I'm going to state the obvious here, periods are a pain — both literally and metaphorically. While there is nothing that can make your period a truly enjoyable experience, there are myriad genius products that will help make your period less miserable. While having your period is a natural, healthy part of life it always seems to come at the worst time. Not there is ever a great time for bloating, mind-numbing cramps, absurd food cravings, and epic mood swings — but there are ways to make your time of the month suck less.
So, I'm going to get a little personal: I have terrible periods that are plagued by debilitating cramps, ultra heavy flows, epic exhaustion, and chronic crankiness. I also have premenstrual dysphoric disorder, better known as PMDD, which is basically PMS on steroids that can last up to three weeks per month. That's right, the only time it subsides it when I actually have my period. Luckily I have learned to manage it with the help of some of the genius products I'm going to tell you about.
Period products have come a long way from things like sanitary aprons (common in the 1800s, this was as awful as it sounds), and today you have more options than ever to manage your monthly flow. Check out these products to make your period less miserable.
1. Try Swedish Flower Pollen Extract & Royal Jelly Supplements
I use a supplement called Serenol for my PMDD symptoms. The supplements are made from pollen extract taken from flowers grown in a pesticide-free environment in Sweden, and royal jelly, a milky secretion made from bees. It's gluten and soy free, helps reduce those crazy food cravings, and makes me feel mostly normal.
The best part is that it's all-natural, which is a bonus in my book. My doctor recommended I try this before exploring medical options, and I am so glad I did. It does have to be taken every day, but if you have serious PMS, or PMDD, it's worth exploring.
2. Subscribe To A Period Product Delivery Service
So you know you're going to have your period every month, but how many times have you had to run out to buy tampons when you're doubled over in pain? Monthly Gift is a service that delivers everything you need to survive your period (including chocolate) straight to you front door for as little as $10.
They have a super easy app to help you track your cycle, and for every box purchased they donate a box to someone in need.
3. Go Organic
Lola is another company that delivers to your door to help make your period more bearable, and if all-natural products are important to you they've got that covered. They also provide period products to women in need across the United States, because the only thing worse than having your period is not being able to afford the products that get you through it.
4. Bring On The Heating Pad
A heating pad is a must have for period pain. I could not live without my heating pad, which is my constant companion during that time of the month. If you can't be home on the couch marathoning your favorite show with your heating pad, there are several instant heat packs you can pick up at any drug store that are perfect for when you're on the go.
If you're crafty, you can also make your own reusable, microwaveable heating pad using fabric, fleece, and rice. A roommate made me one of these years ago, and I still use it all of the time.
5. Make Time For Tea
One easy way to relieve discomfort during your period is good, old-fashioned tea. Try these four teas next time you're suffering from period pain: Cinnamon, which contains anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties that ease menstrual cramp symptoms; ginger, known for lowering pain levels to soothe menstrual cramps, and calm the stomach; peppermint, which is a natural muscle relaxer, and appetite suppressant; and chamomile, which contains natural anti-inflammatory properties to reduce menstrual cramps.
6. Try A Menstrual Cup
I know people who swear by the menstrual cup. Personally, I tried one several years ago, and it didn't work for me, but everyone is different. If you want to free yourself from the confines of pads and tampons, menstrual cups are environmentally friendly, economical, and easy to tote around.
7. Wear Your Menstrual Underwear
Menstrual underwear are all the rage recently, though they have been popular outside of the U.S. for years. Menstrual underwear, or period panties, claim to provide leak-proof protection without the use of a pad or tampon.
Wait, what? This sounds too good to be true! I have to admit, I haven't tried these, but if you're curious you can compare various period panties, and choose the one that sounds best for you.
While none of these things are going to make your period problems disappear completely, they might help you feel a little more in control during your worst week.