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Menstrual Health: 6 Period Self Care Tips?

Ever noticed how some women can have it so bad while others manage to be as cool as a cucumber when it's their particular time of the month? Just like how our bodies are wonderfully unique, no two menstrual cycles are alike. The length of your period, how light or heavy it is, and which premenstrual symptoms come with it can be entirely different from those of others. There can even be slight variations on your own lady days. However, there's something common to all of us, and that's how we all need extra TLC during our monthly cycle, particularly during the second half. In this article, we'd like to help you discover more about what happens to your body during menstruation. We've also gathered some of the best period self care advice, so you can go through your cycle a bit more breezily.

When do you need the most care during your cycle? 

Our menstrual schedule comprises four phases: the follicular phase, ovulation, the luteal phase, and of course, menstruation. The first phase is when the body produces more estrogen and gets ready to release an egg. The actual “launch” happens in the ovulation stage, after which the mature egg travels to the fallopian tubes. There, it meets with the sperm that’s "man enough'' to fertilize it. 

In preparation for the possible pregnancy, the now abundant estrogen thickens the wall linings of the womb (or uterus) for the coming baby. Called the luteal phase, this is where progesterone levels increase to stimulate the blood vessels in the uterine lining, so they are ready to nourish the fetus. But when no sperm shows up or proves worthy of its reproductive calling, the uterus sheds its lining along with some blood in the last phase, which is your menstruation.

It's in the last two phases of the menstrual cycle that women can have a more difficult time. During the mid-luteal phase, progesterone levels fly through the roof, triggering the usual PMS symptoms of tender breasts, cramps, food cravings, and bloatedness. Then, towards the end of the stage, the progesterone drops abruptly, allowing prostaglandins to rise. These compounds trigger the muscles of the uterus to contract so your body can shed the uterine lining you no longer need, causing pain in your lower abdomen and back.  

So now that you know when you should pay more attention to yourself during your period, it's time to give you the special lovin' you need and deserve with these 6 period self care tips. Just a heads up: keep in mind that these aren’t a substitute for a visit to the doctor, especially when your PMS symptoms become severe that you can’t function normally anymore.

Best ways to self-care during your period

1. Be intentional with your cycle

Keep a journal to better manage shark week. Not only can a diary help you easily recount the start and end of your menstruation in case your ob-gyn asks you, but it can help you be more prepared to handle your mood swings, bodily aches and pains, and other PMS symptoms. When you know your schedule, you can readily set up your feminine hygiene kit and other paraphernalia to get yourself comfortable and confident when the red tide comes in. You can also work your social calendar so that it's lightest during your heaviest-flow days.

2. Eat right to look and feel right

Eat your way to physical and emotional health. Munch on leafy green veggies like kale, Swiss chard, and microgreens turnip rich in vitamins A, E, K, and the B vitamins. Vitamin A and K help regulate blood clotting, so your menstrual bleeding is at normal levels. Taking vitamin E a week before and after your period can likewise help reduce menstrual cramps. On the other hand, the B vitamins can go a long way in alleviating anxiety, especially when taken with magnesium.

But you don't have to give up on your favorite steaks when you're menstruating. Just make sure that you ditch the grease and fat and get lean meats instead. A high-protein meal that’s rich in iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 can fill you up, curbing your cravings. 

3. Drink up (water, that is!)! 

"Dehydrated" can be a good look for a prune, but not for you. The hormonal fluctuations during your period can affect your fluid levels. Drinking more water during your monthly cycle may seem counterintuitive, but it can actually help you minimize bloating. Dehydration can cause constipation, which can get you looking and feeling like a pufferfish. Increased water intake may also help relieve dysmenorrhea. In addition, drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day can help your body flush out toxins, so you can feel and look youthful from the inside out! 

4. Stay active but keep it chill

Exercising is a great way to boost your health. But taking it to the extreme can be risky, especially during your menstrual cycle, when your body is at its most vulnerable. Overexercising may cause women to lose their period, which can disrupt the regularity of their menstrual schedule. So back off on the intensity, and instead, do gentler workouts like walking and yoga, which help improve blood flow, relieve tension, and release endorphins, which are natural painkillers.

5. Raise the temp with heating pads and hot baths

Bring on the heat when the crimson tide is up! And by that, we mean heating pads that can relieve menstrual pain. Although there are relatively few studies on heat therapy, findings show that thermal pads can help ease primary dysmenorrhea. 

If heating pads aren't your thing, why not soak away your menstrual blues (er… reds?) by indulging in a hot bath, which can relax your muscles (uterine and all). The heat can also stimulate blood circulation, further easing period pain.

6. Get some R & R  

When the going gets tough, the tough give themselves some serious self-love. Instead of looking at menstruation as the thing that can't be named, your period can, in fact, be your very best friend, reminding you that you need to take a breather and slow down. Going for a much-needed R & R can relax your body and mind, relieving stress that can worsen your menstrual aches and pains. So go ahead and kick your feet up, watch your favorite chick flick, or pamper yourself with a day at the spa!

Stay calm and collected as you go about your period self care activities in Ruby Love period apparel, such as our Ruby Love Brief Period Underwear that offers leak-proof coverage without a tampon or additional protection required, or our Ruby Love Activewear Bodysuits and Leggings, with Dri-Tech Mesh technology that stops leaks from all angles. Bring your period self care to a whole new level today with Ruby Love.
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