Hello, it feels like it’s been a while since I’ve sat down to type…..well, type what’s on my mind and going off in my life I guess. So, I thought I would talk about something that has been the main focus recently. My periods. Yep, close this post now if you don ‘t want the nitty-gritty because it’s not full of rainbows. Although I doubt you would expect that anyway…unless you’re a child and in that case go away, you shouldn’t be reading this.
Let’s start with my issues. I’ve always had very heavy periods and very painful ones. I spend a couple of days of each period on the sofa, unable to go out or do much at all. My periods make me sick, nauseous, cranky, tired. As well as plenty of stomach issues. It’s never-ending.
Since going Vegan over a year ago my periods have gone from 7 days down to around 4 so they’re a lot shorter now and not as heavy in general but unfortunately, the first two days are still hell for me right now.
What not to do
Overindulging – we are all too familiar with the chocolate cravings during that time. Now, I’m certainly not saying to avoid them completely, it’s about everything in moderation. Dark chocolate is actually encouraged on your period but just don’t eat the whole bar, a couple of squares here and there is plenty.
Fatty Foods – This is one I know about all too well but I’m a sucker for eating sometimes around that time. I do all the cooking in the house but cooking is certainly not something I want to be doing on my period. So, most of the time that leaves us with quick foods. Usually either frozen processed foods or chip shop chips. I would still highly advise avoiding it where you can, it certainly makes me feel a whole lot worse.
Drink caffeine – Now I don’t drink coffee anyway and on the rare occasion I do, it’s always decaf but for any coffee lovers out there, go easy on the jo. Caffeine stimulates your muscles which on a normal day can help you poop and increase your metabolism, but, on your period this only makes your cramps a whole lot worse and increases your chances of having that terrible period diarrhea.
Grey areas – You should do but I don’t
Exercise – We hear it all the time as women. When my periods first began in high school I was always encouraged to join in during P.E (Gym class) but would always refuse and have a letter to hand excusing myself. For the most part, exercise does help but I can’t move off the sofa for the first two days so I give myself those two days off. On the third day, I do some light yoga and stretching and that’s about as much as I can manage. Exercise is great for periods but only do as much as you can handle. You know your body better than anyone.
Increase your magnesium – Magnesium can help with some hormone problems such as headaches and PMS as well as cramps. I struggle to eat when I’m on my period, in the winter it’s not as bad as I tend to reach for simple plain oatmeal which gives me the magnesium I need but in the summer I struggle with that but I think that’s ok.
What I do and would recommend
Eat as healthy as you can handle – Eating healthy helps your body to heal and gives it the nutrients it needs during your period. It takes its toll on your body and your mentality so it only makes sense to fuel your body. This is something I struggle with every month and most of the time I eat a quick meal on the day my period starts but for the rest of the time I try to snack and nitpick throughout the day on healthy foods, mainly fruit, and my body does seem to cope better on foods that are gentle on the stomach during that time. Bananas are a great option, they’re easy to digest and super healthy.
Get an early night – Give your body a break in this time. It’s working overtime and needs extra sleep. Try to nap if you can. Personally, I have never napped so I just try to get an early night for the first 1-3 days of my period. Mainly because the day my period starts I don’t get much sleep at all so just do your best.
Change your mindset – This is the most difficult part of having a period. Your mindset focuses on the negative. The pain and discomfort your feeling. But, you need to try and focus on the positive. Focus on being able to take care of yourself during this time and maybe binge watching that TV show you’ve had your eye on or finish that book you’ve been meaning to read. Try to focus on the good in a bad situation and remind yourself that its only temporary.
Pester the doctors – I started my period when I was 13. I’m now very nearly 26 and I’m only just being sent off for tests by the doctors to see if there’s anything going wrong. This is after many times of pestering the doctors and being put on various pills and/or contraceptives over the years to lighten my periods and decrease the pains. So, pester your doctors and start early if you’re having problems. Don’t give in until you get the help you need. You know your body better than they do, trust your instincts.
Rattle away – The best medications for Period pains are anti-inflammatories and contraceptives. I hate being on the pill as it really messes with my hormones so its not an option for me. After a recent trip to the doctors, I now have pills that make my periods lighter and some strong anti-inflammatories for the pains. Don’t think that its bad to be on pills during that time. If you need pills, take them. But, only if they’re doctor prescribed.
Herbal Remedies – Don’t rule out the magical benefits of herbal remedies. Unlike strong doctor prescribed medicines. Herbal remedies use natural ingredients and are usually safe. Chamomille tea is just one kind of tea that can help with cramps. There are also various pills such as Evening Primrose which I personally take or other such remedies as Maca. There’s plenty out there, just make sure to do your research, depending on your issues and whether it’s hormonal, thyroid etc the remedies can have good or bad effects on your body.
Hot water Bottles – One of the best coping methods for your period that most people know about. Hot water bottles relax your muscles and therefore reduce your cramps. It’s why most of us hate having our periods in hot weather because reaching for a hot water bottle isn’t your first thought.
Chocolate – The dark kind. You know, the 70%+ dark chocolate. Its actually promoted to eat some most days, especially on your period. Dark chocolate contains magnesium which we have spoken the importance of. It’s also been proven to make you feel happier and improve your overall mood so eat away (in moderation).
What’s your experience with your periods? Do you struggle? What’s helping you?