Mind-numbing cramps, insatiable cravings, horrendous bloating — ah, the joys of being a woman. Approximately one week a month, many of us are hit in the face with a bag of bricks in what society more typically calls menstruation. If you're anything like me, you'll try a number of suggested period hacks to make menstruation easier. And I'm not just talking about advice from "experts" about how you should try to stay active and drink tons of water to help alleviate cramps, because LOL who can do that when they're doubled over in agony, swallowing back their own puke, and already retaining an extra five pounds of bloat, all in their uterus? Thanksbutnothanks.
It takes a lot of women years to discover their own successful period hacks, because much of it is trial and error. I once read in Cosmo that peanut butter is supposed to take the edge off cramps and nearly finished an entire jar before I finally realized it wasn't working. We've all got our own ninja tricks to relieve the misery of menstruation; and even if they help but a little, we'll take what we can get, if it means being able to function like a moderately normal human being that one nightmarish week each month.
The women of Reddit recently introduced the conversation and shared their tips for having a less shitteous period. Here's what they had to say.
1Cuddle Up With A Heating Pad...
Science gives this two thumbs up. In fact, some research has found that topically applying heat is as effective as taking ibuprofen for period cramps.
2... Or A Tray Of Ice Cubes
This makes sense, also. Cold helps to constrict blood vessels and could thus help reduce cramps.
It takes a brave soul to do this; but orgasms do strengthen your pelvic floor, improve blood flow to the genitals, and increase your tolerance for pain.
Evening primrose oil is an herb that has been found to help with not only cramps but other pain associated with periods, acne, anxiety, mood swings, and headaches. It might also help with irregular periods and heavy flows. Studies have indeed found that women who are diligent in taking evening primrose oil find themselves symptom-free or at least experiencing partial relief.
6Treat Yourself To Presents
Subscription boxes are awesome because it's like getting a birthday present every month. And you never need a present more than when you're on your period.
Kinesiology tape is used for a wide variety of injuries, strains, and pain types. This include periods cramps. It's made of cotton fibers and elastic strands woven into it, and doesn't restrict movement or blood flow, like regular tape might. This tape works by lifting your skin to create a very tiny space between the muscle and dermis layers. Doing so helps take pressure off swelling, allows muscles to move smoothly, and leaves space for draining and blood flow.
Hop on Google or YouTube and look for more information on how to use it, like this video.
Ginger can help reduce inflammation and pain, as well as alleviate nausea and stomach cramps.
9Protect Thy Diva Cup
You heard it, gymgoers. Take care or that cup will come flying out.
10Say Bye-Bye To Disposable Pads
Women are becoming more and more aware of the types of feminine products we use. Organic pads and tampons are the new thing, and some women take it one step further by ditching disposable products entirely. Right on!
11Better Safe Than Sorry
You can never have too many feminine products, boxes of Midol, stick-on heating pads, and Snickers bars. Stash them everywhere so you're never caught off-guard.
12Eat Whatever The Heck You Want...
Menstruation isn't the time to be nitpicky about your diet. If you find eating a certain food helps you feel a little better, enjoy it.
13... Or Switch Up Your Diet
Reducing or eliminating certain kinds of food while you're on the period train might make the week a little easier. And if you want to stay active even though you feel miserable, low-intensity yoga might very well be the way to go.