Top tips for coping with your period during summer

Naturopath, Herbalist and Yoga teacher (BA, Dip Nat, Dip Herb)
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02 June 2023

Why am I more prone to fainting in summer during my period?

One period symptom that can pop up in the summer heat is fainting. In hot weather, it’s more difficult for your body to maintain blood pressure, and the same goes for when you have your period. When you are actively losing blood through your period, this lowers the volume of blood in your body and, thus, your blood pressure. Clinically this seems to be more noticeable with very heavy periods, or in perimenopause with flooding. There is only a very small amount of research on this topic – but a seminal study found that blood pressure was actually higher at the start of the period before dropping. (1) 

During your period, you may find that spending time in the summer heat can make you more prone to dizziness and fainting, as your body might be struggling to deliver an adequate supply of oxygen and glucose to your brain. This is because our blood vessels dilate in the heat, so we have the double whammy of blood loss and expanded blood vessels, both of which lower blood pressure. This can be hard to cope with if you are trying to enjoy your summer holiday or deal with the heat at work. 

It’s important to take things slowly if you are prone to fainting. If you have been sitting or lying down for a long period of time (like waking up in bed in the morning), then make sure to get up slowly and gradually to avoid a drastic change in blood pressure upon standing up, which can cause you to faint or experience light-headedness.

Plus, if you are prone to light-headedness and fainting, it’s important that you see your doctor to make sure you are in good health and there is nothing serious at play. It could be that you suffer from low blood pressure or deficient levels of iron, both of which can be managed to help you avoid fainting spells that could spoil your summer!

Exercising and swimming during your period

During the summertime, it can be easier to get yourself moving outdoors as the weather is often much nicer. When your period rolls around, though, you might feel sluggish and prefer to curl up on the couch with a good book or the latest Netflix hit if period cramps and fatigue are something you struggle with.

However, gentle exercise (like swimming) can be really good for nasty period symptoms like cramps. It also helps to reduce stress, which can have a huge impact on your hormones. When you exercise and get your body moving, you help to loosen off tight muscles and get blood pumping around your body. This can be especially useful during your period when a lot of blood is diverted to your reproductive organs, causing a reduction of blood elsewhere in the body. Exercising is also good for releasing feel-good endorphins, which can influence your perception of pain and help you to cope with symptoms such as difficult period cramps, or stressful travelling mishaps.

Now, you might think I’m crazy to recommend going for a swim during your period, but there are lots of products available to allow you to enjoy a nice cooling swim even while menstruating. There are tampons of course, just make sure to go for organic ones to avoid the harmful endocrine-disrupting toxins in many of them!

But you can also use a menstrual cup or disc, and many of the period pants brands out there have absorbent swimwear now too. These look like any other pair of bikini bottoms but are designed to absorb menstrual blood and avoid leaks – amazing!

If you, like me, love swimming in the cold sea here in Ireland or anywhere that the sea is very cold all year round, it is worth noting that cold water can in some cases contribute to stagnation. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) recommends that we avoid getting too cold, and opt for warm, rather than cold food, during our periods, because the cold temperature can contribute to what they call ‘stagnation’, which can make period pain worse, according to TCM. And when it comes to our period, we want to let the blood flow out easily. So, if you are prone to cramps it is a good idea to get moving, just perhaps avoid swimming in very cold water.

Check out my blog ‘Simple exercises to do on your period’ for some more inspiration!

Make sure to stay hydrated!

Staying hydrated is hugely important both during your period and during the summertime. If you are spending a lot of time either sitting out in the heat or getting your body moving through exercise, you will be more than likely to lose a lot of fluids through your sweat. If you’re not drinking enough water to counteract this loss of fluids, then you could end up suffering.

First off, going back to my earlier point about fainting, drinking water can increase the flow of blood around your body and ensure that your brain and other tissues are getting an adequate supply of the good stuff. Without plenty of water, you might feel tired and could be more at risk of suffering from light-headedness and fainting.

What’s more, if you suffer from fluid retention and bloating during your period, this could be a sign that you’re not drinking enough water and, again, this could be made worse by the loss of fluids in hot weather. It might sound counterintuitive, but drinking more water will help to relieve symptoms like fluid retention and bloating by flushing out the excess water that your body is holding onto. It will also help to flush out waste and toxins that could be responsible for other period symptoms like cramps, a sluggish bowel and acne flare-ups.

Drinking sugary cocktails, or any alcohol, will add make you more dehydrated, so make sure if you are drinking more than usual on holidays that you also drink a lot more water to stay hydrated.

So, stay hydrated, make sure to keep your body moving and enjoy these summer days, whether you have your period or not!

For troublesome period symptoms you can also take our Agnus castus in a little water every day.

Agnus castus | Helps Relieve Pre-Menstrual Symptoms | Mood Swings, Menstrual Cramps, Bloating & Breast Tenderness

£11.99 (50ml)

What to eat and drink?

It can be difficult to make healthy choices during summer when you might be surrounded by sugary cocktails, greasy BBQs and the like. But, when it comes to your period, it’s important that you choose the right food and drinks to keep your body ticking over and avoid piling on even more nasty period-related symptoms.

Alcohol, for example, is notorious for causing dehydration; put that together with a long day spent out in the sun, and you have the perfect recipe for vital fluids being lost and not replenished. Now, we know what can happen to your body if you are dehydrated, but what drinks should you be favouring over the not-so-desirable alcoholic cocktails and pints?

Well, first off, we have water. I know I’ve mentioned it already, but H20 is so important that it’s worth mentioning twice! Intersperse your drinks with a good amount of water to make an effort to avoid dehydrating yourself.

Next, Balance Mineral Drink is a great swap for drinks like (iced) tea and coffee. Rather than increasing inflammation by drinking caffeine and possibly exacerbating your painful period symptoms even more, this healthy drink can boost your energy levels and top up on important electrolytes – without the unfortunate side effects of an iced Frappuccino. You can find out more about what to drink during your period here.

Now, what you’re eating plays just as important a role in your period than what you’re drinking. Your cravings for sugary foods might not be helped by the lashings of ice cream and the like which are on offer during the summertime, but you have the opportunity here to make healthy choices that will help your period, rather than hinder it.

Rather than opting for fatty or sugary treats which can increase inflammation and levels of prostaglandins (those pesky chemicals responsible for period pain), choose fresh foods which are rich in vitamins and minerals to give yourself the best chance at enjoying your summer without negative period side effects.

Fresh fruit, such as bananas, pears and apples, are a great source of magnesium. This mineral is important for relaxing muscles which means it can have a positive effect on period cramps. Why not try blending up some fresh fruit into a refreshing drink that you can sip on while enjoying the sun? Find out more about important vitamins and minerals that can help you through your period here

Going on holiday or traveling during your period?

Your period doesn’t have to ruin your holiday or travel plans! You can still enjoy yourself to the full and have a relaxing holiday during your period by staying prepared and planning ahead.

First of all, pack plenty of sanitary pads, tampons or absorbent underwear in your luggage. Try spreading out your stash across a few different bags or compartments so you have easy access to products no matter where you are. Make sure to do the same with any painkillers or herbal remedies that you find help with your symptoms.

Next, plan ahead and schedule activities on the days or times which suit you best. For instance, if you know you don’t sleep well during your period, don’t schedule any early-morning activities at times when you’re feeling tired or unmotivated. You should also try to work out where your nearest bathroom or locker will be so you can access products and a bit of privacy when you need to change your protection.

Plus, you should make sure to bring plenty of back-up underwear or absorbent swimwear if you don’t have washing facilities while you’re traveling – especially if you suffer from heavy periods and you’re worried about bleeding through pads or underwear. If you don’t need them, that’s great, but it’s always nice to have some peace of mind.

The same goes for bringing a choice of outfits – depending on your baggage allowance, of course! You might feel totally confident wearing a bikini or crop top during your period (you go girl!) but some of us might feel bloated or less-than-confident when we are menstruating, so it’s a good idea to bring a comfortable alternative just in case. 

Finally, and maybe most importantly, remember to enjoy yourself! Your period doesn’t have to be a nuisance, whether you’re travelling or enjoying a summer at home. Eating well, being prepared with remedies and listening to your body will help you to manage your period symptoms and have a happy summer!

Agnus castus | Helps Relieve Pre-Menstrual Symptoms | Mood Swings, Menstrual Cramps, Bloating & Breast Tenderness


£ 11.99

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A traditional herbal remedy used to relieve the symptoms of PMS
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