may be feeling (additionally, Eve is a platform for women to talk to each other about things like sex, relationships, fashion advice or just simple daily empowerment messages).
2. Keep extra pairs of underwear around
I cannot stress enough how many pairs of underwear I have had to throw away because of unexpected periods—moment of silence please. Luckily, PINK has our back with that 5 for $27.50 deal. Keep a pair in your car, at your job, or in your purse whenever you’re close to that “time of the month” and you will be avoiding a very uncomfortable situation.
3. Take pain relievers a day or two before your period starts
This tip will probably not eliminate your menstrual cramps altogether but it will soften the blow (or the excruciating, agonizing pain). Every month I have had to miss at least one day of school or I have had to call out from work because of cramps. After I heard of this tip however, I was able to manage the pain once my period started and bare through that God-awful first day.
4. Avoid caffeine
I know these are trying times girl, believe me. But try to avoid things like coffee (yes, coffee), hot chocolate and tea. Caffeine may build tension in your body causing your cramps to worsen. Instead of having my usual 2-3 cups a day, I try to only have one in the morning. *wipes tear*
5. DIY Heating pads
Rice heating pad – You will need uncooked rice, a long sock, and a microwave. After filling the sock with rice, microwave it for 1-2 minutes and it should last for about two hours but the smell of rice may be a bit overpowering. If the smell does bother you, you could replace the rice with flaxseeds. These rice bags can also be used as ice packs and can last several years.
Water bottle – This is usually my go-to option. I fill up a small or large water bottle (whatever I have) with hot water and it does the trick although you will need to replace it in a few hours.
Your other option would be to invest in an actual heating pad but why would you do that when you have these super easy (and cheap) alternatives?
Studies suggest that orgasms relieve menstrual cramps because of the many endorphins that are released. Your muscles will instantly feel relaxed and there would be no need for over-the-counter pain meds. Not only will sex alleviate cramps but it may shorten your period as it forces your uterus to contract and “push out” everything that is causing you to cramp up.
7. DRINK LOTS AND LOTS OF WATER
Honestly I thought this tip was B.S. when I read it because I knew water retention caused bloating which leads to stronger cramps. However, drinking loads of water will actually prevent your body from retaining water. Seriously guys, this tip is very important and not only will it alleviate cramps, but it will also help clear up your acne and decrease breast tenderness.
8. Your cravings may be worsening your cramps
During your menstruating period, your body experiences a mineral deficiency therefore causing you to crave sodium indicating that there is a deficiency. However, you should steer clear of highly processed foods as this salt will not be of any benefit to your body. Instead, stock up on vegetables and try cooking with sea-salt! Secondly, because our bodies are losing so much fluid, it is natural to become dehydrated. Your body will begin to crave more salt in order to retain water in your kidneys. However, this should be an indication for you to drink more water! Personally, I seem to crave red meat only when I’m close to my period which I thought was really strange for a while. The reason some of us crave iron is because our bodies are in the process of losing it. However, red meat contains saturated fats and increases estrogen in our system which only increases PMS. Instead, try satisfying that craving with beans.
9. Exercising may help
I cannot say I have witnessed this first-hand but a lot of women swear by it. Exercising may help with various symptoms such as bloating. Sweating helps your body get rid of the water it has been retaining therefore lessening cramps. I would suggest taking some pain relievers before mustering up the courage to get on the treadmill so that a cramp doesn’t sneak up on you. If you’re not up for the traditional exercises, perhaps hot yoga is a better alternative. During yoga, your muscles will feel less contracted and will rid your body of any tension you’re feeling in your pelvic area.
10. Just let it out
During my period, I tend to feel stressed out and overly emotional about things I normally don’t feel emotional towards. I found that if I just let it all out (i.e. crying during every scene of Forrest Gump) my mind and body feel more at ease.
Take Home Message...
All periods are unique ladies and this list is by no means definitive. Make sure to stock up on greens for plenty of Calcium to avoid muscle spasms and sharp cramps. It is O.K. to indulge your cravings to a limit but remember to drink lots of water and eat dark chocolate! It is very important to listen to what your bodies are trying to tell you. For those of you who do not experience any of these symptoms during your period, you are truly so blessed and I envy you at times—just kidding (am I?). Also remember that there is nothing to be ashamed about during this totally natural and cleansing period (no pun intended) and do not let anyone tell you otherwise!