Menstrual periods and holidays
OK, so I’ll admit having your period whilst high up on a ski slope, lying on an exotic beach or whilst in the middle of a trek may not be ideal. However, let’s not forget – not every holiday is quite so extreme to start with and actually, even in these situations it’s perfectly feasible to manage your period without it having a negative effect on your experience. Follow my simple steps and no period will stand in your way!
When it comes to dealing with your period whilst on holiday planning ahead is key. Firstly, this means working out roughly when your period is due as if it’s set to come on the very last day of your trip then it’s unlikely you’ll need that multipack of tampons taking up valuable space in your case.
Next, it’s important to work out exactly what supplies you will need, though this will depend on what facilities you’re going to have available. Little extras like a packet of wet wipes and some disposable bags can be really handy and won’t take up much room in your case. This means as long as you have a toilet and a bin close by you’ll be able to manage your period just fine.
However, there are other things to think about too like what clothing will be practical and which days you will be able to do certain activities. Also, it’s probably best to take some painkillers from home rather than trying to locate them abroad.
There are lots of things to consider when going on holiday but make some lists, get planning and you can ensure you won’t be caught off guard.
A holiday is all about comfort – that’s why we go, right? So, start by getting comfy on the journey – take a blanket, a pillow and some music and get cosy. That being said, I do recommend you get up for a wander now and again as this gives you some movement which can help to fend off aches, pains or cramps.
Also, when you get to your destination make sure you relax whenever possible and catch up on some much needed sleep too. Why not snooze on the sun bed and soak up some glorious vitamin D - just be careful not to burn though? The sunshine vitamin is thought to be mood boosting so make sure you get your fix!
Consider your options when it comes to sanitary products
If you’re used to using sanitary towels, the idea of switching can be daunting. However, opting for tampons or even a mooncup can give you the freedom to do almost anything – including swimming! Plus, you may only need to change it as little as twice in 24 hours (in the case of a mooncup) which makes it ideal for a holiday!
Have a read of my blog on sanitary products so you can explore all the options and decide what’s likely to work best for you.
This goes without saying and is important no matter where you are in the world and in your cycle! However, it’s especially important to watch your fluid intake around the time of your period if you’re somewhere tropical where you’re likely to be sweating that little bit more.
Many of you will be well aware of the symptoms that crop up each month but let me make one thing clear – being dehydrated will only make these worse. Cramp, headaches, dizziness, overheating, you name it, it’s likely to get more severe if you haven’t been drinking enough water. So, aim to drink at least 1.5l of plain still water a day (even a little more if it is particularly hot) and avoid making things worse for yourself
Make the most of good food
I don’t know about you but for me one of the best parts about going on holiday is all the yummy food! Therefore, make the most of all the deliciously ripe, nutrient-packed fruit and vegetables and super fresh, exotic seafood you don’t see so readily available at home. To add to it all, these ingredients are often cooked fresh right before your eyes with no nasty processes involved at all!
Also, we all know that holidays are about enjoying treats and whilst an ice cream or two is perfectly acceptable, try to avoid overdoing it on the sweet treats and alcohol as you could end up feeling a little worse for wear!
Know your symptoms and how to manage them
I often talk about knowing and understanding your symptoms and I can’t stress enough how important this is. If you know which symptoms tend to crop up each month (keeping a Period Symptoms Diary can be a handy way of determining this) then you can better prepare for them and keep them under control more effectively.
If cramp often gets you down for example, then try experimenting with heat pads, gentle exercise or painkillers to see what works well for you. If other symptoms are problematic though such as mood swings, then you might find that a nice relaxing trip helps take care of these things. After all, there’s really no better way to get over feeling emotional or irritable than to chill out by a crystal clear pool reading your favourite book, right?
Although it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to jet off on holiday every month, you can still learn from this and you might find that incorporating relaxation techniques into your regime in future can really help.
Visit your pharmacy or doctor in advance
If you’re still worried about dealing with your period whilst on holiday, why not find out what other options might be available? Painkillers can be bought over the counter and can be taken short-term if you don’t want to risk feeling uncomfortable on your trip. I’d recommend you talk to your pharmacist for more information on this.
You might also want to consider hormonal contraceptives. If you are already on the combined pill you can easily run two packs together to delay your period with very few side effects (some women report getting a slightly heavier period next time round).
It probably isn’t advisable to start a course of hormonal contraceptives just for the sake of a holiday however, there are also one-off pill courses which can be taken a few days before your period is due in order to delay it for up to 2 – 3 weeks. These pills contain synthetic hormones much like the contraceptive pill (although beware, they won’t protect from pregnancy!) and they simply work by keeping the lining of your womb intact for that little bit longer, clever!
Consider using herbal remedies
Last, but certainly not least, is the possibility of trying a herbal remedy as this tackles the root of the problem rather than just securing a quick fix. After all, if your symptoms are bad time after time then really we should be trying to do something about this, don’t you think?
If you suffer from a number of symptoms each month then it’s possible that you could be suffering from a hormone imbalance – click the link to find out more and how herbal remedies could potentially help. One of the herbal remedies I talk about in this particular blog is Agnus castus. This is often a nice option for those women experiencing symptoms of PMS such as painful periods with shorter cycle lengths (often heavier bleeding is apparent too).
However, other symptoms shouldn’t be forgotten about though, such as anxiety or stress. These are the last things you need on holiday but new surroundings could trigger such feelings, especially if you are feeling a little bit over-emotional anyway. Try using our Stress Relief Drops whilst you are travelling to help put you at ease
So, it’s entirely up to you how you want to tackle your period whilst on holiday. Yes, they can be a bit of a pain at certain times but at the end of the day we need to learn to deal with them and hopefully with my tips you find a solution that’s right for you.
Originally published 14 September 2016 (updated on 2 October 2018)