It’s that time of month again, and your hormones are out of control. You’re feeling crappy, crampy, and just downright disgusting. Trust us, we can relate. That’s why we hit up the experts to get the lowdown on how to make your period a more pleasant experience. Listen up, ladies!
1. Drink Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
If you want to decrease heavy bleeding and regulate your menstrual cycle, Nicole Jardim, founder of The Healthy Elements and a women’s holistic health coach, recommends drinking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea. “Most of the benefits that are attributed to Red Raspberry Leaf Tea are traced to the nourishing source of vitamins and minerals found in the plant and to fragrine, an alkaloid which gives tone to muscles of the pelvic region and the uterus itself,” notes Nicole.
2. Buy a Relaxation Pillow
Dr. Frank Lipman says it’s important to use a relaxation pillow not only to get a proper night's sleep, but also because it offers relief and contours to your neck and shoulders to help relieve pain and tension in those areas, especially around “that time of the month. This pillow is filled with flax seeds and can be chilled or heated to deliver an extra dose of muscle soothing therapy before you turn in for the night so you aren’t uncomfortable sleeping.”
3. Try Evening Primrose Oil and Coconut Oil Supplements
Have horrible cramps? Rachel Grossman, Director of Communications for Somme Institute, swears by Evening Primrose Oil and Coconut Oil supplements. “I take them all month long, but even if I can’t, I take them the week before and during my period,” she says. “They help with cramps and PMS tremendously. There have even been some months where I haven’t had a single cramp!”
4. Eat the Right Foods
Okay, so we know you typically crave a ton of junk when it’s that time of the month, but turns out, consuming foods high in sugar, salt, and fat will only make your period symptoms worse (think bloating!), warns Dr. David Adler of Comprehensive OB-GYN of the Palm Beaches. Instead, try eating complex carbs like oatmeal and whole grains, which can help you with your monthly period. Foods high in vitamin A, C, and B6 are also great, he says.
5. Pamper Yourself
You’ll be on your period for almost two months each year, so it’s up to you to turn the experience from rags to riches, notes Nancy Redd, author of New York Times best-seller Body Drama and U by Kotex spokesperson. “Try using period products that you don’t mind toting around, like the fun, colorful U by Kotex tampons. Store your products and medicine for cramps in a fancy tin or pouch to make them look more like treats and pamper yourself with luxurious lotions and soothing scents.” If you can’t afford to splurge, Nancy recommends asking for a few samples of sweet-smelling stuff the next time you’re in a store.
6. Use Pads Instead of Tampons
I know this might suck more than it’s worth, but I’ve been told by many women that using pads instead of tampons has reduced their cramps, or even eliminated them altogether, notes Jardim. “I was so intrigued I tried it myself,” she says, “and haven’t used tampons for the past 5 months because it seriously works. It could be that the tampons block your flow, which makes your muscles work/cramp harder.”
7. Practice Yoga
A little concentrated yoga goes a long way to moderate and help with PMS symptoms, says ultimate wellness, yoga expert and star of Veria Living’s new yoga show, Rock Your Yoga, Sadie Nardini. “First, take a hot bath to relax your muscles. Then, do some belly massaging yoga postures (cobra to child pose, bow pose, and rock back and forth on your belly,” advises Sadie. “End your session with a belly roll—roll up a dish towel, and put it deep in your low belly (above your pubic bone and below your navel). Lie on the balled up towel, and rock your hips from side to side to give yourself a deep pelvic massage. This will massage your uterus, which is the muscle that causes cramping.”
8. Increase Liver Supportive Foods
Tired of dealing with pimples when you’re on your period? “Estrogen is metabolized and detoxified in the liver, so if it’s not functioning optimally it can build up, leading to cystic acne,” notes licensed naturopathic doctor Ivy Branin, ND. To prevent this, she recommends increasing liver supportive foods, such as beets, cruciferous vegetables (kale, cabbage, broccoli, etc.), carrots, artichoke, and garlic.