Getting your period on vacation is far from ideal. Some women go as far as skipping the placebo pills in their birth control pack or getting hormonal IUDs just to avoid this problem, but it doesn’t have to be this difficult. Instead of making yourself miserable with hormonal birth control and paying the price in the form of risky side effects, take your health into your own hands and look into ways to make your period healthier and therefore not something to dread.
Your Period Doesn’t Have To Suck
Whether we like it or not, periods take up a good portion of our time. Why spend one week of every month miserable when there are plenty of natural and healthy ways to manage these symptoms, including getting your hormones checked, exercising regularly, drinking more water and less caffeine, taking vitamins and supplements when needed, going to acupuncture, and eating a healthy diet? A mediocre period experience may be all too common, but that doesn't mean it's normal. And it definitely doesn't mean that we have to just suck it up and deal with it.
How To Manage the Worst PMS Symptoms
In my experience, period cramps can completely derail your day and make you super nauseous. This would not only destroy your vacation plans but ruin any normal day at home too. Luckily, there are natural and easy ways to eliminate period cramps. The first thing you should do is ask your doctor to run some tests for any hormonal issues or a magnesium or calcium deficiency. If you’re deficient in either of these nutrients, it’s a good idea to take supplements to help manage period cramps.
If your hormones, magnesium, and calcium levels are all healthy, it’s still a good idea to eat foods rich in magnesium (whole grains, nuts, dark leafy greens) and calcium (like dairy products, almonds, leafy greens, salmon). It’s also a good idea to exercise to reduce period cramps, stay hydrated, drink raspberry leaf tea, and don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about additional supplements like vitamins B6, B12, E, and D.
Your vacation is supposed to be relaxing, and the last thing you need is PMS-related mood swings. Mood swings before your period can be related to low estrogen levels. Carol Livoti, MD, a gynecologist, and fellow at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, says, "Reduced levels of estrogen during the luteal phase of the cycle could possibly cause a drop in serotonin, although more research needs to be done to confirm this link.”
Insufficient progesterone can also cause PMS symptoms. Luckily for you, there are simple ways to combat PMS-related mood swings. These easy methods include eating small meals throughout the day to help balance your blood sugar, exercising, and cutting back on caffeine, sugar, and alcohol. Addressing any hormone issues can also greatly reduce, if not eliminate, PMS.
Heavy periods, also known as menorrhagia, are the absolute worst. The thought of bleeding through a tampon while I’m in a pool because my period is heavy is something out of one of my worst nightmares, but there are easy ways to naturally manage this.
Some easy and natural ways to manage a heavy flow include staying hydrated, drinking ginger tea, and eating foods rich in vitamin C (citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, red and green peppers), iron (poultry, red meat, spinach, dark chocolate), and vitamin A (dairy products, eggs, fish, beef liver). If you’re not a fan of these foods, feel free to ask your doctor about running tests to check your levels and, if they are low, take supplements to help ease your symptoms.
It's fair to assume that no one feels particularly excited about heading to the beach while bloated, so it’s a good idea to learn how to naturally reduce period-related bloating (or any type of bloating) before going on your next vacation. First off, period bloating is caused by fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone, so it’s a good idea to get your hormone levels checked out if you’re frequently experiencing bloating during your period.
One of the easiest ways to reduce bloating is to limit your sodium intake and drink more water, but limiting your intake of processed foods, alcohol, and caffeine will also be helpful. Exercising is also effective in reducing bloating, but just remember to stay hydrated if you’re exercising in a warmer climate.
Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, so why are we so stressed about getting our periods during our PTO? The easiest way to manage this stress is to find healthy ways to make our periods less miserable, and many of these solutions are easier than you think and will benefit you in more ways than just improving your period experience.
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