It’s no secret that our bodies don’t always feel the greatest while we’re menstruating and during the days prior. From cramps to bloating, fatigue, mood swings, and more, this can be a tough period of time to get through. Even worse is that it happens each month, making it feel as though there’s no end in sight. The good news is —you may be able to minimize some of the discomfort you experience during your menstrual cycle and premenstrual period with a few self-care and wellness tactics.
Here are some of the best ways to treat yourself with a bit of extra care while on your menstrual period and in the days prior. While none of these are a cure-all, we hope a few of them will leave you feeling a whole lot better than usual when that dreaded time of month rolls around.
Make a Priority of Eating Right
It’s pretty common to crave carbs and sugary foods as your period nears, but these can cause your energy levels to crash while also contributing to mood swings, bloating, and water retention. Instead of reaching for cookies, bagels, and other empty carbohydrates, focus on protein and healthy fats to keep your blood sugar levels stable and decrease inflammation, fiber to encourage healthy digestion and reduce bloating, and plenty of water, which can help with digestion, hormone regulation, and hydration.
You also want to make sure to consume a varied diet that’s high in all recommended vitamins and minerals. Some vitamins, such as riboflavin and thiamine from whole food sources, may reduce your risk of PMS. Meanwhile, iron is important as some women experience iron deficiency during menstruation.
Make Sure You’re Well Rested
Notice that you feel fatigued or have trouble sleeping when your period is present or near? You’re not alone. Getting enough sleep during your period and your premenstrual period may leave you feeling more energized and help stabilize your hormones. To create an environment that encourages you to stay well rested, make sure your room is a comfortable temperature, power down screens a few hours before you want to fall asleep, and try to set a schedule where you’re waking up and going to sleep at the same time each day.
A little bit of exercise can go a long way to ease some of your PMS and period symptoms. A yoga class might ease stress, bloating, and cramps, while a walk or run may encourage your body to release mood-boosting endorphins. Keep an eye on your energy levels and choose a workout that feels good, keeping in mind that just because you have your period doesn’t mean you need to shy away from high intensity workouts at all times. In fact, at the start of your period you may have more energy and strength than usual, thanks to a drop in estrogen and progesterone levels. That said, if you’re feeling tired, be sure to listen to your body and do a workout that’s light or restorative.
Take a Bath or Use a Heating Pad
Heat, whether from a heating pad, warm bath, or hot shower, is one of the best ways to ease tension and reduce pain associated with cramps or muscle soreness. Plus, it may help you feel more relaxed and comfortable in general. Try adding some Epsom salt to your bath for an extra boost of pain relief.
If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Women’s Health Arizona. As Arizona’s largest ObGyn group, we’re trained and solely dedicated to delivering the best ObGyn experience in convenient and comfortable settings around Phoenix.