One week out of each month we have to go about our demanding, grown-ass-woman schedules as we normally do except with the very real possibility of painful cramps, headaches, swollen boobs, and other such side effects of having our periods. Obviously, we keep on keeping on—because that's what we as women do.
Still, we deserve a little relief, don't we? So here are all the things that will make you feel better when Aunt Flo rears her ugly head:
1. Exercise when you've got cramps. I know, I know, it sounds counterintuitive/the last thing any woman would want to do during her period (especially during those especially dreadful first few days). But it's what your body really wants, we promise! "When you exercise, your body releases endorphins," explains Dr. Anate Aelion Brauer, a reproductive endocrinologist at the Greenwich Fertility center. "It's your body's natural pain killer and mood elevator."
If cardio isn't your jam, yoga is a great route to go—just be wary of the poses that put pressure on areas where you're sensitive.
2. Avoid coffee and chocolate. Oh man, here we are again with annoying AF advice, but hey, doctor's orders! "Coffee and chocolate have caffeine, which is a vasoconstrictor," explains Dr. Brauer. "It causes blood vessels feeding the uterus to tighten, making cramping worst."
3. Start taking Advil *before* your period. "For women suffering from severe cramping, I recommend taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen every 6 hours for the 48 hours before your period begins," says Dr. Bauer. "This helps decrease release of prostaglandins, the agents primarily responsible for pain and other symptoms associated with periods."
4. Drink more water. Because you're all bloat-y, water weight seems like the last thing you'd want to add to the mix. But while dehydration is never a good thing, it's especially hazardous during your cycle as it decreases water retention, which can make cramps all the more excruciating/make you even more bloated. So drink up!
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5. Treat your cramps with heat. You've probably heard this one before, but totally underestimated the power of a grandma's ol' hot water bottle. A study conducted by scientists from University College London found that applying heat doesn't just provide relief by coziness, but also functions like a painkiller, deactivating pain at a molecular level. Not bad, ay?
But if filling/refilling a hot water bottle sounds like too much work, try a microwavable heading pad like this *adorable* one we found on Etsy. It's filled with organic rice and buckwheat seeds, which can retain heat for up to 30 minutes.
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Liz King Designs Microwavable Heating Pad, $13.50; etsy.com.
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