Periods come every month, sometimes like clockwork, sometimes sporadically. For many women, periods are a minor inconvenience, but for others, it can be uncomfortable and stressful. It’s important to seek medical advice if your periods are very painful or heavy, as there could be an underlying reason, but if your periods are just uncomfortable for a few days, read on for some tips to relieve the pain.
One reason why periods are uncomfortable is that they often arrive at the most inconvenient moment. When you get to know your body well, you might find you can accurately predict when your period is likely to show up. Some women experience a ‘dragging’ sensation in their pelvic region shortly before their period arrives. Others get moody and irritable in the days before.
Whilst this makes it easier to be prepared, it’s still sensible to have everything you need, just in case you are caught out by an unexpected visit from Aunty Flo.
Invest in some leak proof panties to wear in the days before your period is due. That way you don’t need to worry about embarrassing leaks at school or work. It’s a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your bag, which includes some wet wipes, a change of underwear (if you prefer to use tampons, pads, or a menstrual cup), and whatever period product you normally use.
If you suspect your period might be due any day, do not make the mistake of wearing white or light-colored skirts or pants. Stick to dark-colored clothing, just in case.
Soak in a Hot Bath
Heat can be very soothing when we have our period. It helps ease menstrual cramps and relaxes us. Run a hot bath and soak for a while. Let the warmth of the water drive away your aches and pains. Add a few drops of lavender oil to the bathwater. Lavender is well known for its relaxing properties. Eucalyptus Oil and Oil of Rosemary can also help.
If a hot bath is out of the question, try using a heating pad to ease your back pain or pelvic pain. A hot water bottle is an old-fashioned way to do it, but modern heat pads are just as effective. Look for one you can pop in the microwave and keep it in your desk at work. It’s a great quick fix when you are feeling achy and miserable. Place it against your lower back or around your belly, depending on where the discomfort is.
Be careful not to place anything too hot directly next to your skin. Wrap a hot water bottle in a tea-towel or pillowcase first.
Take Some Exercise
It is really tempting to lie on the sofa eating ice cream when you have cramps, but exercise is the best tonic. Exercise improves blood flow to the pelvis and releases endorphins, which help to counteract any pain you have. You don’t need to hit the track or the gym – a brisk walk or cycle ride will help to loosen up your body and distract you from any discomfort you’re feeling.
Have a Massage
Ask your partner or a friend to massage your lower back if that’s where the pain is. A gentle massage using aromatherapy oils can be really soothing when the period of pain is making you miserable. It’s even more effective if you have it after a hot bath.
You can do your own massage if you haven’t got anyone around to help. Rub some oil into your hands and massage your abdomen in gentle circles. This can be very soothing and relaxing.
You’re probably thinking “eww!” but seriously, having sex can definitely help. It’s not sex so much as an orgasm, so if your partner is squeamish about the mess or even the idea of sex during your period, try masturbating instead. Orgasms release the build-up of pressure in the pelvic region, which in turn relieves the pain. Try it and see how effective it is!
Over-the-counter painkillers can take the edge of your discomfort. Try anti-inflammatory painkillers, as these are usually more effective. Don’t waste your money on products that claim to be for period pain, as they are no different from other OTC pain relief.
Do consult your doctor if you have really bad periods. You don’t have to put up with the pain!
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