Could You Be Making Your Period Worse?
Could You Be Making Your Period Worse?
You might know the feeling. That time of the month hits and suddenly your routine is the last thing on your mind. Rather than bouncing out of bed to make an early session at your gym, you just want to pull the covers up and curl into the foetal position. Yep, we hear you.
While not all of us have to deal with debilitating pain or massive mood swings, minimising any discomfort that might come with your period can only be a good thing, right? That means focusing on lifestyle changes to make your period more bearable, and avoiding these habits.
Letting stress get the better of you
We already know that stress can be really bad for our bodies. If you are already feeling stressed out, the changing levels of hormones during your period can make you feel worse. During the luteal stage (the days following ovulation and during your period), your progesterone levels are at their highest. Because progesterone helps the body to produce cortisol, high levels of stress may leave you with excess cortisol. That can lead to flow-on (pun intended) effects, including mood swings, poor sleep, weight gain and poor immune health.
In really severe circumstance, stress can even impact your cycle, leading to irregular periods. Not to mention stress may also lower your pain threshold, making painful periods and cramping even more uncomfortable.
Overdoing it on salty foods
When those cravings hit, it can take a lot of willpower to not give in and indulge in something really salty and unhealthy. But if you have issues with cramping and bloating during your period, then salty foods are not your friend. Salt can make water retention and bloating much worse, leaving you feeling even more uncomfortable. Don’t beat yourself up if you do give in to those salt cravings though. Try drinking lots of water to counter the effects of the salt and to reduce bloating. Some women also find grapefruit juice really helpful for dealing with bloating!
Laying on the couch when you have cramps
If you’ve ever had to put up with painful cramps, you know how hard it can be to get off the couch. It might seem like a cruel joke of nature, but one of the best ways to deal with cramps is by getting up and moving around. You might not have the energy to complete a full workout but a light walk or some gentle yoga can be really helpful. While your period may affect workouts, exercise can help increase blood flow to reducing cramping and it can release endorphins, which may help improve your mood.
Of course, for some women, period pain can be debilitating. If you are struggling with painful periods, it is best to speak to your healthcare professional for advice.
Relying on caffeine
While a cup of coffee can be helpful for boosting your intake of antioxidants, for some women, it can also have negative effects. Caffeine may lead to dehydration and vasoconstriction, which can reduce the blood flow to the muscles surrounding your uterus, leaving you with cramps. If you tend to also get headaches during your period, then try to skip the coffee in favour of a herbal tea or other hydrating drinks.
Not getting enough sleep
Periods bring with them their own challenges, so being tired can make it just that little bit harder to deal with them. It can be hard to get a decent sleep if you’re dealing with cramps, nausea, headaches or unbearable temperature changes (which can make even falling asleep hard enough), but try to make extra time to rest. As with stress, not getting enough sleep can lead to excess cortisol production, which can mess with your cycle. And who wants to deal with irregular periods?
These bad habits can make you feel worse when you have your period. As most of us experience periods in a slightly different way, the benefits of a healthy lifestyle can make that time of the month less uncomfortable. Remember: get plenty of rest, stay hydrated and do some gentle exercise if you can manage it. Those little things can go a long way to making your period more bearable!
* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.