Ah, yes, periods. The term might be simple to say, but the process of your uterus basically destroying itself each month is anything but. If you’re lucky, you get away with a light flow, a short period and little to no cramping. If you’re unlucky, like most of the people, then you are plagued with what feels like gallons of blood pouring out of your vagina every four weeks for days on end, while your uterus feels like it is constantly being squeezed by an iron fist, all wrapped together nicely and tied with an emotionally unstable ribbon.
As if the sheer process of bleeding out of your vagina for up to a week wasn’t enough to overcome, society has deemed menstruation to be a taboo. When you are on your period, it is seen as unacceptable to even mention the pain and suffering you are enduring. On top of all of that, you have to keep track of your cycle, try to suppress your cravings, treat your hormonal acne, deal with cramps/headaches and go about your normal busy life as usual, all at once. All of this can be quite overwhelming, so here are a few things that can help make your period a little less awful:
1. Download a period tracker app. There are tons out there, but the most user friendly one that tracks more than just when you bleed is Clue. Clue is available on the App Store and Google Play. You can view your period in a monthly format, which highlights the exact days of your menstruation, fertile window, ovulation, PMS and estimated start of your next cycle. You can also view your period as an actual “cycle,” which also shows you your menstruation, fertile window, ovulation and PMS. When you enter your data for the day, you can tell Clue how much you bled, your type of pain, your emotions, how much sleep you got, your energy level, your exercise, your collection method if you’re menstruating, your mental state, your digestion and more. Clue uses all of these pieces of data to analyze your cycle and predict (to the best of its ability) when your next menstruation, ovulation and PMS will be, making that one less thing you have to worry about.
2. Drink a lot of water. Being bloated might make the thought of drinking water unappealing, but staying hydrated during your period is very important. Dehydration can cause your cramps to be even more excrutiating and contribute to your bloating. Water eases your discomfort and cramps by soothing your muscles and decreases water retention caused by dehydration, which can ease your bloating.
3. Exercise. Yes, I know the last thing you want to do while you’re laying on the couch in excruciating pain and bleeding from your vagina is get up and move around. But, exercise can help alleviate several grueling parts of your period. Exercising can lighten your flow. It can also ease cramps by enhancing blood circulation and alleviating stress. If you’re PMSing, exercising can help boost your mood by releasing endorphins, which trigger positive emotions and reduce your perception of pain.
Although periods are a painful, bloody experience, there are things that can make them less of a hassle. Make sure you take care of yourself while you’re on your period. Watch your favorite show or movie, eat your favorite food, drink some water and know that while periods are viewed as a commonplace thing, simply going through the process of menstruating is a feat.