How to Survive PERIODS! Hacks & Tips!!
How to Deal With Your Period
Having a period is a natural part of women’s lives. It can be frustrating and stressful at times, and painful or uncomfortable at others. However, when you are prepared physically and mentally for your period, it can be much easier to deal with. By taking care of your body and managing your symptoms, you can start to cope with your period.
Preparing for Your Period
Reframe your mindset about your period.Many women dread the arrival of their period and think of it as something they have to suffer through. During your menstrual cycle, the actual hormones in your brain change and can affect your mood, but you can also consciously change the way you think about your period.It can be empowering to think of your period as a symbol of your womanhood and as natural part of your life.
- Your first period, called menarche, is often celebrated as a young girl’s entrance into womanhood.When you realize that your period can be something that is celebrated, you might stop dreading its arrival and cope with it.
Keep track of your period.Tracking your menstrual cycle will not only give you a heads-up when your period is due, but it can also help you know when you are fertile and can get pregnant.Getting your period unexpectedly can leave you feeling unprepared and stressed. You can keep track of the day your period starts and end with a calendar, in a journal, or with an app for your mobile devices.
- There are several apps, such as Strawberry Pal or Clue, that can help you track your period and set reminders for when your next cycle is about to start.
- Remember that during your first year, periods are often unpredictable and come at random. They can also skip. This is completely normal. However, after the first year, your period should begin to follow a more regular pattern and be easier to track.
- Menstrual cycles vary between women. They can last anywhere from 21 to 35 days, and your period may last two to seven days. Your period may be regular and occur at the same time each month, or it may be irregular.
- Keeping track of your period is very important when you are sexually active. It helps you to determine when you are the most fertile, which is important to know whether you want to avoid pregnancy or when you want to become pregnant.
Keep feminine hygiene products with you at all times.Keep an extra tampon, panty liner, or pad in your purse, backpack, and car. This way, if you get your period and you do not have access to other feminine products you are still protected. This is especially important if your periods are irregular and you are not able to accurately predict when your next period will begin. You should also keep a dollar in quarters with you, just in case you are caught off guard and need to purchase a pad/tampon.
- It’s a good idea to keep a few extra feminine hygiene products with you so you can offer one to another woman if she needs one.
Eat iron-rich foods.During ovulation, which happens 12 to 16 days before your period begins, your body is preparing for a potential pregnancy. Your body releases two different hormones, progesterone and estrogen, which tell your body that it should prepare for pregnancy.Your metabolism speeds up during this time so you’ll need to eat more calories than you usually do. Eat plenty of iron-rich foods to help offset the iron that you’ll lose right before and during your period.
- Meat, beans, lentils, eggs, and dark leafy greens are all good sources of iron.
- You should continue to eat iron-rich foods during your period. This can help to relieve some period symptoms, like fatigue and cramping.
- Vitamin C can improve your body's absorption of iron. Try to eat foods rich in Vitamin C, such as oranges, peppers, and kale, as well.
Minimizing Pain and Discomfort
Stay hydrated.Many women feel bloated and uncomfortable during their period. You can help offset bloating by drinking lots of fluids. Try to limit the amount of caffeine, alcohol, and sugary drinks that you consume.Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, is a good way to help alleviate bloat.
Take pain medication.Many women experience some level of pain during their periods. Usually, this pain is related to cramping as the uterine wall contracts. You can take over the counter pain medications, like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin to help manage your pain. These medications can be found at any drug store, and you should follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for dosages.
- Talk to your physician if over the counter painkillers do not work and you continue to have severe pain during cramps.
Use heat to soothe cramps.Heat helps to relax the muscles in your abdomen when you have cramps. You can take a heating pad or a hot water bottle and place it over your stomach where the pain is, or take a warm bubble bath or shower.
- Massaging your lower abdomen in light, circular motions may also help to soothe pain.
Adjust your diet.During your period, you may find that you are craving different foods. Unfortunately, salty, sugary, and processed foods can make cramping more painful. The foods you eat should be nutritious and give you energy throughout the day. You may be craving a certain treat, like chocolate or ice cream, and it’s okay to give into that craving and have some, as long as it is in moderation.
- Foods high in potassium, like bananas and leafy greens, can help alleviate bloating naturally.
- Eat plenty of foods that are rich in calcium, like beans, almonds, and dairy.
Manage nausea.Many women feel nauseous during their periods, which can be very uncomfortable. Changes in your hormone levels can lead to gastrointestinal distress, or you may feel nauseous as a result of pain from cramps or headaches.While you may have lost your appetite, try to eat bland foods like white rice, apples, and toast, that will settle your stomach. Ginger, either in teas, supplements, or in its root form, is a natural way to relieve nausea as well.
- Treat your nausea with over the counter medications, especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as naproxen or ibuprofen. These can help period-related nausea by preventing the production of a hormone called prostaglandins, which may be the cause of your nausea.
Engage in physical activity.Exercise is a great way to naturally manage your pain. When you exercise your body releases mood-boosting endorphins, which can alleviate pain and keep your mind off your period-related discomfort.You may want to do a less strenuous workout than your normal routine if you have pain.
- Light exercise that warms up your core, like yoga, can also help to minimize bloating.
- Feel free to skip the gym if you really aren’t feeling up for it. While exercising can help you manage your symptoms, you don’t need to force yourself to exercise.
Talk to your doctor if your symptoms are unmanageable.While some pain and discomfort are normal during your period, you may need to consult your doctor if your symptoms are unmanageable. You can talk to your primary care physician or your gynecologist about these issues, and they may recommend that you see a specialist. They might be able to prescribe pain medication, make recommendations to change your lifestyle, or suggest you take oral contraceptives.
- You should see your doctor you are spotting in between periods, you have a very heavy flow, very painful cramps or if your flow lasts more than 10 days.
Caring for Yourself
Get plenty of rest.During your period, you may feel more tired than you normally do. Pain and discomfort from cramps and bloating can make it more difficult to sleep, while fatigue actually lowers your pain tolerance.Try to sleep at least eight hour during the night and take a nap during the day if you need to.
- Light exercises, like meditating, practicing yoga, and stretching can help you to sleep better.
- Your core body temperature rises during your period, making you feel warmer. Feeling warm can make sleeping difficult so keep the temperature in your bedroom between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, or 15.5 to 19 degrees Celsius.
Wear comfortable clothes.Most women prefer not to wear tight, close-fitting or otherwise uncomfortable clothing while they have their period. You should wear what you feel most comfortable in when you have the opportunity. Women who are bloated might prefer to wear looser tops or pants with an elastic waistband.
Wear appropriate underwear.During your period, you should wear underwear that you don’t mind getting messy. Even when you use the right feminine hygiene products, you may leak onto your underwear. Some women like to have a few pairs of underwear that they only wear during their periods. You may be more comfortable wearing full coverage bikini briefs, rather than thongs, during your period, especially if you are wearing a pad.
- Try to get cotton underwear for your period. Not only is it comfortable, but it may be able to reduce your risk of yeast infections.
- Stains are less noticeable on darker colored underwear.
- Your underwear should be cotton, which allows the area to breathe and is gentler on the skin.
Find ways to relax.Periods can add to your stress and be an inconvenience. Give yourself time to unwind after a day out and find quiet space to just gather your thoughts and feelings. Find ways to relax and to take your mind off any pain or discomfort that you may be feeling.
- Do the things that make you happy. For instance, listen to your favorite songs and artists and have a dance party in your room.
- Find activities that you find relaxing or soothing, like meditating, writing in a journal, drawing, listening to soothing music, or watching television.
- Aromatherapy may also help you relax. Try using sage, lavender, or rose essential oils.
Anticipate mood changes during your period.Hormonal changes can affect your mood during your period. For instance, you may feel sad, anxious, or irritable about situations that normally don’t impact you. Be aware that if you are feeling upset about something, your emotions might be related to your hormones rather than how you truly feel. You may want to avoid making big decisions during this time, or avoid confrontation.
- You can write down your emotions each day during your period to see if you notice that you feel sadder or more anxious during this time.
- If you are experiencing extreme mood swings or have any thoughts about harming yourself contact your doctor immediately.You may be suffering from a condition called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, which can significantly impact your mood.
Change your feminine hygiene product whenever you feel the need.Pads should be changed every three to six hours and tampons should be changed every four to six hours. Never leave a tampon in for longer than eight hours; this increases your risk of developing Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). You can leave a menstrual cup in for more than twelve hours, and this is the most environmentally friendly option. Changing your feminine hygiene product can help you to feel fresh and more confident that you won’t leak.
- You may need to change your feminine hygiene product more frequently if you have a heavier flow or if it is the first few days of your period.
- TSS is a serious and life-threatening bacterial infection. If you begin to have a rash that resembles a sunburn, especially on your palms and soles, a high fever, low blood pressure, or begin vomiting contact a medical professional.
QuestionCan you just use a pad instead of a liner?
Family Nurse PractitionerFamily Nurse PractitionerExpert AnswerLiners are too thin to use on the heaviest days of your cycle. Pads are usually thicker and better suited for periods than liners are.Thanks!
QuestionShould you be paranoid about wearing shorts? I am afraid that my period will happen and the blood will leak down.
Family Nurse PractitionerFamily Nurse PractitionerExpert AnswerYou should wear something that you feel comfortable in without any worries. If wearing shorts makes you self-conscious during your period, don’t wear them.Thanks!
QuestionI'm 11 and I think I'm going to get my period soon. Every time I go shopping for pads and wipes or anything around that area, I get scared when people walk past, they look at me funny. What do I do?Top AnswererTrust me, they are not looking at you or thinking you're weird or disgusting or gross. Girls get their periods. Its a part of life. Remember: people are far more involved with themselves than they are with others. Those people who you thought looked at you funny? They've completely forgotten about you.Thanks!
QuestionCould I wear two pairs of underwear while sleeping?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou could, but it might be more comfortable to lay a towel down on the bed to stop any leaks from reaching your sheets/mattress. You could also buy some pads that are designed for night time use -- they are usually thicker and more absorbent for better protection.Thanks!
QuestionI have gymnastics for an hour and I usually wear short shorts. I'm scared my period will show, what should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerLarge tampon. Change before and after gym, shouldn't show a thing! Either that, or use a thick pad without the wings.Thanks!
QuestionI've heard dark chocolate helps with cramps is that true?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDark chocolate can help with cramps because it helps restore your magnesium levels (which drop while menstruation is happening). It's also a source of joy, which can help to distract you.Thanks!
QuestionIs it ok for a 12 year old to get her period?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. Anywhere between 9 and 15 is normal to start a period.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I sit down and not worry that when I get up it will leak on my seat?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry to put your pad in an area where the most blood comes out, which is usually the middle. If the pad is placed correctly, you won't have to worry about that.Thanks!
QuestionDoes taking a shower help?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt will help you feel more clean and the hot water feels good. Taking a bath is even more relaxing and will help with cramps.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I sit while having a heavy flow?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can sit normally. If this does not work for you, you might need a different type of pad/tampon.Thanks!
- Find the right absorbency of pads or tampons for you. Every girl is different, and once you have the right one then you will feel more confident and this will help ensure against leaks.
- In the unfortunate event that you stain your underwear, make sure to soak them incold water. Warm water will lock the stain in.
- If you've had past issues with leakage when using pads, try switching to ones with "wings" (side flaps). These often offer better protection since they hold the pad in place and increase coverage.
- If you're worried about leaking onto your sheets while you are sleeping, put a dark-colored towel down. And if you are at a sleepover, you might want to bring a blanket (that you don't mind getting messy) that you can sleep on.
- If you and your friends are talking about period in front of boys, make a word that helps your friends understand it. Like, red pen. "I have my red pen."
- During class, if you need to change your pad, ask the teacher if you could go to the bathroom. And if you don't have any, just use several layers of toilet paper until you can get a pad or tampon. Or you could just put pads in your shoes/boots.
- Also, if taking your bag to the bathroom draws attention, you can sneak a pad in your jacket sleeve, if you have one.
- If you don't have any products, wrap toilet paper 3 times around your underwear to improvise as a pad or ask the school nurse or a female friend for some. Don't be scared to ask, they will understand.
- Tampons or pads, you may ask, here are answers. Tampons can help you with sports, but they can cause TSS. Pads protect your underwear, but they can leak and you can't swim without total embarrassment .
- Hydrogen peroxide can also be helpful in removing blood from underwear.
- If you are worried about leaking overnight, put a towel down on your bed and put some pads/tampons and a spare pair of pants in/on your bedside table.
- Bring a jacket or overshirt with you if you worry about bleeding through your clothes. If you think you're bleeding really badly, just tie it around your waist. It'll help you feel more secure. It even works in hot weather, especially if the place you work or go to school tends to keep the A.C. at freezing temperatures.
- Tampons should not be worn for more than 8 hours. After 8 hours, you are at a higher rate of contracting Toxic Shock Syndrome, which is a potentially fatal condition.
- Read the labels on any medications you take, even over-the-counter ones, especially if you are sensitive to any medications. Always follow the dosing guidelines and do not take pain medications on an empty stomach.
Sources and Citations
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