Let's Talk About Periods. (And Can You Bring Chocolate?)
I got my period when I was 12. My mom slapped me across the face (lightly), a jewish tradition to welcome me to womanhood. My cousin had gotten it the month prior and we laid in bed all weekend watching Sex and the City, complaining about non-existent cramps and eating Ben & Jerry's because that's what we thought we were supposed to do.
Now, my periods are heavy. Like can't get out of bed, monsoon season, only wear black heavy. It feels like my uterus is reacting to the latest political news- thrashing and protesting, trying to claim asylum anywhere but here. The day before my period I'm so hungry I could eat my desk, like a chick movie cliche eat any chocolate I can find and I literally cannot count the dresses that have been ruined after my super tampon, double pads, spanx, and under armour couldn't protect the dress from my menstrual flow. It is THE BEST.
But actually, getting ahead of my period symptoms has been really helpful to me and I feel very strongly about normalizing the conversation around periods (I even appeared in a video for LOLA about it!) so let's talk about it.
Periods are tough. Even if yours is light. Our bodies are literally shedding like snakes in a desert and bleeding all day is exhausting. Cramping, dizziness, and body pain. Also, with the shedding of our uterine lining and strong uterus contractions our bowels can accidentally receive those contraction directions leading to unexpected bowel movements (damn prostaglandins!). Hello diarrhea, nice of you to come during this totally serene time a month.
So what can you do to make it easier? To make that dreaded time of month less frustrating? A few tips and tricks that have helped me and I hope can help you too:
You do know you're reading The Lemon Tribe-so what else would I suggest? Seriously, stop shoving toxic stuff up your vagina. I had switched my makeup routine, my food, and my cleaning products over to organic before I even though this could be an issue. Ready for this? There are no regulations for what is put in tampons. The cotton can have chemicals on it and the nice scent that they spray it in is like you spraying perfume on your lady parts. I was SHOCKED and so were the amazing founders of LOLA who decided to do something about it.
My period migraines went away as soon as I switched to LOLA. They're organic cotton, sent monthly to your door, and you can customize whatever mix of tampons/pads you want based on how light or heavy your period tends to be. If you're interested in trying it for free you can use the code SARAHD for a free box.
Load Up On Greens
I used to chug Gatorade on the days I was so dizzy I couldn't get out of bed-and that will definitely restore your electrolytes but your body needs more to be able to bounce back. Green juices are a great way to pack a lot of nutrients into one drink. Green juice can help cramps, provide iron, Vitamin B, and calcium, and give you an energy boost on the days you're struggling. I've found it's much more effective and keeping the dizziness at a minimum and my energy high (okay--when I say high I mean ensures I'm not sleeping at my desk). Adding in collagen powder will also help in regulating blood pressure and helping stomach symptoms.
Work Out Lightly
Don't run or box or spin on your period if it's heavy. Pushing yourself might make it worse but working out lightly can actually help. Try pilates, gentle stretching, or take a long walk or hike. Working out can actually decrease cramps, lighten your flow, boost your mood, and encourage blood circulation. I tend to focus on upper body workouts during my period because doing squats with a tampon sounds like a nightmare. I'm two heavy periods away from Michelle Obama arms, seriously.
Use Your Mood Swings For Good
Pissed about the tampon tax? Sign a petition! Angry at the government for threatening to defund Planned Parenthood? Go volunteer your time. Upset for no reason and want to do something about it? Donate to a cause you care about. You are woman. Go roar.
Listen To Your Body
Do you want to eat mac and cheese? Skip the gym and binge watch Younger? Run a race and go partying? Whatever your body is craving, you should listen to it. I know going to the gym is good for me during my period but sometimes I sit in my gym clothes scrolling Pinterest for an hour instead of going on the treadmill and I completely accept that I need that. My body demands I listen to it, and my period is the one time a month I really try to listen intently and give it what it needs.
Know When To Seek Medical Help
All of the above helps my period symptoms but is not enough by itself! On my heaviest period days, I take a medication my OBGYN prescribed me that decreases the bleeding. It is essentially like cauterizing a wound but in my uterus. It has been immensely helpful at keeping me functional throughout my period and I encourage you as a first step if you're experiencing bad period symptoms to go to your OBGYN and get checked out.
Got any tips you want to share? Let me know in the comments below!