During our periods, it’s normal and quite common to feel moody and have mood swings. Most women are familiar with symptoms such as menstrual cramps, headaches, depressive moods, and lack of energy during your period. To alleviate some of these symptoms, it can be helpful to avoid these common mistakes so your period days can fly by as carefree as possible. Here are the common mistakes women should avoid during their period:

Avoid taking the wrong pain medication

Sometimes, period pain can be so bad we’re only left with one option – taking pain relief medication. However, you should always pay attention to the active ingredient the tablet contains. Did you know using aspirin can run the risk of increased bleeding? Aspirin contains the active ingredient acetylsalicylic acid, which has a blood-thinning property and can lead to heavy bleeding. Paracetamol or ibuprofen are better alternatives. For those who would prefer to do forego chemical pain relievers altogether, you can always resort to natural home remedies. Chamomile oil is a great to apply on your skin when giving yourself a gentle abdominal massage. Chamomile oil has natural properties that create a relaxing effect on the uterus. You can always count on your trusty hot water bottles to help relieve cramps. Or try grabbing a woman’s tea at your local pharmacy or health food store. These teas are packed with herbs that have positive effects on our reproductive organs and monthly cycle. Last but not least, we can’t forget about magnesium! Magnesium has a relaxing effect on the muscles and helps alleviate painful cramps.

Don’t change your tampon too often or leave it in overnight

Tampons should be changed frequently and always with clean hands. Inserting a tampon in the vagina leads to the exclusion of air. Mixing any form of bacteria with the absence of oxygen can pose a serious health risk -TSS (toxic shock syndrome). TSS is very rare, but very serious. It’s primarily caused by two types of bacteria - Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. Bacteria can rapidly multiply due to the lack of oxygen and can enter the body via the mucous membrane. This can lead to TSS and requires emergency medical attention.

Neglecting iron intake or eating iron-inhibiting foods

Our bodies lose iron when we bleed. Iron is very important because it is responsible for the oxygen supply in our body. As we all know, nothing can work in the human body without oxygen. Therefore, women should make sure to consume enough iron during their menstrual periods to replenish their bodies. Iron-rich foods should be consumed and don’t forget there are lots of plant-based foods that are a fantastic source of iron.

Make sure not to consume food that inhibits the body from absorbing iron! Foods to avoid during menstruation include black tea (iced-tea too), caffeine-containing lemonades, coffee, cocoa, red wine, or foods with a high calcium content such as dairy products have an iron-inhibiting effect.

A great iron-rich food is black molasses. Molasses made from cane sugar can be bought in health food stores or drug stores. To take it, mix a teaspoon of black molasses in warm water and add some fresh lemon juice. The taste takes some getting used to, but molasses contains a lot of nutrients, minerals, vitamins and iron.

Avoid drinking alcohol

Alcohol during menstruation is not a great idea. Alcohol draws fluids from the body, thins the blood, lowers magnesium levels, and can actually make pain worse. In addition, alcohol affects the estrogen in our bodies and can increase mood swings.

Avoid drinking alcohol eating fast food

I know that sometimes a bad period can make you crave fast food. No matter how intense the craving, try to avoid fast food during your period. Instead, choose healthy alternatives, like foods with high nutrient density. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain many vitamins and phytochemicals that have a positive effect on health and oxidative stress. Fast food is heavy on the stomach and irritates the bowels, which can worsen menstrual symptoms. Fast food can overload our bodies with unhealthy fats and too much salt, which should certainly be avoided during your period.

Avoid being a couch potato

Our period symptoms can creep up on us and many women have a tendency to let those symptoms take over making them feel lazy, unproductive, and uninspired. However, over exercising is not the solution! Avoid too much exercise during your period – instead, try some light yet effective ways to move your body! Yoga, relaxed swimming, walking, and gentle dancing can help relieve pain and have a relaxing effect. It helps stimulate our brains and get us out of our period blues.

Being close-minded

Women can be creatures of habit - we like to stick to our behavioural patterns. Once we find something that we really like, we tend to stick to it. But when it comes to periods, it can be really great to try something new.

Avoid being close-minded and broaden your horizons to try new things that are constantly coming into the market (such as the menstrual cups)! Today, there are lots of new tampons and pads that are made from sustainable material or organic cotton. We should dare to try something new because we could discover great products that have a positive effect on our well-being. And who knows, these products can quickly become our new period must-haves! During our periods, we should strive to make ourselves feel great and comfortable.  There are so many new products to try out and fall in love with.

Kristina Nguyen 14. April 19

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