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The Ultimate Period Survival Guide: Tips For Every Problem
When girls talk about periods, normally it’s about what we’re doing to get through those hellish 5 to 7 days. After trying out a LOT of different tactics and consulting with experts (aren’t we all?!), I’ve compiled the most effective period hacks to help you fix your worst period problems.
Why Do We Feel Bad During Our Periods?
Every woman works a little differently but for most PMS is a fact of life. About a week before your period starts you might experience breakouts, feeling wiped out, bloated, cramping and crave all the comfort food. Am I right?
Simply put, we feel bad because of a mixture of hormonal changes and chemical changes in the brain. Although this isn’t necessarily something that we can directly fix, there are a ton of different tips that can get you through some of the worst period problems.
Fixing All Your Period Problems
The Best Period Tips for Acne
Fluctuations in your hormone levels, like around your period, could be why you’re experiencing acne.
Hormonal changes can, unfortunately, trigger acne. As tempting as it is, don’t go nuts with harsh scrubs, masks, toners or DIY remedies. These products can cause dehydration, micro-tears, and irritate the skin.
Irritated skin = acne-prone skin.
Contrary to common belief the best thing you can do is maintain a gentle skincare routine. Wash your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser and use proven non-comedogenic (non-pore clogging) skincare products. Check out my full skin care routine here.
This may sound strange but the body and mind are connected. Stress affects your hormones and failing to balance out your stress levels, whether that be physical or emotional stress, has an impact on your skin and can even lead to or aggravate acne.
The Best Period Tips for Cramps
Use Heat Pads
I love cuddling up with a
Use Essential Oils
Using a combination of Lavender, Clary Sage and Copaiba essential oils are what helps me through some of the most intense cramps. I’ll rub a combination directly onto my stomach and/or diffuse it to soothe, balance and relieve pain.
Use the Livia
The Livia is also known as the off-switch for menstrual pain and a LOT of women swear by it. It works by preventing the transmission of “pain” message to the brain through electrostimulation. Women report that it reduces the sharp pain or even completely eliminates pain, even for women suffering from endometriosis. Since it is safe and drug-free you can also use it as long as necessary.
Some don’t like the buzzing sensation it gives but in case it doesn’t work for you, they have a great return policy.
The Best Period Tips for Back Pain
A lot of the times back pains are just cramps in disguise. Do what yo momma told ya and use heat. It can really help for both cramps and backaches.
Another favorite of mine that has been shown to lessen back pain are weekly sessions of yoga or stretching. I will normally pair sessions with a muscle-soothing essential oil, which works wonders for me.
Get a Massage
In addition to being a great method for general stress relief, massage also brings major relief to muscle tension in the lower back. We especially love getting a shiatsu massage that works through gentle but firmly kneading motions to melt away muscle tension. If for whatever reason we can’t make it to a professional, we have a heated shiatsu massager at home that is great for quick relief.
The Best Period Tips for Fatigue
It is totally normal to feel pooped out just before your period starts due to a decline in hormone levels.
Sleeping is often harder when you’re on your period because of hormonal reasons, however, try to get those 7-8 hours of sleep in using these tips:
- A warm shower before bed and keeping your bedroom cooled to an optimum sleeping temperature of about 18 degrees Celsius will ensure you feel sleepy.
- Resist electronics and bright lights at least an hour before bedtime. Instead, reading a book helps me let go of the day and fall asleep.
- Diffuse essential oils like lavender and copaiba about half an hour before bed.
Even though you may not feel like it in the morning, getting 30 minutes in of moderate exercise will not only give you an energy boost after but a burst of endorphins too. I like taking a morning walk, swim, or take a yoga class.
The Best Period Tips for Cravings
Before your period starts, your calming hormone serotonin dips while your stress hormone cortisol rises, leaving you craving sugary, carby, fatty, and salty comfort food.
There are plenty of ways to satisfy a craving if you’re willing to get a little creative. Instead of deep-fried french fries and a milkshake, try making sweet potato fries and your own creamy smoothie. All you need are a few really great cooking tools like a high-speed blender and high-quality knives, simple ingredients and you’re set!
As a nutritionist, it’s always my goal to find healthier options for the foods I crave. That’s why I love finding healthy food creatives like Emma Ryan, Deliciously Ella, Anna Jones, My New Roots and there are so many more. Don’t settle for boring health food, you can make it amazing!
The Best Period Tips for Digestive Issues
The same hormones that cause your uterus to contract cause the organs along the digestive tract to contract too. This is what causes bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and nausea.
- Salty foods (against bloating)
- Gas inducing foods like broccoli and Brussel sprouts
- Fiber-rich foods like whole fruits, veggies, and whole grains (against constipation)
- Foods high in potassium like bananas, sweet potato, and cantaloupe (against bloating)
- Herbal teas & water (with mint or lemon)
Crazy Oil Lady Strikes Again
Tip: The brand I buy my essential oils from also sell digestive enzymes and probiotics infused with tummy-supporting essential oils that loads of people swear by when they have trouble digesting foods.
The Best Period Tips for Weight Gain
It is highly unlikely that you gained an extra kilo of fat in a week. What is likely is that the weight gain you’re experiencing is water retention due to a change in hormones.
Try to stay away from magic detox teas because you’re normally paying for the marketing skills of a laxative company.
- Keep drinking normal amounts of water or herbal teas
- Break a sweat and exercise
- Skip water-retaining foods (like salty junk food)
- Eat a healthy diet with
fibre-richfoods like veggies and wholegrains.
The Best Period Tips for Headaches & Migraines
It seems that the drop in estrogen we experience during our time of the month can affect how your head feels.
If you suffer from headaches and migraines during your period try using a combination of lavender, peppermint, and copaiba essential oil. Lavender and peppermint are great to breathe in by cupping your hands over your face, while copaiba essential oil is one of the few that I recommend taking a couple drops of underneath your tongue for quick and natural pain relief.
John Hopkins medical research center has also found some evidence that taking magnesium oxide supplementation could help with headaches but always check with your doctor first.
The Best Period Tips for Zero Hassle
Bye Bye Grossness
This one impacts the environment, your wallet, your health and is SO convenient! Trust me, there are SO many reasons to switch to a menstruation cup.
- Less wasteful than tampons and pads & saves money.
- Comfortable, no leaks or smells.
- No chemicals often present in tampons going up there!
- Doesn’t dry out or hurt the inner lining of your vagina.
- You get hours extra in between changes. Sleep peacefully!
- Works with any flow (light-heavy days no matter).
- Decrease your chances of Toxic Shock Syndrome.
- No strings!
- They are made for all types of women.
- With proper care, they can last 10 years.
- They really aren’t scary or any grosser than regular period stuff!
The Ultimate Period Survival Kit
To answer the question which tips and products are my favorites, I’ve compiled my ultimate period survival kit that I ALWAYS use.
If you didn’t read the long list of advantages above then please do! I would recommend EVERYONE to get one!!! Switching to a cup has been an absolute life-changer for me and pretty much everyone who I’ve been able to convert haha.
I was super hesitant myself at first but once you get the hang of them you’ll never go back to tampons or pads. When I got started I thankfully ran into this great video by a fun young woman which helped me a lot!
These stick-on heating pads are so great to help you with cramps and pain. They are also just really comforting for those days that you want to stay in bed but can’t.
Not that this is specific to getting my period but I have major acne-prone skin that worsens right before and during my period. I’ve found that when I stick to my gentle skin routine with active ingredients from The Ordinary then I only break out every so now and then. I can honestly say that after getting through a short transitional period of degunking my skin, it’s never been more stable and clear.
I normally use an anti-aging routine and skin clearing routine that I swap every other day, but the days before my period I’ll do more skin clearing.
Yaaaaasss! You’ll probably have noticed above that I am a major fan of these magical little bottles and for good reason. I use a range of different essential oils for most of the problems that come up during these days. I love applying them on my stomach, underneath my feet and diffuse them.
This is my absolute go-to essential oil during my period because it is so multi-functional. Studies have shown that women who are in pain (during their periods) and use Lavender essential oil actually experience less pain and feel less tension. I’ll use it directly on my stomach for cramps, on my temples when I experience head tension and just generally diffuse it when I feel tense. It also helps me sleep restfully and so this bottle goes wherever I go.
Clary sage essential oil will always be my go-to essential oil to easing menstrual difficulties. Simply inhaling clary sage will lower cortisol levels and help in the regulation of your feminine reproductive hormones. I really like making roller-ball bottles pairing clary sage with other helpful essential oils for that time of the month like lavender, copaiba, ylang-ylang, and bergamot to help me throughout the day.
Peppermint essential oil is great for all sorts of things. Tummy problems? Check! A headache? Check! Need to wake up? Check! I also love using peppermint as a natural crap-free breath freshener.
Copaiba, much like CBD oil, has anti-inflammatory benefits and is a natural remedy for pain and helps calm nerves and the mind. Au contraire to CBD, which comes from the Marihuana plant, you’ll be able to travel with copaiba essential oil wherever you need to go without worry. I also use it for general stress, anxiety or when I feel a throat ache or other pains coming up. It’ll be your best friend during your period.
Whenever I have some serious aches and pains in my back I’ll pair this great blend I found with a heating pad or hot water bottle. It’s called DeepBlue and includes essential oils like Wintergreen, Camphor, Peppermint, Ylang Ylang, Helichrysum, Blue Tansy, Blue Chamomile, and Osmanthus. A lot of these oils are extremely expensive which is why I loved finding this blend. I also use this blend in my diffuser when I have head tension (or a bit of a hangover…) and is my go-to blend for joints and muscles in my exercise routine or when I have restless legs.
Got digestive issues and peppermint doesn’t quite do the trick? DigestZen pairs ginger, peppermint, anise, fennel and a range of other oils to bring relief to nausea and tummy aches quick!
The Last Thing You Need To Know About Period Relief
There are so many different tips that will make your period so much easier. Know that it may take a little experimentation because every woman works a little differently. Be patient with yourself and don’t give up. Your period might not be the best part of the month but you can make it much more bearable and use it as a time to really take care of yourself!
Will You Try Any Of These Tips? Do You Have a Great Tip for Me?
I am always learning and would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below and if you liked this post, sharing is caring!
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