The dreaded time of the month
Most females dread the thought of their next menstrual period. It’s that ‘time of the month’ again when you need to go into hiding and feel sorry for yourself. Well fear not as that’s all about to change!
As a woman you will have to deal with a (scarily high) number of periods over the course of your life so it’s time you learn to embrace them, here are my top tips as to how to do this.
1. Be positive! Positive and periods don’t go, right? Wrong – I can give you plenty of reasons why your period is a positive. First and foremost it indicates you are healthy! We shouldn’t take this for granted. Regular periods suggest signals from your brain are successfully coordinating your ovaries to release a series of important female sex hormones (there are a few involved, all having to do certain things at certain times so it’s no mean feat). Having a period also means you are most likely ovulating which means you have the opportunity to try and fall pregnant if you so wish. If you have your period it is the number one indicator to let you know if you are pregnant or not, your very own free pregnancy test (although, I would advise taking a proper one to confirm any suspicions). Everyone moans about period cramps, and yes, it isn’t the most pleasant experience of all time, but actually in many cases it is mild (we will discuss later what can be done if it’s more extreme) – and when you think about it, for many of you, it acts as a nice little warning sign of what’s to come – no one wants to be caught off guard! Finally, don’t allow yourself to feel self-conscious. No-one will notice that you are on your period so be confident and don’t stop yourself from doing anything! From swimming to getting glam, being on your period shouldn’t stop you, get out there!
2. Listen to your symptoms – It is common to suffer from some degree of symptoms around the time of your period, but my advice is really pay attention to these symptoms going forward – they could be telling you something. Understanding why they are happening is often the first step towards managing them. Often, suffering from a number of different symptoms each month suggests something is amiss and you could have a hormone imbalance. Oestrogen dominance can easily give rise to typical symptoms of PMS such as heavy, painful periods, suffering from mood swings and feeling angry or irritable, sore breasts and bloating. In this case a herbal remedy such as Agnus castus could be useful to help to gently support your progesterone levels. On the other hand, progesterone dominance could be giving rise to light, irregular periods, you can be left feeling down and low in self-confidence and you may also feel very tired and suffer from regular skin breakouts. If these symptoms sound familiar, fermented soy isoflavones could be the herbal remedy for you. Click the following link to learn more as to how herbal remedies can help you manage a hormone imbalance
3. Select the right sanitary product – There are a wide variety of sanitary products out there so find options to suit you. From pads, to tampons to a moon cup, you can suit all period types and needs – from wanting to keep an eye on the purse strings to being more environmentally friendly! Click the link above to get clued up on all your options
4. Eat well – Your diet has an influence of all aspects of your health and your menstrual cycle is no exception. A diet rich in fresh ingredients will be jam-packed with essential vitamins and minerals which will only make your period a much less painful experience (quite literally). Opt for fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds for a good dose of magnesium which can help to keep menstrual cramps to a minimum, include wholegrains which are rich in B vitamins (good for providing a sustainable source of energy and supporting your mood in order to get you through) and also, be sure to minimise your salt intake which can help to keep bloating and water retention to a minimum. Inflammation is thought to be a big factor in period pain too, so reduce processed foods, refined sugars and heavy animal products and be sure to include sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3 such as flaxseed oil or walnuts. Click the following link to visit my ‘Period diet’ blog to learn more top tips
5. Make sure your bowels are moving – If your gut is congested then you’re more likely to feel bloated and uncomfortable – not to mention the added toxic load! Keep your bowels moving, keep the pressure off of your poor uterus and you’ll feel the difference! Incorporate at least 1.5 litres of plain, still water a day into your regime, opt for warm and cooked foods which are gentler on the digestive system and make sure you include some dietary fibre healthy fats in your diet. Fats encourage the release of bile which stimulates peristalsis of the small intestine. This acts to moves all the food sitting in your gut along like a conveyor belt. For a helping hand to get things moving you could also try some Linoforce. Take a spoonful a day with plenty of water...
6. Drink your H20 – Talking about water, of course this is good for the bowels but it’s also beneficial for other aspects of your period. It keeps you hydrated and part of the reason you are thought to feel cramp is a result of reduced blood flow to your pelvic region, so keep hydrated and get your blood flowing! Ensuring you are properly hydrated will also help to reduce bloating and water retention – bonus!
7. Talking about drinks... Try to reduce your intake of caffeine and alcohol around the time of your period too as this can dehydrate you and potentially add to those pesky cramps
8. Don’t be afraid to manage the pain – Too many women just put up with their period and the list of associated symptoms to go with it as they just assume it’s all part of being a woman. Well I don’t agree, you shouldn’t suffer in silence - instead you should be trying out solutions. Try applying heat for starters, there is some evidence to suggest that applying heat can help to reduce the pain of period cramps as heat receptors are activated over pain receptors – so why not try taking a warm bath or digging out that super cute, fluffy hot water bottle. Try a new sleeping position too, sleeping on your side with your legs tucked up, also known as the foetal position, can take pressure off of your abdomen and relieve pain. Finally, try taking a magnesium supplement, magnesium acts as a muscle relaxant and can help to calm erratic contractions. If need be you might need to take some medication, for example to shift that sore head that’s distracting your from your work. This is ok now and again but be sure to keep a symptoms diary and track your symptoms each month, if a certain symptom or two are recurring it’s time to take some action!
9. Get moving – Although your time of the month means many of you will suddenly think you have good reason to skip the gym or dodge going out for a run as you’re too tired or in too much pain... these ‘excuses’ are exactly the reasons you should be going! By exercising and stretching you are helping to loosen off tight muscles and it will get your blood pumping! Working out also causes the release of feel-good chemicals called endorphins which can help to improve your mood and can even influence your pain perception
10. Relax and feel good – it’s all about your mood! – Your mood has a big bearing on how you perceive pain and how lousy you feel! Around the time of your period you should make more effort to pick yourself up. Do things you enjoy and don’t shy away from going out or doing something fun – instead make more of an effort to enjoy yourself! Whether it’s pampering yourself with a beauty treatment or catching up with friends over dinner, make the effort to feel good. Stress won’t help your symptoms either so don’t let things get on top of you. Practising breathing techniques can support both stress and pain management!
11. Finally – Don’t shy away from going to your doctor. Part of the problem with periods is that we don’t talk about them enough; as a result people don’t really know what constitutes a ‘heavy’ period or how much pain is the norm. Your period symptoms shouldn’t affect your day to day life in a negative way, if they do, you should be paying a visit to your doctor. Remember, there may be some explanation as to why your periods are different for example, if you have a hormone imbalance or in cases of endometriosis or fibroids so, it’s always best to consider your symptoms carefully and get checked out if you are in any doubt – let’s get those periods under control!