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A Girl’s Ultimate Survival Guide to Period Woes

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.

girl's guide to periods

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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Natasha Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic is an intimacy, dating, and relationship writer, and the creator and author of her short stories on TheLonelySerb. She completed her first degr...
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