It is common for menstruating women to experience cramps in their lower abdomens, though they can also radiate into their lower backs, groins, or upper thighs.
Others find it difficult to get out of bed because of cramping, headaches, pain, and nausea, while some people scarcely experience any symptoms.
Even though cramps are one of the most common symptoms of menstruation, some people experience cramps that are so excruciatingly painful that it makes it difficult to perform basic tasks (like going to school or work.).
This festive season, Candice Chirwa, who is affectionately known as the “Minister of Menstruation”, shared her top tips on managing menstrual-related conditions for a stress-free holiday that won’t cramp your style.
Period-related mishaps happen to the best of us.
1. Period fatigue is real - so rest
Period fatigue and year-end fatigue are both real, so it's crucial to get enough rest, especially over the holidays. Make it a point to sleep for eight to nine hours every night throughout the holidays.
2. Heavy menstrual bleeders, we’ve got you too!
Everyone manages period pain in their unique way. Exercise helps alleviate period cramping for some people, while for others, it's applying hot water bottles directly to their abdomen.
“I do suggest that menstruators opt for comfort during this season. Avoid wearing tight clothing and instead choose to wear loose clothes during the summer.
For heavy menstrual bleeders, I’d also recommend using period products that last for 12 hours, such as night time pads, menstrual cups, period underwear, and tampons,” said Chirwa.
3. Busting a holiday myth - period
A Taiwanese study titled the “Effect of Yoga Exercise on Premenstrual Symptoms among Female Employees in Taiwan” found that 12 weeks of twice-weekly yoga classes reduced menstrual cramps in study participants. While exercise may be the last thing people feel like doing when they have cramps, it can provide pain relief.
The benefits of vigorous exercise might not be as great if you're in pain, but gentle stretching, a walk, or yoga may be helpful.
The exercise process releases endorphins, a natural pain reliever.
One persistent misconception to date is that women shouldn't swim or should be kept hidden while they are on their periods.
Chirwa alludes to the fact that you should do the exact opposite, like go for a gentle exercise, including swimming, to keep you cool and to release endorphins which are nature’s pain reliever.
A hike is a sure-fire method for managing period discomfort and preventing PMS mood swings if you'd prefer something more strenuous and a cardio burner.
Any low-stress activity, including yoga and dance, can improve your mood and your physical well-being.
4. Be careful of what you are eating
During your period, especially if your menstrual flow is heavy, it's not uncommon to notice a drop in your iron levels. This typically results in body aches and fatigue.
Stay away from foods that can cause bloating, such as dairy and foods that contain a lot of sodium. A high sodium intake is unhealthy regardless of the time of the month, but it is even more harmful when you are on your period.
Remaining hydrated and drinking ginger tea is a great remedy for helping with cramps.
5. Try alternative solutions like herbal teas
Using herbal-based medicine to relieve menstrual cramps, which is relatively side-effect free, can make your holiday activities less enjoyable.
“I also find using natural treatment options to be a healthier route that is unlikely to lead to gastric issues,” said Chirwa.