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Making Your Period More Manageable

June 21, 2024

Woman holding calendar with marked period dates.

Periods can be uncomfortable, with symptoms like bloating, cramps, muscle aches, mood swings, cravings, and fatigue. However, there are several ways to make your period more manageable. This article explores various strategies to help you feel better during your menstrual cycle, from nutritional tips and physical activities to mental well-being and medical interventions.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding your menstrual cycle can help you manage symptoms more effectively.
  • Nutritional strategies, such as staying hydrated and eating anti-inflammatory foods, can alleviate cramps and bloating.
  • Physical activities like yoga and low-impact exercises can ease discomfort and improve your mood.
  • Mental and emotional well-being practices, such as mindfulness and meditation, are crucial for managing stress during your period.
  • Medical and alternative interventions, including over-the-counter medications and herbal remedies, can provide additional relief.

Understanding the Menstrual Cycle

Woman holding calendar and menstrual products illustration.

The menstrual cycle has long been seen as a negative thing. And there has not been enough information on how to manage symptoms. But we must change that narrative. Symptoms can be managed or reduced so you can continue to participate in sports and other activities. Don’t feel ashamed of your period – take control and be proactive in managing it.

Nutritional Strategies for Symptom Relief

Healthy foods and supplements for menstrual relief

Foods to Alleviate Cramps and Bloating

A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can significantly alleviate menstrual symptoms. Processed foods should be avoided as they can contain high amounts of salt, contributing to bloating. Instead, opt for proteins like fish and chicken and healthy fats such as nuts and avocados. For those with a sweet tooth, dark chocolate is a good option as it is a source of magnesium, which helps regulate serotonin and elevate mood.

The Role of Hydration

Drinking plenty of water is crucial for reducing bloating and maintaining overall health. Proper hydration can help manage various menstrual symptoms, making the period more manageable. It is advisable to limit caffeine intake, as it can lead to dehydration and exacerbate symptoms.

Supplements and Vitamins

Certain dietary supplements can be beneficial in managing menstrual symptoms. Vitamin D aids in calcium absorption and reduces inflammation. Omega-3, vitamin E, and magnesium are also effective in reducing inflammation and alleviating pain. For optimal results, these supplements should be taken daily, not just during the menstrual cycle. However, it is essential to consult a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.

Physical Activities to Ease Discomfort

Benefits of Yoga and Stretching

Yoga and stretching exercises are highly beneficial during menstruation. These activities help in relaxing the muscles, improving blood circulation, and reducing stress. Incorporating yoga into your routine can significantly alleviate menstrual cramps and discomfort. Poses such as the Child's Pose, Cat-Cow, and Forward Bend are particularly effective.

Low-Impact Exercises

Low-impact exercises, such as walking or swimming, are gentle on the body yet effective in reducing menstrual pain. These activities stimulate the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers. It's important to listen to your body and choose exercises that feel comfortable. Period underwear can provide additional comfort and protection during these activities. For more information, visit this link.

Breathing Techniques for Pain Management

Breathing techniques can be a powerful tool for managing menstrual pain. Deep breathing exercises help in oxygenating the blood and relaxing the nervous system. Techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing and alternate nostril breathing can be practiced to reduce pain and promote relaxation. These methods are easy to incorporate into daily routines and can be practiced anywhere.

Mental and Emotional Well-being During Menstruation

Mindfulness and Meditation

Periods and feeling bleh (sometimes pronounced TERRIBLE) seem to go hand in hand. There’s a lot being thrown at your body – bloating, cramps, bleeding, and the all-too-familiar emotional ups and downs caused by hormones on the fritz. And maybe you begin feeling this way BEFORE your period even starts, say hello to premenstrual syndrome (PMS). We get it, this can ALL be rough - thankfully, we’ve got some period hacks to share that will help you know how to feel better on your period and put you at ease.

Stress-Reduction Techniques

All of these different methods contribute to a more zen state of mind--and body--which can go a long way in making your period easier. Your body is less stressed, your emotions are more balanced, and you feel more comfortable overall.

The Importance of Rest

Menstruation is often seen as a negative experience, with symptoms that can be disruptive to daily life. Participation in sport and physical activity is particularly affected, with 78% of teenage girls reporting they avoid exercise while on their period. Elite athletes have also reported their performance is negatively affected by their period. So, how do we reduce or manage period-related symptoms? The first step is understanding our menstrual cycle.

From bloating to mood swings, your period may be a tough time to get through each month. But with some simple period self-care practices, you can ease the symptoms and make your cycle more manageable. Here are some of the best period self-care tips to help you feel more balanced, comfortable and empowered during your menstrual cycle.

After ovulation, hormone levels are higher, with a peak in progesterone and a secondary peak in oestrogen. It is during this time that the menstrual cycle is frequently associated with negative symptoms such as bloating, fatigue and changes in mood. But we know that menstrual-related symptoms can be improved through diet, sleep, reducing stress and exercising. So taking a proactive approach can help to promote sports performance on every day of the menstrual cycle.

For additional comfort, consider using period underwear for women which can provide both physical and emotional relief during menstruation.

Utilizing Heat and Cold Therapy

Heat Pads and Warm Baths

Applying heat to the lower abdomen can provide significant relief from menstrual cramps and muscle tension. Heat therapy works by relaxing muscles and improving blood circulation. Options include using a heating pad, hot water bottle, or taking a warm bath. These methods can help soothe pain and promote relaxation.

Cold Compresses

Cold therapy can also be beneficial in managing menstrual discomfort. Applying a cold compress to the lower abdomen can help reduce inflammation and numb the area, providing temporary relief from pain. This method is particularly useful for those who experience swelling or prefer a non-heat-based approach.

Alternating Between Heat and Cold

Alternating between heat and cold therapy can offer a balanced approach to managing menstrual pain. Start with a heating pad or warm bath to relax the muscles, followed by a cold compress to reduce inflammation. This combination can be particularly effective in providing comprehensive relief from menstrual symptoms.

For additional comfort, consider using the [New York Times's Top pick Period underwear for women](https://www.etrendix.com/collections/period-panties) which can offer both support and convenience during menstruation.

Medical Interventions and When to Seek Help

Woman with calendar consulting doctor about period concerns.

Over-the-Counter Medications

For many individuals, over-the-counter (OTC) medications can provide significant relief from menstrual discomfort. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen are commonly recommended to alleviate cramps and reduce inflammation. These medications work by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins, which are chemicals in the body that cause pain and inflammation. It is important to follow the dosage instructions on the packaging and consult a healthcare provider if there are any concerns.

Prescription Treatments

In cases where OTC medications are insufficient, healthcare providers may prescribe stronger treatments. Hormonal contraceptives, such as birth control pills, patches, or intrauterine devices (IUDs), can help regulate the menstrual cycle and reduce the severity of symptoms. Additionally, certain prescription pain relievers may be recommended for more intense pain. It is crucial to discuss the potential side effects and benefits of these treatments with a healthcare professional.

When to Consult a Healthcare Provider

While many menstrual symptoms can be managed with OTC or prescription medications, there are instances when it is essential to seek medical advice. If menstrual pain is severe, disrupts daily activities, or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as heavy bleeding or irregular cycles, it is advisable to consult a healthcare provider. They can conduct a thorough evaluation to rule out underlying conditions such as endometriosis or fibroids and recommend appropriate treatments. Additionally, for those experiencing discomfort, period underwear can be a helpful option to manage menstrual flow discreetly. For more information, visit this link.

Alternative and Holistic Approaches

Woman doing yoga surrounded by plants and essential oils.

Herbal Remedies

Herbal remedies have been used for centuries to alleviate menstrual discomfort. Common herbs such as ginger, chamomile, and raspberry leaf are known for their anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. These herbs can be consumed as teas or supplements to help reduce cramps and bloating. However, it is essential to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any herbal regimen to ensure safety and efficacy.

Acupuncture and Acupressure

Acupuncture and acupressure are traditional Chinese medicine practices that can provide relief from menstrual symptoms. Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow and reduce pain. Acupressure, on the other hand, uses manual pressure on these points to achieve similar effects. Both practices can help relax the body, release muscle tension, and improve blood flow.


Aromatherapy utilizes essential oils to promote physical and emotional well-being. Lavender, clary sage, and peppermint oils are particularly effective in alleviating menstrual pain and mood swings. These oils can be used in diffusers, added to baths, or applied topically with a carrier oil. It is important to use high-quality essential oils and follow proper dilution guidelines to avoid skin irritation.

In addition to these holistic approaches, it is crucial to be mindful of the products used during menstruation. For instance, period underwear from reputable sources can offer comfort and protection. However, consumers should be aware of potential toxins found in Knix panties and opt for safer alternatives. For more information on period underwear, visit this link.


Managing your period effectively can significantly enhance your quality of life. By employing various strategies such as using heat for pain relief, engaging in relaxation techniques, and maintaining a proactive approach to self-care, you can mitigate the discomfort associated with menstruation. It is essential to shift the narrative around menstruation from a negative experience to one where symptoms are manageable, allowing for continued participation in daily activities and sports. Embrace these methods to take control of your menstrual health and improve your overall well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different phases of the menstrual cycle?

The menstrual cycle consists of four phases: the menstrual phase, the follicular phase, ovulation, and the luteal phase.

How can I track my menstrual cycle effectively?

You can track your menstrual cycle using apps, calendars, or journals to monitor your symptoms, cycle length, and ovulation days.

What foods help alleviate cramps and bloating during menstruation?

Foods rich in magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants, such as leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish, can help reduce cramps and bloating.

Are there exercises that can help relieve menstrual discomfort?

Yes, low-impact exercises like yoga, stretching, and walking can help alleviate menstrual discomfort by improving blood flow and reducing stress.

When should I consult a healthcare provider about my menstrual symptoms?

You should consult a healthcare provider if you experience severe pain, heavy bleeding, irregular cycles, or any other symptoms that disrupt your daily life.

What are some alternative approaches to managing menstrual symptoms?

Alternative approaches include herbal remedies, acupuncture, acupressure, and aromatherapy, which can help alleviate symptoms naturally.

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