Being a woman is one of our superpowers!
We are strong, we are tough, and we get periods!
While this may seem like a negative point, it doesn’t need to be. It can be a few days that we dedicate to ourselves for a bit of self-care, and by following our tips you may even start looking forward to it! (Ok….maybe that’s a stretch!)
1. Understand the process
I am a big believer in knowledge first! Understand your body, love your body, and know how amazing it is. Your menstrual cycle has 3 phases: the follicular phase (first half), the ovulatory phase (egg release) and the luteal (second half). Menstruation (your period) occurs at the end of the cycle. The cycle involves several chemicals, substances, and hormones, and some of the “side-effects” of these are what makes your period not that awesome. Here are some of them:
– Estrogen levels rise during the mid-follicular phase and then drop after ovulation. It rises again for the second time in the mid-luteal phase and drops again at the end of the cycle. Estrogen can cause water retention which results in that awful bloating! The drop in estrogen levels can leave you feeling tired.
– The main job of progesterone is to prepare the lining of the uterus for pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur, progesterone levels drop, and menstruation starts. Progesterone can cause constipation, and then as progesterone levels drop at the end of the cycle along with the increase of prostaglandins (see below) the opposite can happen causing diarrhea.
– Prostaglandins are released as the uterus lining breaks down.These chemicals cause constriction of the blood vessels and contraction of the uterine muscles. This contraction can cause painful cramping. Prostaglandins can also cause headaches, nausea, and diarrhea.
2. Know the effect of food
You know the saying “what you put in, you get out!” Research into the effect of food has showed how adjusting what you eat can help with many of period “symptoms”. Here is what they found:
Try hard to avoid the following:
– Salty foods (including processed foods) make bloating worse.
–Dairy products can irritate your digestive system and make unhappy tummies evenmore unhappy!
– Alcohol can worsen bloating, so best to avoid!
– Caffeine can worsen a few period problems. It can disrupt your sleep (causing tiredness and low energy), this added to the decrease in energy before your period (remember the estrogen drop!), can leave you feeling very flat! Caffeine can cause anxiety and altered mood which can worsen PMS. Caffeine can upset your tummy and cause hydration!
– Sugar Sugar influences your glucose, insulin, and hormone levels. (it’s a complicated process but cutting out sugar helps balance everything!)
Try to include these in your diet:
-Food’s high in potassium (bananas, sweet potatoes) help with cramping and bloating
– Food’s rich in fiber (whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts etc.) help keep your tummy regular and can aid in the elimination of excess estrogen.
– Food’s containing magnesium (dark chocolate, leafy green veggies) ease musclecramps and can help with menstrual related headaches.
– Food’s rich in iron (green leafy vegetables) can help increase iron levels that maydrop during your menstrual cycle, esp. if you have a heavy menstrual flow.
– Cinnamon was found to influence the reduction of pain, bleeding, and nauseawithout side effects.
– Ginger may decrease bleeding and pain due to its effect on prostaglandinproduction.
– Water! Fresh water and herbal teas increase hydration, decrease water retention,and reduce cramping.
3. Yup! You should be exercising!
We all know that its important to be fit and healthy, regular exercise throughout your menstrual cycle helps to regulate hormones and promotes general well-being. During your period you may not feel like exercising, but low impact exercise will decrease cramping, decrease pain, and increase endorphins. Try swopping a jog for awalk or a swim or do a yoga class instead of a high impact HITT workout
4. Be Kind to yourself!
Celebrate and respect the amazing processes that occur every month and use these few days to be extra kind to your body! Go to bed a little earlier, snuggle up with a hot pad, dark chocolate and a good book or make a cup of herbal tea and sit quietly and enjoy each sip. Or use all our tips to work out your own “comfort” moments.
5. Pick your Products!
Having a stress-free period is very dependent on the products you choose. The options available have become extensive and include some of the following:
The most common are disposable products, and although these are readily available, they are not great for the environment, and used on their own can shift and leak. I am sure you are well aware of the options (but just in case…) they include:
– A panty liner usually has lower absorbency and is used on “light flow” days. Are available with and without wings (to wrap around the panty).
– A pad: available in different sizes, absorbencies, with/without wings etc. Used for “medium-heavy flow” days.
– A tampon: available in different absorbency, and with/without applicators. Theseare inserted into the vagina to absorb blood. (usually used at a later stage, and not for first periods)
Re-usable products are becoming increasingly popular these include:
– Washable pads are available in different absorbencies and function the same as pads.
– Menstrual cups are inserted into the vagina to catch the blood flow. (also usually used later, and not for first periods)
– Absorbent panties absorb the blood and are washable and re-usable. Thesecan be used instead of pads, tampons, and cups.
– Leak-proof panties are our favorite! (which is why we stock them!). These are regular cotton panties that have a waterproof lining to prevent leaks. They are used with pads, tampons, and menstrual cups. The big advantages of using our panties are the following:
The cotton fabric is light and breathable, so she is kept fresh.
The waterproof layer prevents leaks. No leaks – No worry!!
6. Get Organised!
Not everyone bodies are the same and not everyone will experience their periods the same way. Keep a “period diary” and make notes of what happens and what you feel during the month. Make a list of the things that make your period tricky and use our tips to work out a plan!
Get the products you like to use (or would like to try) ready in a dedicated place in your bedroom or bathroom and pack a smaller “travel bag” (that fits into your handbag).
Start taking this bag with you a few days before your period is due.
7. Get extra help if you need it.
If any aspect of your period causing more than “discomfort” it is best to consult adoctor. There are many options available to help so there is no need to suffer each month!
We love hearing from you! Comment and let us know if you have any other tips!
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