It’s estimated that, on average, a woman will have 450 periods in her lifetime. According to the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, 84 percent of menstruating women feel bloated and moody when they’re on their period. That’s just the start, though. We deal with all sorts of period symtpoms — menstrual cramps, increased appetite, and fatigue. Your period even messes with your ability to sleep at night.
It doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom, though. There are many ways you can combat the miseries of your period. HelloGiggles spoke with Adrian Forsyth, Co-Founder & Director of Veeda, a company that specializes in all-natural, eco-friendly, totally safe feminine hygiene products, who says there are many different things that can “act as a natural pain reliever” when you’re on your period. Of course, there’s the miracle of over-the-counter painkillers, which doctors recommend you take before the cramps even kicks in. But we’re talking beyond that. There are several little habits you can adopt that will make your period a little less miserable than usual.
Here are six things that will help you feel better on your period, because every little bit helps.
1Do some gentle exercise
We don’t exactly feel like running a marathon when we’re menstruating, but exercising and getting the body moving can make a big difference when we’re feeling tired, irritable, and crampy. “Get the heart pumping,” Forsyth tells HG. “Even though working out may be the last thing you feel like doing, exercise can actual make you feel better because it causes the release of beta-endorphins.”
You don’t even need to go to the gym if you don’t feel like being in that kind of environment. Forsyth suggests going for a brisk walk in a nice park or going to a relaxing yoga class. Studies show that just getting the blood pumping in your body will help relieve any pain you might have, as well as put you in a better mood.
2Steer clear of caffeine
When you’re on your period, it might be a good idea to switch from coffee to tea. The experts over at Veeda remind us that “caffeine dehydrates you and mildly constricts blood flow, which can lead to pain and increase tension and anxiety.” In other words, the more coffee you drink, the worse you may feel. Instead of pounding back all those lattes in the morning, opt in for a relaxing herbal tea, and if you feel like you need a touch of caffeine to get through the day, try black or green tea.
3Use all-natural tampons or pads
All-natural, organic tampons are gaining popularity for many good reasons. “The absence of any chemicals…has been known to reduce discomfort and even shorten the length of your period,” Forsyth says. That’s why products like Veeda tampons are so useful to menstruating women — they contain no harmful or irritating chemicals, synthetics or dyes.
There are an enormous amount of pesticides used on cotton crops these days, which can make tampons dangerous or harmful to use (after all, they get inserted inside your body for several hours). Whenever you can, choose an all-natural tampon that will keep your body safe and potentially ease your menstrual pains.
4Apply heat to your abdomen
Don’t underestimate the power of a hot water bottle when your uterus is shedding its lining. It will relax the muscles that are contracting and causing cramps. “Applying heat to your mid-section helps to increase blood flow and provides a sense of release and comfort,” Forsyth tells HG. So grab a hot water bottle, heating pad, or just get into a warm bath. You’ll instantly feel more relaxed, like all your stresses have fallen away. Even better if you slip right under the cover afterwards for a good night’s sleep.
5Use lavender essential oil
“When essential oils extracted from plants are inhaled, olfactory receptor cells are stimulated and the impulses are transmitted to the emotional center of the brain,” Forsyth says. Lavender is known to relax you and give you a sense of calm, so grab yourself some lavender essential oil and burn it in your bedroom. Alternatively, you can rub a little bit of lavender oil on your wrists and put a few drops on your pillowcase. It will help you fall into a deep, delicious sleep.
6Consume some cinnamon
There are some anti-inflammatory properties of cinnamon that will become your best friend when you’re on your period. Your whole abdomen is going through a hell of a lot when you’re menstruating, so any chance you can get to reduce the pain and bloating, take it. Forsyth recommends sprinkling some cinnamon on a baked sweet potato or drinking decaf cinnamon tea. Even the scent of cinnamon might the exact pick-me-up you need to get through the day.