6. Give in to salty and sweet foods
Foods with a high salt content are not good for you when you’re menstruating because they can worsen your cramps. What’s more, it can cause severe bloating and add to the discomfort.
Even though you might have the ultimate craving for French fries, nibbling on some salty snacks can actually make your period symptoms worse. Salty foods contribute to the bloating/water retention that women feel around the time of their periods.
Sweet food isn’t much better either, which is bad news when all you’re craving is a Kinder Bueno. Sweet food (as well as caffeine and alcohol) create chemicals in your body that increase your pain receptors making you feel worse. Trying to be conscious of eating lots of fruits and vegetables, plenty of water or herbal tea and regular meals will go a long way to reducing period pain and PMS.
7. Don’t pull an all-nighter
Sleep is always important, but it’s especially important during your period, Pulling all-nighters — or even just sleeping fewer hours than usual — can increase the stress hormone cortisol. This can lead to imbalanced hormones, which can have an effect on the severity of your period.
8. Avoid unprotected sex
While unprotected sex is never a good idea, it is a particularly a bad idea when you have your period. Blood is a good medium for viruses and other bugs. Therefore the transmission of things like HIV can be higher during this time period.
Furthermore, the cervix is slightly dilated (aka open) when you have your period, which makes it easier for bugs to get from the vagina to the cervix and into the pelvis. Plus, you’re not protected from pregnancy just because you’re menstruating. For women with more irregular periods, ovulation and bleeding can happen at the same time, meaning you can get pregnant if you have unprotected sex.
9. Don’t use the same protection for a long period
It is easy to be caught up in your everyday activities, but do not leave the same pad or tampon in all day. Even if the box of pads or tampons says you can use each product for 8 hours straight, it is important to change it every three to four hours. This limits discomfort and prevents bacteria from developing, forming that nasty odour you know too well.