Menstruation can make for a terrible week with its intense cramps, mood swings, nausea, strange cravings and awful bloating. We, women, manage to pull through, however, it is not necessary to go through uncomfortable and painful menses every month. All you need to know are these dos and don’ts: from sanitary pads, tampons to menstrual cups, each woman should choose a product that provides her maximum comfort. However, absolute menstrual hygiene is necessary, otherwise it could lead to rashes, infections or even toxic shock syndrome.
Yoga plays a significant role in regulating your monthly cycle and also alleviating the pain to a large extent.
“According to Ayurveda, a poor diet and inefficient digestion are the main causes of menstrual disorders. Yoga postures like Janu Sirsasana, Balasana, Dandasana, and Paschimottanasana are good for the body and mind during periods. Avoid performing Shirshasana, Sarvangasana, Dhanurasana, Halasana, Karnapeedasana, and Bakasana as they can cause increased bleeding and vascular congestion.”Nalbari-based yoga expert Pranami
No matter how wrapped up you get during your workday, make regular changes a priority.
“Change your pad or tampon every three to four hours (even more frequently if your flow is heavy) or else, you’re increasing your chance of infection in the sensitive area. If you’re using a cup, wash it with warm water every time before and after use.”Dr Preetam Chetia
Dietician Bandana Chaudhury says one shouldn’t always indulge cravings.
“You might feel like it’s okay to give in during your period and binge on chips and chocolate but make sure you set a limit. Salt and sugar-rich foods may taste good but will only add to bloating and severity of period symptoms. Indulge just a bit but not for every craving. I suggest drinking plenty of water and consume fruits, green vegetables, nuts, chicken, fish, quinoa, lentils, yoghurt. Occasionally sip on some ginger tea or a turmeric latte.”Dietician Bandana Chaudhury
Dr Geeta K suggests tracking the cycle for better and healthier menstruation.
“Whether you use a manual method or an app, tracking your cycle is useful. One of the easiest ways to keep on top of your menstrual health is by keeping an eye on what’s going on. First of all, knowing when your period is coming will help you avoid surprise leaks. Making a note of ovulation days, any irregularities in symptoms, consistency, or colour will also help inform you if something’s off down there, and if you need to hit up your gynaecologist,” she says.Dr Geeta K
About period sex, Dr Geeta informs that sex while menstruating can adjust hormonal levels and uplift one’s mood while orgasms can reduce the painfulness of cramps.
“If you engage in period sex, make sure you take an extra sec to stay safe and healthy. There’s a chance you’ll be more susceptible to infections, but it’s nothing proper protection and clean-up can’t prevent. So use protection. Also, don’t forget to urinate and clean the area afterwards.”Dr Geeta K
As we talk about physical hygiene during periods, we have to discuss the emotional symptoms that accompany the hormonal changes; some of which may have a direct impact on one’s mental health. But why do changes in mental health happen?
“Well, there are two primary female sex hormones that affect the parts of our brains, which influence mood and behaviour: progesterone and estrogen. Progesterone rises after ovulation, right before your period begins, and with this, sometimes so do depressive feelings. Although researchers can’t say for sure what exactly causes PMS, we do know these changing hormones affect some people more than others. Emotional symptoms include: feeling sad, depressed, anxious or irritable, mood swings, not wanting to socialize, trouble concentrating, trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. It is important to get plenty of rest, nourish your body with healthy food, a bit of physical activity, and indulge in self-care – consider giving yourself a massage, taking a relaxing bath or listening to a happy playlist – anything that will make you feel more relaxed and content.”Psychologist Nandana Barua