That time of the month.
Ladies. We can all agree that our periods, depending on how your body works, can be super complicated. You have an entire list of things that can go wrong while you are menstruating and it's about a mile long. To list a few things that plague that majority of us women are well, the obvious bleeding, the cramps from hell, breakouts, mood swings, bloating, ruined underwear.
If any of those things haunt you for about a week or more every month, then I am not here to tell you that there is some magic pill to stop it all (Because we all know Birth control only does so much when it comes to weight gain, hormones, etc). No, I am here to let you know that just because you are on your period and it's complicated as hell, the way you take care of your body doesn't have to be.
Also to be clear I'm not trying to sell you on this whole crunchy approach either, where you ditch your sanitary products and paint with your period blood, that's more BuzzFeed's thing. I just want to let you know that if you don't like aspirin/Tylenol for your cramps you've got other options!
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's tackle the main portion of what we as women mostly face during this time of the month, the bleeding! Now, just in case we have anyone where who doesn't know too much about what's actually going on down there, the run down in simple terms is your vagina likes to practice having babies.
Though, obviously, if you haven't had sex, more specifically unprotected sex (or any other way of artificial insemination) your egg, that dropped from your ovaries doesn't stick to the uterine wall, and then once the cycle has ended and there is no baby, the walls that formed begin to break down. Thus you bleed. Obviously, it's a bit more complicated than just that, but you get the gist.
So, no doubt in my mind when you were introduced to sexual education in school, to help manage your bleeding, you were introduced to a Pad or Tampon. Probably something from the Always brand, well, I'm not "coming at you" if you love these kinds of products, I mean they are what I used when I first got my period. What bothered me growing up thinking that these were my only choices. Over the last few years, more specifically after I suffered from TSS symptoms after using a tampon, I've taken a deeper dive into products that steer clear from the traditional route.
AKA there are cleaner alternatives to overly pushed branded sanitary products we all know today that leave out harmful toxins and ingredients, just to make your period "smell/feel" better. Plus, a lot of these options are cheaper than the regular name brand. These brands create sanitary products that use no more than five natural ingredients.
If using pads and tampons isn't the route for you, there are also other products that are toxic ingredients free and eco-friendly, like the menstrual cups.
If you suffer from cramps during your period, you know how impossible it seems to go about your day. The media, your family and friends and even your doctors will tell you that the best solution for your cramps would be to take some kind of medication. While, there is nothing wrong with opting in for your Advil, or Tylenol, it's best to know that before you treat your symptoms with hard medicine, that there are other ways around it that don't have serious side effects.
The first tip is to regulate your diet with foods that help alleviate cramping. Introduce, bananas, and lemons into your system before your cycle begins. Banana is loaded with magnesium, which is great for muscle relaxation, while lemons introduce vitamin C, a key vitamin that helps your body absorb the iron from your foods. Iron is important for your body during this time, due to the fact that your body is losing quite a bit of blood.
If you haven't heard of heat compression, then you need to get on this next tip now. Heat compression has been used to help sooth cramping for years. Studies have found that using a heating pad, patch or some kind of container with fluid at 104°F (40°C) was as effective as taking ibuprofen. If you don't have a hot water bottle or heating pad, take a warm bath or use a hot towel on the areas where you are noticing the pain. You can find these products on Amazon or at your local Target, CVS or grocery store.
Mood swings can be extremely overpowering when it comes to our periods. It's something that either you go through, or you don't. If you have ticked off yes, then here are a few things you can to help regulate your body's hormones to get your mood in check.
Start with multivitamins like magnesium vitamin B, and calcium D. Magnesium as mentioned before not only helps alleviate cramps, but it supports your hormones, which hello, in case you haven't been following along controls PMS. Vitamin B and (c) D help reduce your estrogen levels back down to a more "normal" state. This just means, the excess estrogen your body produces during this time of the month, makes you go through PMS, along with other symptoms like cramping and migraines. These Vitamins can be found Amazon or by going to your local apothecary. Places like Target and your local grocery store also carry these vitamins close to their pharmacy aisles.
Though alternative care and knowledge for your periods is a viable option, the best care and instructions for more severe symptoms should come from your OB/GYN or your regular physician.
With the knowledge you now have over alternative care for your period, I can only hope you take the power back from not only your period but from the "norms" of what your period care should be. Take a stand for a cleaner more natural period care and start paying attention to what you are doing to your body.