During menstruation, you might feel a little different than the usual; you may be more tired, fatigued or in pain from menstrual cramps. This happens to all of us- I guarantee there isn’t a person with a vagina out there who’s never faced an unpleasant side effect of menstruation!
With that being said, it doesn’t mean that you have to limit yourself during your period. Feel free to engage in all of the activities and hobbies that you normally carry out. Just make sure that you are practicing self-care and giving your body what it’s telling you it needs.
1. Cramps- Cramps are the result of your uterus pushing it’s lining and blood into your vagina, that will ultimately flow out. Some will experience cramping on their lower abdomen (where your ovaries and uterus are) while others will feel pain in their lower back. If your cramps are unbearably painful and causing you to miss school or work, please visit your doctor as soon as possible. Otherwise, you might find it soothing to place a heating pad on your lower abdomen or back to help soothe you. Believe it or not, exercise can also help in easing cramps, so you could also go for a run or a swim. If you are into meditation or yoga, this can also serve as a great way to help ease your cramps. Also, make sure to wear loose, comfortable clothing, as anything tight can cause your cramps to worsen.
2. Fatigue- You might be feeling a little more lethargic during your period, due to the fact that your estrogen and testosterone levels are low. Make sure to get enough rest and listen to the cues from your body. It won’t hurt to factor in some exercise and sticking to a healthy diet as well.
3. Bloating- Many women will experience bloating during their period- the Mayo Clinic estimates that 85% of women will bloat during their periods. This is due to water retention because of the changes in your hormones. To combat this, make sure that you aren’t eating too much sodium, since doing so will exacerbate the bloating. Also make sure to not drink too much caffeine or alcohol as this will dehydrate you and cause your body to then keep its water supply intact. Good hydrators to drink are herbal teas, water with lemon and fresh fruit and vegetable juices.
Your period doesn’t have to be painful- celebrate how your body works and rejoice in your fertility. Don’t let the fact that you have your period stop you from doing things you love! However, if you are in excruciating pain, make sure to see your doctor and consider availing hormonal birth control, since this can help to ease the symptoms of menstruation. Make your period a time for self-care and remember to take care of yourself and your body!
This post originally appeared on the Menstrupedia blog.
About the author of this post:
Erin McKelle is an e-activist, video blogger, student and non-profit advocate. As a fierce feminist, she has launched several projects including Fearless Feminism and Consent is Sexy, a web series about healthy sexuality. She will be attending Ohio University in May as a Women’s Studies major. You can find her blogging at Fearless Feminism, making videos on YouTube and blogging about menstruation love at Period Positive.