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7 effective ways to handle period pain

Period pain sucks, period. Nobody wants it, and yet a ton of us are reduced to grumbling messes 12 or so times a year. If you’re one of the lucky few whose periods pass them by without so much as a flutter, we envy you. Big time! But if you don’t count yourself in the clan of painless-menstruators, read on!

1. Heat it up

Heat is a menstrual cycle’s best friend! Seriously. Whether you’re pressing a period heat pad, a hot water bottle, or a microwavable bean bag to your abdomen, heat is scientifically proven to provide period pain relief, even if it’s temporary. You can also buy heat patches from the pharmacy or shops, which can last up to a couple hours.

2. Move your body

Exercise is proven to provide period pain relief. On light flow days, try yoga or pilates, or go for a walk. If you’re up for it, more cardio-intensive workouts, such as gym, swimming, or a run, work well as a period pain treatment as well.

3. Pop a pill

Anti inflammatories and painkillers can help ease period pain. Not a fan of taking medicine? Sometimes we think that menstrual pain and discomfort is something we should just put up with. But nobody needs to live in pain, especially when the pain is something as treatable as period symptoms. Remember to always speak to your healthcare professional or pharmacist before taking medication, and never to take a friend or relative’s over the counter medication.

4. Try An Epsom Salts Bath

4. Try an Epsom salts bath

If there aren’t water restrictions in your area, try taking an Epsom salts bath. Hot water alone will soothe your cramps, while Epsom salts, which are cheap and readily available from your pharmacy or local shop, contain magnesium, which can alleviate cramping.

5. Lower your intake of salt and caffeine

We know, we know. You were planning to eat pizza tonight, weren’t you? While you don’t have to completely eliminate cappuccinos from your day, it is a good idea to drink less coffee when you’re in your menstrual cycle, and cut back on your sodium as well. Both sodium and caffeine can cause dehydration, especially if you’re not drinking enough water during the day, which can make your period pain worse.

6. Have sex

The oxytocin released during sexual intercourse can help provide period pain relief. And yup, you’re not the only one who is more aroused during their period. And if you and your partner are comfortable with period sex, and it helps your menstrual pain, then why the heck not? Remember to make it safe sex, though. Always.

7. Seek treatment for extremely painful periods

There is a huge difference between a light cramping and dysmenorrhea, which is the medical term used to describe severe period pain. So if a hot water bottle and ibuprofen just don’t cut it when you’re on your period, it might be an idea to chat to your doctor or healthcare professional. If the pain is debilitating enough to disrupt your day, prevent you from working or cause you to experience vomiting or fever, dysmenorrhea may be being caused by an underlying health condition, and should be thoroughly investigated by a healthcare professional.

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Frequently Asked Question: Periods

Can I have sex when I'm on my period?

Yes you can. In rare instances, you can still get pregnant. You should also bear in mind that you can still catch a sexually transmitted disease when on your period

Will I smell when I’m on my period?

You might notice a slight odour when you're on your period. Tampons can help with this because they're worn inside your body. If you prefer to use pads, make sure to change them regularly if you notice a strong odour.

How will the contraceptive pill affect my periods?

Some brands of contraceptive pills can reduce your flow or shorten the length of your period. Your doctor or nurse will discuss this with you during your consultation.

My periods are really heavy, which products should I use?

You’ve got a few options available. Lil-lets Super Plus tampons have the highest absorbency in our range and are great for heavy periods. If you prefer to use an applicator tampon, our super tampons are a really good choice for medium to heavy flow. If you use pads, we suggest using our Night Maxi Pad, which is the highest absorbency pad within our range

What can I do to relieve my period pain?

Although you may not feel like doing it at the time, stretching or gentle exercise will ease this discomfort. Healthy eating is also known to help relieve any period pain. Alternatively, treat yourself to a relaxing bath or cuddle up on the sofa with a hot water bottle. If none of these help, your local pharmacy can give you guidance on suitable pain relief.

How long does a period last?

This can vary from 2 to 5 days and could be up to 10.

Is it okay to have a bath or shower when I have my period?

Yes, it's important to keep yourself clean during your period and hot water can help soothe cramps too!

What do you find is the most effective way to deal with menstrual cramps?

Menstrual cramps vary from menstruator to menstruator. For some, period cramps are little to no pain, whereas for others, it can be a truly excruciating experience. Thus dealing with period cramps can vary. We recommend exploring to opt for home treatments instead of relying heavily on over-the-counter medicine. These two options can assist with cramps:

• Getting regular exercise can help with blood flow and may reduce cramping.
• Put a heating pad or a hot water bottle on your belly, or taking a warm bath. The heat improves blood flow and may ease the pain.

However, if pain does persist, it is recommended to chat to your doctor or gynae

Can I wash my hair during my period?

You totally can! We've often been fed a lot of misinformation. That's not the case - you can take care of yourself (including washing your hair, why not throw in a face mask?), exercise if you're up to it, be around your loved ones and work as normal. Besides the pain and discomfort which accompanies some people's periods, you can continue on as normal.

Is it okay to swim when you're on your period?

Swimming during your period isn't a problem. However, you will want to use a tampon when swimming so you don't bleed on your swimsuit. Pads won't work and will just fill with water. The tampon won't fall out if it is inserted correctly. Go and make a splash!

Have more questions on periods?

Got a question you’ve been too embarrassed to ask? Wondering if what you are experiencing every month is normal?

Join our Lil-Lets Talk community for empowering conversations for people with periods.

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