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A Girl’s Ultimate Survival Guide to Period Woes

girl's guide to periods

We’re unlocking period mysteries: from cramping cures, comfort foods, and why we crave chocolate and sex so much during that time of the month.

Ah, periods—nature’s little gift to remind us that we’re still fertile and ready to go. Periods come along with cramping, cravings for both food and sex, and horrible mood swings. Men, beware! Fortunately for you—and your man—we’re out to provide the ultimate guide to dealing with your period woes.

Ladies…the crimson wave is not your enemy

Periods aren’t all bad…or so we say. Don’t believe us? Here are 3 ways you can look on the bright side and start being a little more appreciative of your monthly visitor.

#1 You get bigger boobs! Erm…temporarily, anyway! That’s right: often either while ovulating, or during your period, your fluctuating hormones cause your breasts to swell and give the appearance of a fuller cup size. Alright, alright, so you’ll lose your big titties at the end of a week’s span…but still, beats using push-up bras!

#2 You’re not pregnant! Congratulations. All of those Trojan-man commercials and rigorous alarm-setting to take your birth control pill on time paid off, because you, ma’am, are not pregnant! You’ve successfully completed another month of baby-free sex. [Read: 10 baby-free reasons why you may have missed your period]

#3 Your period may actually make you age slower. Or so Dr. Thomas Perls says. According to this U.S. longevity expert, women appear to age slower than men because of the iron loss involved in menstruation.

Now that we’ve got the alleged “Rejoice for being on the rag!” silver lining out of the way, here’s everything else you need to know about that nasty time of the month!

Cramps, cures, and why we get them

Alright, so synonymous with getting your period is getting cramps! Let’s break the “why” down as simply as possible. A baby grows inside your uterus and the lining of your uterus provides nourishment to that baby. But, if you don’t happen to have a bun in your oven, the lining of your uterus will instead shed every month. This lining will grow back the next month to prepare for a new ovary egg, and potential fertilization.

The process of shedding is done via prostaglandins—chemicals within your body that make your uterus contract and shed tissues and blood during your period *you’re welcome for the visual!* These contractions result in those beloved cramps you’ve come to know so intimately every month!

How to deal with cramping

Over the years, women have tried many different methods of easing period cramps. Cramping usually happens in the abdomen and back, though it can stretch to the legs and beyond. Thanks, Mother Nature! Some methods of curing your cramps include:

#1 Applying heat. Whether using a heating pad or sitting in a warm bath, many women find that applying heat to the lower abdomen or troubled area provides some measure of relief.

#2 Orgasm. Ding, ding, ding! We’ve found the most fun option on the list, am I right? Studies have found that having an orgasm while on your period may actually increase blood flow and send out a rush of endorphins, both of which help relieve your cramps. [Read: How to have fabulous period sex without worrying about the mess]

#3 Pain medication. Taking pain medication such as ibuprofen will target muscle aches and reduce cramping. Avoid taking medications such as aspirin, and stick to those that contain ibuprofen, or those that are specifically targeted towards muscle aching such as Advil and Motrin.

#4 Birth control. Oftentimes, when going on the pill, there are promises of bigger boobs, cleared up acne, and a reduced risk of certain cancers. While these are great claims, it’s a rarity that you’ll start taking the pill and end up with DDs. One thing that is true? When taken properly, birth control pills will definitely ease cramping. In fact, birth control pills are often prescribed for cramping alone! They do this by reducing the amount of prostaglandins produced, and therefore reduce the amount of cramps you get.

Cramping differs for every woman, ranging from mild to severe, just as the length of a woman’s period differs, usually from 3-7 days. Because of all of this variety, some of these methods may or may not work for you. Many women, however, have found that, more often than not, going on the birth control pill* will work like a charm. [Read: 10 types of birth control and what each of them do for you]

*Going on the birth control pill has many benefits, but also carries many risks. Consult your doctor before deciding whether the pill is right for you!

Best foods for your period

For whatever reason, food cravings and your period seem to go hand-in-hand. Here are some of the top contenders for must-have period foods to help you beat the menstrual blues.

#1 Water. We all know it’s important to drink about a million cups of water a day, but it’s especially true while on your period! During your period, your body is losing fluid, so it’s important to replenish it.

#2 Chocolate. No matter how many scientific studies go by, researchers can’t seem to pinpoint the exact reason why women crave chocolate while on their periods! The point is, however, that they do. While you shouldn’t be shoveling it in, dark chocolate is said to release endorphins, reduce anxiety, and improve your blood flow. Plus, it’s delicious.

#3 Foods rich in Iron. Like your fluids, your body is losing iron during your period. Iron is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body and maintaining healthy blood cells. Stay away from iron supplements, as they can stay in your body undigested and unused forever. Instead, stick to foods that are naturally rich in iron and omega 3s, like salmon, spinach, apricots, beans, and some red meats.

#4 Comfort foods. As a rule, general comfort foods are always a must when you’re feeling down, crampy, or dumped. Some fan-favorites include mashed potatoes, fudgy brownies, homemade mac and cheese, chicken noodle soup, and a giant helping of lasagna.

Having period sex

Many girls feel extra horny during both ovulation and menstruation, resulting in super powerful period orgasms. Sounds gross, but it’s totally worth it. There are all sorts of claims from women about how period sex will reduce cramping and may actually end their period earlier. That being said, other women have found that cramping is only reduced momentarily, and then comes back tenfold. Many women have also found that sex on their period may lead to a longer cycle.

Whatever the case with you, just be sure when having period sex to do the following: use a condom *easier cleanup is always a win*, have sex over a dark towel to avoid hard cleanup and nasty visuals, and stick to simple positions that won’t result in much mess. Hint: missionary is your new BFF. Doggy style is not! [Read: 30 sex positions for 30 days, including the best period sex positions]

Spoil yourself with a night in

The last thing you’re going to want to do while on your period is slip into a little black dress, tease your hair, and get your grind on the dance floor. Instead, spoil yourself with a night in with the girls, your man, or even your lovely self. Indulge in some of our referenced comfort foods and have a movie night with some of our “period go-to’s” such as: Gone Girl, 500 Days of Summer, 10 Things I Hate About You, Almost Famous, The Notebook, Titanic, The Last Kiss, Moulin Rouge, or your favorite rom-com.

[Read: How to get your guy to take care of you during your period]

There you have it: your ultimate guide to period woes and all the ways in which you can curb that nasty time of the month. From snack ideas, movie titles, and cramping cures, here’s hoping your next period is your best one ever! *Is that even possible?*

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Minot Little
Minot Little

Minot Little is a freelance writer who has been getting paid for spreading her sarcastic take on love, life, and sex since 2010. She is many things that peop...

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4 thoughts on “A Girl’s Ultimate Survival Guide to Period Woes”

  1. girl says:

    This article reminds me of the time my boyfriend helped me with my period. I didn’t know my period was coming because I was always irregular, so I leaked. To my surprise, my boyfriend brings napkins inside his bag all the time because he knew that I would need it in case I forget and I just think he is the sweetest person because of that. Has your boyfriend ever done something that made you appreciate him more and realize how lucky you are to be with him? Tell me, I want to hear from you!

  2. Fray says:

    Yep, I’m always happy with my period for the very reason that it means I’m not pregnant! Yes, I will openly admit to having unprotected sex with some of the guys I’ve been with lately, so my period is always a calming reminder that enough precautions were taken despite that and I didn’t become another statistic to accidental pregnancy. I know I should be a little more careful in the long run, but I’m enjoying my life with the way it is and will just keep it going the way it has been for the longest time. Do embrace your periods and sexuality, ladies!

  3. Natahs says:

    My friends and I call it The Walrus. It’s a code that kind just happened in high school. We would tell each other “The walrus is singing at midnight” and that let everyone that needed to know know discreetly in public. I mean, the ONLY thing more annoying than your insides suddenly deciding they hate you and are going to contact painfully until they shed a layer of themselves and rather inefficiently I might add is a ton load of Arctic mammal sitting outside your window singing at midnight, right? Of course that spawned lovely terms like “walrus harpoons” or “walrus nets” (the necessary hygiene products) and phrases like “If the walrus sang any louder yesterday”. I would bit** around all day because of what I’m feeling when my insides are all cramped up like this.

  4. endol says:

    My worst period experience ever was when I woke up in so much pain that I couldn’t climb out of bed (which was lofted) to go get painkillers. This was in my dorm years of college, but my roommate had already left for the morning. She came back a couple hours later and got me my painkillers and stuff. In that time I had tried to sleep, but the pain never really lessened. I always got terrible cramps a few days before any bleeding, so that part at least was no concern. My previous doctor had told me to just take Advil before the cramps hit, but I was so incredibly irregular that I could never predict them, and the cramps were always the first symptom. I’d been thinking of going to a new doctor (that previous one pretty much told me to suck it up) about period issues, but this really triggered me setting up an appointment for the next week at a place run by my university. I’m on the pill now and almost all of my symptoms have disappeared, and I couldn’t be happier.

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