A Practical Guide to a (nearly) Zen Period
August 10th, 2017
I used to be among those women who say they never experience PMS, and have always had reasonable - the exact opposite of my beer consumption this summer - menstrual flow, with periods that barely last 3 or 4 days. Things were practically perfect… but since I stopped taking the pill, I have entered the dark side (once a drama queen, ALWAYS a drama queen)! Nevertheless, one could say I now live my period to the fullest, as if it were a bull in a china shop... its existence is impossible to deny. Because this is new to me, I asked my girlfriends if they had any tips for the breeziest period possible, and here’s what they shared. I hope it helps you, too :)
PMS: a love-hate relationship you must tame
There’s one thing I actually like about my PMS, and it can be summed up as follows: goodbye to eating like a bird! I’ve never been this HUNGRY and I love it, taking advantage of it to eat a lot of green vegetables, vegetarian snacks, fish and… dessert, haha! As for the rest: mood swings and other symptoms we don’t speak about as openly, such as diarrhea and/or constipation (come on, you know what I’m talking about!), headaches, bloating; anyway… moving on. Here is some advice on reducing all those effects:
— Reduce caffeine, refined sugar (but fruit and a little ice cream, that’s fine), sodium and alcohol; no pressure, you can also choose to moderate just 1 or 2 items on that list!
— Adopt good sleeping habits; sorry boss, I’ll have to come into work later to get more sleep!
— Limit stress; all the more reason to be disciplined about going to yoga!
A little tip: keep a journal of the signs and symptoms to see whether or not there is an improvement.
Dysmenorrhea: Menstrual Cramps
As I mentioned above, since I stopped taking the pill, my menstrual cramps have become – almost – unbearable. And since menstrual leave has not yet been recognized in Quebec (snif, snif), I learned to get by with whatever I could find to survive this day of suffering (drama queen, here!). Of course, ibuprofen is always helpful to relieve cramps, but here are a few other remedies:
— Opt for a hot water bottle; if you are at the office and don’t have one in your purse, use a plastic bottle and fill it with hot water! Now now, don’t be shy!
— Exercise; when you’re in pain, you just want to curl up in bed, but physical exercise releases endorphins and endorphins = natural pain medication. Why don’t you choose lighter exercises like cycling, walking or a few yoga poses in your living room.
— Having sex; yes, you read correctly: sex during your period is possible! Plus, it seems orgasms could provide a massage for the uterus…try it, and see if it’s true! ;)
Menorrhagia: Heavy Bleeding
Menorrhagia = menstrual periods that are heavier and longer than average, like mine have been for a while. Menorrhagia, since you’ve been a part of my life, I’m ALWAYS afraid of staining my clothes. So here are a few tips to survive your flow when it flows freely:
— Taking ibuprofen during the especially heavy days; you will probably need to justify yourself to your colleagues, assuring them that no, you’re not taking all these pills to cure a hangover! :P
— Get some rest; aaaaw, sleeping in!
— Good protection; the benefit of a Maxi pad? Super comfortable for sitting! ;)
On a more serious note, if you didn’t use to suffer from menorrhagia and it started recently, it may be caused by something else (like endometriosis). It is therefore imperative to see your doctor (consider taking note of the start dates, your symptoms, etc.). (source)
Otherwise, draw inspiration from our little winning ritual for a smoother PMS! ;)
How about you, what are the menstrual cycle-related symptoms you find are the hardest to deal with?