Many women dread “that time of the month.” When it comes, it can inconvenience you—a little or quite a lot. For some women, it can put them on the sidelines for one or more days. And you aren’t necessarily the most beautiful person to be around on these days, either.

This is about your period, aka menstruation. And we know that no one ever likes to talk about this. But we want to share some information and advice that you should find quite helpful.

There is a wide range of menstrual symptoms and problems—from behavioral/emotional to physical, and there is at least an equally wide range of recommended ways to treat these concerns. Some are very traditional and come directly from the medical community, while others come from alternative wellness practices and methods of healing.

After reading this, you should have a much clearer sense of the options available for dealing with your period.

Menstrual Symptoms

Pretty much every woman has different menstrual symptoms, and those symptoms can vary from month to month and manifest differently over a woman’s lifespan. Symptoms can be physical as well as psychological or emotional. They are seldom enjoyable.

PMS

Some of the more troublesome menstrual symptoms are associated with pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), which occurs during the days immediately preceding. These might include:

Emotional/Behavioral Symptoms:

  • Increased anxiety
  • An overall depressed disposition
  • Increased irritability or anger
  • Crying spells
  • Various food cravings
  • Changes in your appetite
  • Social withdrawal
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Change in libido

Physical Signs and Symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Breast tenderness
  • Pain in the joints
  • Acne flare-ups
  • Muscle pain
  • Fatigue
  • Fluid retention causing weight gain
  • Digestion issues
  • Alcohol intolerance

Your Real Period

This list doesn’t include all the symptoms that occur after your period starts. Some of your PMS symptoms go away when your period arrives, but others will continue.

And then there’s the bleeding, which can make us want to attach a large sanitary napkin to your bottom and crawl under the covers — never mind leaving the house. Add to that all the painful cramping and blood clots.

Relief for Menstrual Symptoms

There are all sorts of remedies and treatments for the symptoms of both PMS and the period itself. Some work better than others, and some work better for some people than they do for others.

Pharmaceutical and Natural Treatments

Here are lists of recommended treatments

Pharmaceuticals

Medicinal relief for your period is determined by the symptoms needing treatment. For cramping, headaches, or other types of pain, drugs like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and NSAIDs (e.g., Aleve) can help. Prescription antidepressants can help with severe emotional and behavioral symptoms. And birth control pills can help regulate hormonal imbalances.

Find out what your doctor recommends first—to be sure your discomfort is within the boundaries of what’s expected with menstruation—but also consider waiting on the drugs (at least for a little while) and making some changes to your diet and overall lifestyle. The following sections will give you ideas for how to get started with this.

Foods to Eat

Again, make sure you’re not about to do anything your doctor wouldn’t approve of, but consider building some “superfoods into your diet.

  • Minimally processed foods such as papaya, brown rice, olive oil, chicken, fish, olive oil, broccoli, leafy green vegetables (such as kale), flaxseed, walnuts, almonds, and pumpkin seeds. These foods contain a variety of nutrients known to help ease period issues and help you feel good in general.
  • Avocados, peanut butter, prunes, chickpeas, bananas. These foods contain boron, a mineral known to help reduce menstrual cramps due to its ability to help your body absorb calcium.

*Be aware that if you choose to take boron supplements instead of getting this nutrient from food, you should read about possible side effects and overdose risks and speak with your doctor.

  • Calcium itself, either as a supplement (only on the advice of a doctor) or in foods such as dairy products, almonds, sesame seeds, and leafy green vegetables.

*Calcium also is something that, if taken as a supplement, can cause problems. So be sure to check with your doctor on this one too.

Foods and Drinks to Avoid

  • Fatty foods
  • Alcohol
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Caffeine
  • Salty foods

All of these foods and drinks can lead to dehydration. Which is the last thing you want to cope with during your period? Drink water, though—lots of it. Most people don’t drink nearly enough water, and staying well-hydrated during your period should help you feel better.

Herbal Supplements

As we’ve mentioned previously, you should try to get these nutrients naturally, from food. If you are interested in taking supplements, speak with your doctor first.

  • Chamomile tea
  • Fennel seeds
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Pycnogenol
  • Dill

Probiotics

Probiotics have been found to have a positive effect on vaginal health by their ability to restore the pH balance that can get a little skewed during your period.

A normal vaginal pH is between 3.8-4.5 for women ages 15-49, making it somewhat acidic. For women both younger than 15 and older than 49, though, vaginal pH is a little higher than 4.5.

Also, menstrual periods raise the pH level a bit into the base range; hence one of the main ways in which the Bombshell is different from other bath bombs is that it neutralizes the vagina’s pH level. Anything that disturbs the vagina’s pH balance can encourage various infections, such as STIs, yeast infections (imbalances), and other problems.

Here are some probiotic=rich foods and drinks to try:

  • Primarily Greek yogurt
  • Tempeh
  • Kefir
  • Miso
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kombucha
  • Kimchee

Physical Treatments

There is quite a variety here, wouldn’t you say?

  • Applying heat
  • Exercise
  • Massage with essential oils
  • Orgasm

Wow! This is a lot to keep track of. A proper diet, healthy supplements, and exercise all make enormous sense, though, and we know they will make us feel healthier overall.

We’d like to something that might appeal to you even more, though.

Soothing Remedies

With our busy lives these days, it seems there is never enough time to take care of ourselves. Could it be that our period is a reminder that we need to attend to own needs as well as those of our families and workplaces? Perhaps if we try to reframe how we think about periods, it will help us reframe how and where we fit into our chaotic lives.

Yes, proper nutrition and lots of exercises are ways to take care of ourselves by integrating good habits and practicing judicious decision-making. But taking care of ourselves can also mean just relaxing in ways such as sitting in a warm bath or nibbling on chocolate. Why not? After all, these are indulgences that cost little and offer invaluable restorative effects.

Being able to reframe negative things in positive ways is one aspect of mindfulness as a lifestyle choice, and getting into the habit of doing this can make for some functional changes—maybe even how you feel, physically and emotionally, during your period.

So do take good care of yourself, won’t you?

 

Helpful Resources:

1. Sex Education in America Needs a Complete Overhaul

2. What Are The Complications Women Face During Pregnancy?

3. Best Exercises For A Complete Back Workout

4. TMJ Pain