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Common mistakes you can avoid on your period

Unknowingly or not, some common, repetitive mistakes might be the reason for crampy periods and crazy mood swings. Little habits that we often overlook can either make or break your flow experience. Here are some of them.

1. Cleaning too much down there:

Periods smell natural. But a lot of us believe you can cover them up with powder, soap, or whatever wipe you might find. However, using these fragrant items can irritate your vaginal region. When it comes to your vagina on your period, leave it alone. Keep your vaginal flora healthy and blooming by cleansing the vulva with water only. Avoid fragrant soaps, shower gels, and most importantly, douching. Use natural-ingredient soaps on the outer part to stay fresh.

2. Waiting till the last minute to deal with pain:

The next time you feel your cramps just starting to knock on your lower abdomen, make your way to the medicine cabinet. Health professionals recommend taking an ibuprofen every 6 hours to keep your pain mild and avoid horrendous cramps. If you know you’re going to end up rolling in a ball and weeping with pain, its best to take measures beforehand.

3. Falling for “fem” hygiene products:

Avoid products that falsely claim to be "pH-balanced vagina" or "long-lasting vaginal moisturizer," as they can easily throw off your vagina's natural acidity and kill off healthy bacteria. These highly end up causing yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. Just stick by unscented products that soak up your blood, and you’re good to go.

4. Using pads/tampons made of rayon or bleached cotton:

Pesticides, bleaching residue, adhesives, and dioxin, a known fertility disruptor, can all be present in traditional pads and tampons. Long-term exposure to these barely visible chemical residues has the potential to be highly harmful. Instead, use organic, unbleached tampons and pads. Reusable organic cotton pads/period underwear and menstrual cups made of medical-grade silicone are also healthy and successful choices.

5. Ignoring iron:

Menstruators lose anywhere from five to twelve teaspoons of blood per cycle, depending on how strong their flow is. Your iron supply decreases when you lose iron-rich blood(iron helps carry oxygen throughout your body, which gives your body the energy it requires to function). An iron-rich diet is essential during this time, including oysters, red meat, dried apricots, etc.

6. Skipping exercise:

When you're curled up in bed, puffy and exhausted, exercise might be the last thing on your mind, but research shows that it may be the solution to your menstruation problems. Any workout or activity that helps you sweat it out will make you feel better.

7. Avoiding condoms:

Period sex is completely fine. But if you’re not on the pill, condoms are a must to protect yourself from pregnancy, STDs, and pelvic inflammation. Condoms keep sex safe and your reproductive tract healthy.

8. Giving in to junk food/ skipping meals:

Salty snacks, such as potato chips, will aggravate your bloating issues. You hold more water if you eat a lot of salt. Reduce the consumption of salty foods during your cycle so that it isn't contributing to your bloating.

9. Not changing pads/cups/tampons enough:

Checking every few hours for leakage is necessary. Check cups every 6-8 hours, pads every 2-4 hours, and tampons every 3-4 hours to avoid toxic shock syndrome.

10. Letting the mood swings take over:

PMS often takes over your emotions. If you give in to that emotional rollercoaster (especially the negative ones), you'll be miserable for the rest of the week. Instead, try to find ways to relieve PMS symptoms by doing things that make you happy, such as listening to music, going for a light jog, or watching your favorite Netflix movie.

11. Not hydrating:

Drink enough water. Hormonal variations of estrogen and progesterone levels occur while you're on your cycle. Your body absorbs more water and slows down its digestion as estrogen and progesterone levels ebb and flow during your menstrual cycle, causing constipation, gas, and bloating. This dilemma, however, has a simple solution: water.Keeping hydrated during your cycle will help you avoid bloating and flush waste from your system. Bloating can also be avoided by consuming lean proteins, nuts, fruits, beans, and green leafy vegetables like spinach.

12. Nottracking your period and the color of it:

Your menstrual cycle is a useful indicator of your overall health. Tracking it is essential to identify diseases and signs of irregular periods. Also, checking your period colour is important because the colour of your blood says a lot about your health.

13. Falling into the sleep-coffee trap:

With the cramping, restlessness, and hormone-induced insomnia, it's difficult to get enough sleep, but sleep is particularly necessary when you're on your cycle. The body gets tired and inflamed if it does not get enough sleep, thus worsening cramps. With the lack of sleep, tiredness, and headaches, reaching for a cup of coffee seems like a good idea. Caffeine, on the other hand, can dehydrate you and exacerbate many of your symptoms, especially the headache. Periods call for reducing coffee intake, which relieves stress, insomnia, and anxiety. Many physicians often suggest restricting caffeine consumption during the month to reduce breast pain in the days leading up to your cycle.

Beware of these mistakes and watch your period experience get considerably better!

Written by Nibha Patil

Artwork by Khyati Patkar

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