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These Habits May Be Making Your Period Worse

Ever feel like your period symptoms are unbearable some months, but not other months? This may be an indication that your lifestyle habits are affecting your cycle. From giving in to cravings to going to bed later than you should, we’ve all been guilty of these. Keep reading to see which one of these may…

Ever feel like your period symptoms are unbearable some months, but not other months? This may be an indication that your lifestyle habits are affecting your cycle. From giving in to cravings to going to bed later than you should, we’ve all been guilty of these. Keep reading to see which one of these may be the culprit of your period pains!

Eating salty or sweet foods

Ever notice yourself craving extra salty chips or a big bowl of ice cream out of nowhere and then suddenly realize, “Oh, my period must be coming!” During menstruation, your hormones get a little out of whack and impel you to crave certain nutrients; usually something sweet or something salty. However, salty foods tend to make your body retain extra water leading to excessive cramping and increased bloating. On the other hand, eating sweets can lead to a spike in your sugar levels, which have already fluctuated due to your current change in hormones. Your monthly sweet tooth could actually be causing you intensified cramping and inflammation.

As hard as it may be to refrain from indulging on your cravings when all you really want to do is snack in bed with your favorite show (sounds amazing, right?), try to limit these foods as much as possible.

A few foods that can make your period symptoms better:

  • Salmon – contains omega-3 fatty acids known for their anti-inflammatory antioxidant properties
  • Bananas – contain magnesium, potassium, and fiber, which are all great for stomach troubles
  • Oranges – contain vitamin D and calcium, both great for anxiety and depression. Helps alleviate cramps and improves overall mood
  • Lemons – contain fiber and many vitamins, helpful for mood swings, bloating, and boosting energy
  • Chamomile – helps relax uterine muscles and calms your mind

Skipping birth control pills

If you currently are on a birth control method, whether it be for family planning or for health reasons, not using it correctly can worsen your symptoms. Missing a pill or doubling up can seriously put your hormones on the fritz. This can lead to breakthrough bleeding and a disrupted cycle. If you find yourself taking your birth control method incorrectly, it’s a good idea to reevaluate what option is best for you.

If you’d like to continue hormonal birth control, you can switch to methods such as the IUD or shot if you keep forgetting to take the pill each night. If it’s a matter of forgetting to refill your prescription, signing up for a monthly online birth control subscription could be a good switch. Or if the hormonal option isn’t working for you, ending the pill altogether and switching to condoms or non-hormonal methods might be the best option. Be sure to speak to a doctor to find the right method for you.

Drinking caffeine

Although it’s common to feel extra tired and slumped around your period, think twice before pouring that second cup of coffee. Too much caffeine, in general, causes your blood vessels to restrict (or vasoconstriction). This can lead to a drop in blood supply to where you really need it, the lining and muscles in your uterus. Unfortunately, this can lead to intensified cramps and unnecessary pain.

I would never suggest that you quit caffeine cold turkey if you just need that cup of tea or coffee to get your day started. However, cutting back during your period can help prevent worsening symptoms. Opting for mildly caffeinated tea during this time can be a better option if you’re an avid coffee drinker, as many teas have great benefits for overall health.

Using harmful feminine products

Did you know that tampons aren’t naturally white? They have to go through a chlorine-bleaching process to get to that stark-white color. Non-organic tampons and pads include toxins such as chlorine, dioxins, glyphosate, polyethylene, polypropylene, and rayon. Your body can react to these chemicals, throwing off your pH levels and impeding your body’s natural process.

Ditch the scented options and switch to organic feminine products instead. This will help ensure that your pH levels are balanced the way they’re meant to be. Although, it’s important to note, switching to an organic tampon does not mean that you can’t get Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Be sure to still switch your tampon every 4-6 hours based on your flow and the tampon size you purchase.

Lack of sleep

Although hormonal changes can cause insomnia in some instances, skimping on sleep can cause worsening period symptoms. Without enough sleep, your body will start to release the stress hormone, cortisol, which affects the functionality of the pituitary gland. Since the pituitary gland regulates hormones, this can greatly impact your monthly cycle. Imbalanced hormones can cause your period to not come on time (or at all), or cause your flow to be heavier and more painful than normal. We can all agree, this isn’t ideal.

To get into the habit of getting enough sleep each night, especially during your period, it’s crucial that you create a healthy sleep-friendly environment. To start, stop watching television or doing work while in bed. Your brain needs to associate your bed with sleep so when it’s time to settle in for the night, your body starts naturally winding down. Additionally, it’s crucial to put down your electronics before bed so your mind can disconnect. Read a book instead as this helps reduce stress and boosts brain power.

For some women, there are period symptoms that shouldn’t be ignored and could indicate something else. Pay attention to your body and the way your cycle changes or persists. If you experience abnormal or very painful periods, it’s important to visit your doctor and discuss your concerns. Taking care of your health should always come first!