And Have a Bloody Good Time
By Lucia Rossi
Periods. The curse upon women that brings the gift of life.
You know, that special time of the month where you feel like you’re wearing a diaper, overflowing from your jeans, feel like razors are shaving your insides, can’t stop eating chocolate, and your mood drops faster than the economy.
You may think PMS stands for Pretty Much Screwed among other things, but that doesn’t have to be true. It’s just your hormones girl, they’re unbalanced at this time.
Everyone’s bodies are different, but we all share the same pain. Your period doesn’t always have to be a nightmare. Here are some ways to possibly make it better.
The number one drug-free home remedy for a better period is making healthier choices. That means a change in diet and amount of exercise per week. When I say change in diet, I mean: don’t skip breakfast, don’t over-eat, eat whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, don’t overload on sugar and salt (no matter how much you crave it) because it will promote bloating, mood swings, and other PMS symptoms.
As much as it hurts to resist, caffeine and alcohol should also be avoided because it can worsen depression, irritability, and anxiety while on your period. You want foods that are good sources of protein, fiber, omega-3 fats, vitamin D, and calcium to help balance your hormones.
You could even try going organic to avoid estrogen from the pesticides, drinking lots of water, and stop smoking. Women who smoke are more likely and more at risk for more severe PMS symptoms.
Exercises can help ease both physical and emotional symptoms. Even if you feel super sluggish and drained of energy, this is the most important time to pick yourself up because it will increase endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine, that will relieve pain, give you a better mood, aid anxiety, and fight depression. It can also increase blood flow that could ease cramps. Doctors recommend exercising for 30 minutes a day, 4-5 days a week. Aerobics and yoga are great for periods.
Doctors also especially recommend taking vitamins and supplements to help ease PMS symptoms. I’m talking: magnesium, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B6, vitamin E, Evening Primrose oil, Omega-3 fats, Taurine, and your daily multivitamin. Make sure these don’t mess with any medications you’re taking before you decide to try them.
There are also herbal remedies you could try like chasteberry, black cohosh, evening primrose oil, ginger, raspberry leaf, dandelion, wild yam, cramp bark, soy, red clover, kudzu root, flax seeds, and valerian root (not to be confused with Valyrian). Chinese herbal remedies could be an option too, like Xiao Yao San or Rambling Powder.
Don’t ignore your stress, be aware of your needs and give them your attention. Try to get as much sleep as possible. Do what you can to ease stress by stretching, meditating, deep breathing, or writing in your journal. If you feel like it’s severe, try acupuncture or going to the chiropractor. Try asking your loved one to give you a massage with essential oils like lavender (a muscle relaxer) or geranium (an estrogen balancer) mixed with the massage lotion.
If you and your partner are comfortable enough, having sex on your period can help relieve pain too, especially orgasms. In sex, you both deal with each other’s bodily fluids anyway, think of it as just another bodily fluid…with a red tint. I would also recommend laying a towel down first if you decide to try this, just in case.
Magnetic therapy is another drug-free way to treat PMS with Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF). The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a study about how a small magnetic device attached to the sides of your underwear helped improve symptoms dramatically. Check out Allay, at Allaystore.com and MN8 at ladycareusa.com
You may also consider putting on progesterone cream on your inner thighs and lower abdomen. This is basically like “the pill” but in oral form. It aims to give equilibrium to your estrogen and progesterone levels to ease period before it happens. You could also try a heat compress on your lower abdomen while on your period, or just using your laptop while you Netflix and chill.
Let’s talk about the drugs now. Pain relievers are the pills to try first. There’s ibuprofen (like Advil) or naproxen (like Aleve) or reliever made for PMS like Midol or Pamprin, be aware though that they contain caffeine.
If that doesn’t do it for you, talk to your doctor about birth control to regulate you period or lessen its effects. You could even try the Depo- Provera shot and not have your period at all, but beware the risk of constant blood spotting. These options and others like it, can help you control, limit, or completely avoid your period. These are also mainly for your physical pain.
If the emotional pain is too much, then maybe talk to your doctor about anti-depressants. PMS can agitate underlying depression, and treating that possible depression can help your period. It might not even be PMS at all, it might be PMDD, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Doctors might prescribe you with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), like Zoloft or Prozac. This medication would probably work better if you take it all month long and not just during your period.
Doctors could also prescribe diuretics if you feel extreme bloating, like in your hands, feet, face and stomach. This will increase your urine output and will get rid of excess water. You could look into vitamins and foods that work as diuretics as well, like calcium, magnesium, vitamin B, tomatoes, celery, etc. if you don’t want the medication.
The pain is real and PMS is real, like it or not. It is this pain that makes us stronger and it is a kind of pain men don’t understand. Women are constantly scrutinized and criticized when we have any sort of strong emotion because “oh, she must be PMSing,” but now, with all these options, they’ll never know when it’s happening.
Categories: Livin' La Vida Lucia