Just when you think your period is predictable, you get surprised by a month that seems to knock you on your butt.
We’ve all been there.
Tired, grumpy and left wondering why our body happens to hate us at that very moment.
But don’t worry.
Our gyno guru, Dr. Sherry, is back to talk about some simple lifestyle changes that could help us during this certain special time of the month.
What’s the best type of diet while I’m on my period?
While a healthy diet is important for every day of your life, it can be especially beneficial when you’re already feeling a bit lethargic and hormonally challenged.
A good rule of thumb is to make sure you eat a well-rounded, colorful diet packed full of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Adding lean proteins such as chicken and fish can also be beneficial – especially those containing omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon. These fatty acids have begun to get attention for their potential to relieve pain – including that associated with menstrual cramping.
Calcium rich foods can also help to reduce muscle cramping. You can get this from well-known dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and milk. But did you know that you can also get your 1,000 mg of calcium a day from eating almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, spinach, kale, figs and soybeans or tofu?
Drink all that down with a warm or hot cup of water, which has been shown to help relax the body as well as the uterine muscles.
Speaking of drinking, staying hydrated is key during this time of month. It’s recommended that the average adult drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day - but that can be a hard target to hit. So reaching for water-based foods like strawberries, blueberries, celery, cucumber, lettuce and melon can oftentimes help.
But don’t stop there. Adding complex carbohydrates like whole grains and brown rice can help to prevent bloating. Natural diuretics can help with swelling and bloat too. These natural diuretics can be found in green tea, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, melons, asparagus, garlic, lettuce and lemon juice.
Sounds like a lot, we know. So if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by your growing period grocery list, you can always opt to get these nutrients through vitamins instead. Just be sure to reach for the calcium, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, thiamine, magnesium, omega-3s and fish oils.
What types of foods should I avoid on my period?
During your period, hormonal changes may cause bloating, diarrhea and constipation, so it’s best to avoid foods and beverages that make these symptoms worse.
Some of these culprits can be found in rich and fatty foods, whole grains, apples, peaches, pears, lettuce, onions, and sugar-free foods containing sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol.
But that’s not all. Many of the well-known “B” and “C” vegetables can cause gas and bloating. What exactly is considered a “B” and “C” vegetable?
I think you get the idea…
While you’re at it, try to limit your intake of carbonated beverages and alcohol, and try not to overeat or eat too fast. All of these things can create gas and bloating.
Foods high in sodium may also contribute to water retention, weight gain and bloating, as well as increase your risk of depression during this more vulnerable time of the month.
Should I exercise when I’m on my period?
In addition to diet, exercise can have amazing effects when it comes to relieving symptoms of PMS and other period pains like cramping, back aches, stress and mood swings.
You can thank your endorphins for this. Not only are they a mood booster, but they’re also a natural painkiller.
Achieve this by trying to exercise 4-7 times a week for a minimum of 30-45 minutes at a time.
Believe us when we say we know this isn’t easy.
If you suffer from breast tenderness, headaches or heavy, crampy, clot-filled periods, exercising regularly can be difficult - if not impossible during this time of the month.
So we say do the best you can! Even if that means just going for a long walk rather than hitting the treadmill for a major sweat sesh.
Also beneficial and a bit easier on your body? Yoga, Pilates, low-volume strength training and swimming. All of which can be done while wearing your Lunette Menstrual Cup.
No matter what you choose, make sure it’s something you enjoy. That will help you to create a consistent exercise routine that will ultimately lead to more energy and stamina throughout the month. Not only that, but it will help in combatting the stress, depression and social withdrawal that some of us may be prone to.
How can stress affect my period?
We all know that stress can directly affect our health in both physical and emotional ways, whether we’d like to admit it or not.
From the moment you feel stressed, a series of hormonal changes will occur that can create physical reactions.
The first response comes from your hypothalamus, which is located in the brain. The hypothalamus sends signals to other areas of the brain like the pituitary gland and adrenal medulla, creating a hormonal cascade. From there the stress hormone, cortisol, is produced. This hormone makes sure the body has an adequate and steady amount of blood sugar available during its time of stress. Then comes adrenaline. Known as the ‘fight or flight’ hormone, adrenaline is responsible for increased pulse, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and sweating. Once your stress is controlled, your body will go back to its normal hormonally balanced state.
If your body never has a chance to go back to this balanced state, stress can begin to wear you down and make you sick, both mentally and physically.
Your menstrual cycle is a terrific barometer of your overall health and wellness. If you’re experiencing significant stress, all of this chaos can begin to affect the frequency and flow of your periods.
Be sure to visit your health care provider if you’re experiencing this. They’ll be able to provide you guidance on how to control your stress, as well as determine that nothing else is going on in your body.
What other self-care should I incorporate during that time of the month?
In addition to diet and exercise, getting a good night’s sleep is critical to good health, both mentally and physically.
While we all operate on different amounts of sleep, it’s recommended that the average adult get 7 to 8 hours per night.
Sleep deprivation can cause trouble focusing, thinking clearly and difficulty reacting to everyday activities. Emotionally, it may cause you to feel frustrated, irritable, stressed and moody. All of this can ultimately affect your ability to be present and productive at work, home and school – whether you’re on or off your period.
Can’t sleep through the night because you’re worried about leaks? Lunette Cup can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time, so pop your cup in before bed to get some zzzzs and save your sheets.
Don’t have a Lunette Cup? You can get one here!