There are things that you should never do while you have your period and things that you never thought you could do. Every week, new information and studies are coming out with the latest news about women and their menstrual cycle. Only one fact remains constant: We are still learning new things about our bodies and the mysteries of our period.
Recent studies on menstruating women have revealed a number of interesting facts. Firstly, it is quite normal for us to be in the mood for loving while we are bleeding. This is because the hormone that lowers the libido, progesterone, is at an all time low while we are bleeding. We also have a harder time concentrating when taking a test while on our period. Go figure, right?
The average woman in the United States menstruates about 450 times in her lifetime. This is a huge increase from the 50 periods our prehistoric ancestors experienced, or the roughly 150 periods experienced by modern women in agricultural societies outside of the U.S. We do a lot of bleeding and have a lot of time to kick back and pamper ourselves, so make every period count for something by finding what you can and can not do while you are getting a visit from dear Aunt Flo.
13. Watch Depressing Movies
Many women begin to notice their emotions going haywire a few days before their period and sometimes lasting through their entire bleeding cycle. We may experience happiness, sadness, anger, and insecurity all in the matter of minutes, leaving our men and everyone around us baffled, confused, and kind of scared. During this time of emotional upheaval, we should avoid watching depressing movies. After all, a cryfest in front of the television while the man is curled up in a corner, afraid to move or say the wrong thing, makes everyone miserable. Stick to happy, cheerful movies or avoid watching television altogether and work on a project you have been putting off for the past few weeks.
12. Get a Wax
According to Health.com, women may experience more pain when we have our period because our estrogen levels are low. For those of us who have experienced this first hand, we know that we have to plan painful dentistry and doctor appointments around our menstrual cycle. It also means that getting a wax while menstruating is also out of the question. Plan your wax for the week after your period when estrogen production is back in play.
11. Forget You Have Your Period
Let’s face it. We act different and feel different when we have our period. There is no way around it and pretending that we don’t have our period can make us more miserable and more out of sync with our body’s natural rhythms than if we just succumb to spending the day in bed. Instead, we should prepare for our period by stocking up on pads and tampons, buying healthy snacks to eat in bed, and even taking out a few books from the library to read when nothing else seems to make us happy.
10. Go to Bed Without a Tampon or Pad
It might be tempting, but it will also be messy. Going to bed without a pad or tampon at night will create a mess, stain your sheets, comforter, and ruin your mattress. If you find traditional pads and tampons uncomfortable at night, look into alternatives. There are cloth pads you can make yourself or buy online, as well as period panties or the menstrual cup. Any of these alternatives are comfortable for nighttime sleeping and even regular daytime use.
9. Wear White Pants
White pants never look as good as when we are on our period. Maybe it is the challenge that comes with wearing them that makes them so enticing during our time of the month, or maybe we are just secretly confronting the gods of fate: I dare you to make me bleed on through. Whatever the case, we must fight the urge to give in to this strange, almost primal, challenge. Instead of taking the risk, we need to put all of our white pants away until after our monthly visit, so we can wear them with confidence later on.
8. Skip the Gym
We’ve all been there. The cramping is so awful that all we want to do is stay curled up in bed, watch television, and pig out on snacks. But that is not the best approach, according to Women’s Health Magazine. In fact, we should be hitting the gym during our period. Exercise will help relieve cramping and other bodily aches when we are bleeding. What’s more, many women find that their workout challenges are far easier while they are menstruating than when their bodies are in the process of ovulating.
7. Eat and Drink Dairy
Calcium is great for helping with menstrual pains, but milk products do the opposite. Milk, cheese, and yogurt should be eaten sparingly or not at all while we have our period because they contain arachadonic acids and can cause cramps. Instead, reach for a glass of almond milk and make delicious smoothies using non-dairy coconut milk yogurts. You will get your calcium this way, plus the healthy benefits from the fruits and berries you add to your smoothies.
6. Wear the Same Protection for the Entire Work Day
When we are at work, all we want to do is get the day done and go home. While this is especially true when we have our period, that doesn’t mean we should skip out on hygiene. Pads and tampons need to be changed every three to four hours and more often during a heavy flow. Wearing the same pad or tampon all day at work can cause bacteria to produce bad odors, especially if you sweat during the day. Keep an extra supply of pads and tampons in your purse so you can take the time to change while at work.
5. Avoid Camping in Bear Country
This came as a total surprise to me. Having been a long time tent camper, I was always told to avoid camping during my menses because bears are attracted to menstrual blood. Huffington Post reports that this is a total myth and that menstruating women are not more likely to be attacked by bears than men. Grizzly and black bears are not attracted to menstrual odor. The only exception to this is polar bears, who have been shown to be attracted to used tampons. So, unless you plan on camping in the Arctic, there is no reason why you should avoid the great outdoors when you have your period.
4. Skip Out on Skinny Dipping
Just because you have your period doesn’t mean you have to skip out on all things fun, including skinny dipping. Surprisingly, many women have come out online to offer tips on skinny dippy while menstruating. The trick is to prepare ahead of time. Some women use a tampon and tuck up the string to hide it. Another talked about a method using a menstrual cup, such as the DivaCup, while skinny dipping. The cup captures your menstrual flow so that you don’t paint the water pink.
3. Pig Out on Salty Snacks
We cramp, we feel like absolute crap, and all we want to do is kick back with a bag of potato chips to crunch the day away. Sounds tempting, right? The experts tell us that this is one of the last things we should be doing during our periods. Salty foods make us bloat, especially when we have our menses. That means we will feel even lousier during our period. Instead, we should snack on the healthy stuff, like fruits and vegetables, to supply our bodies with much needed minerals and vitamins during this time.
2. Assume Calories Don’t Count
It doesn’t matter what time of month it is, calories count the same no matter when you consume them. While we all want to pamper ourselves during that time of the month, we need to plan out our eating carefully. Sure, eating a bit of chocolate is comforting, but instead of tackling a whole chocolate bar, reduce yourself to having a piece at a time and savor the bar over a two or three day period. Of course, you can still kick back and spoil yourself with good tasting food, but make sure you are eating healthy foods. Make yourself smoothies using fresh fruit, berries, and coconut milk yogurt. Satisfy your sweet tooth with organic fruit leathers. They are sweeter, tastier, and healthier than candy. Also, check out the organics section at the grocery store. There are numerous healthy snacks on the market you can spoil yourself with, from vegan snack bars to healthy cookies.
1. Assume That it is an Excuse to be Mean
Being mean to other people is never cool, even if you are on your period. If you are feeling crabby while menstruating, one of the best things you can do is tell your family or your partner that you need a bit of space right now. Take a walk (exercise is great for cramps) or go to your room and read a book. Spend some time checking out ways you can improve yourself, your health, and your lifestyle. In fact, having your period is the best excuse available to spend time thinking about your life and how you can make things better, not worse.