Most girls and women find that having their period does not have to mean that ordinary life has to stop. They can still carry on with normal activities, including sports, swimming, and dancing. However, slowing down a bit at this time can also be a lovely thing, especially if your life is usually lived at quite a pace. Women who experience premenstrual tension or cramping get stronger messages from their bodies that they need to take special care at this time of the month.
Premenstrual syndrome PMS (or premenstrual tension PMT) are the symptoms that some women experience just before they start bleeding each month. These include pimples, breast tenderness, bloating, weight gain, headaches, tiredness, irritability, mood swings, heightened emotions, and clumsiness. Many women do not experience any of these, or only mildly, so do not imagine that you are destined to become a swollen, angry, spotty thing every month.
Many women find that they feel things more acutely and see things more clearly around this time and it benefits them to ease off a little and take time for reflection. In some cultures, and in times gone by, there is an expectation for women to slow down around the time of their monthly bleed, whilst other women step in and share the load. Doing this can also reduce uncomfortable premenstrual symptoms.
If you are bothered by PMS symptoms, there are many things you can do to ease them:
Tired? Sleep and rest more. Avoid stimulants like tea, coffee, chocolate, and sugar – they’ll lift you temporarily and then drop you down with a thump.
Irritable? Take time alone. Then you’ll not have the worry of saying something you regret and it can be a good time to listen to music, read, write, draw, paint or create.
Breast tenderness? Take evening primrose oil and cut back on salt.
Pimples, bloating, over-eating, headaches, mood swings? Take greater care over what you eat for a bit: more fruit and vegetables, organic if possible, plenty of water, good proteins, whole grains, cut out fried things, red meat, processed foods, white bread, and fizzy drinks. Tedious perhaps, but just see how much better you feel.
Cramping is not experienced by all women, or at every period, or that strongly for many. It is caused by the contractions that expel the lining of the uterus (so a sneak preview of how labour pains might feel, only very much weaker). You may feel like reaching for the painkillers at the first sign of pain, but there are many other things that you can do to ease your discomfort naturally.
Cramping can be nature’s way of saying, “Slow down and take care of yourself.”
- Rather than pushing yourself to carry on, snuggling on the sofa with a hot water bottle on your belly and a good book can be wonderfully restorative.
- Breath gently into your belly and imagine breathing the pain out at every out-breath.
- Take a warm bath with lavender oil
- Exercise, even if at first it feels like the last thing you fancy, as it can ease cramping by increasing the blood flow to your uterus. A walk, yoga, even tidying your room can help.
- Massage your ankles and feet and belly gently.
- If none of this works then consider seeking help from a naturopath, homeopath, osteopath, acupuncturist, or herbalist.
How magical to bleed and for it to indicate the ability to procreate a new life
rather than it be an indicator of injury, disease or death.