After months and years on end of enduring our periods, many of us feel as though we have it all figured out when it comes to doing what we need to do to get through it all. We have heard the medical advice, talked to our friends and generally feel like we have a handle on it (as much as we possibly can.) But, aside from the big medical things, there are actually five common habits most of us are guilty of that our gynecologists wish we would simply adjust.
WAITING TOO LONG TO TAKE YOUR PAIN MEDS
Yeah, we’re all strong women and sometimes it feels like we can just tough through the cramps, only to be sent running for the Ibuprofen when they reach a painful fever pitch. Gynecologists wish we would cut the tough act and be smart and proactive versus reactionary. If we know we are prone to painful cramps, doctors advise we take pains meds right at the start of our period so they can kick in and work at slowing the production of substances that cause the pain, thereby preventing that hurt from even beginning.
LEAVING IN SANITARY PRODUCTS TOO LONG
We’ve all heard the horrors stories of toxic shock syndrome from tampons left in too long. They should be replaced after 8 hours at the most (4 – 6 recommended), but, what with sleeping and busy days, most women tend to leave them in for 12 hours. Even menstrual cups should be changed every 12 hours and pads every 3 – 4 hours. One way to cut out that worry? Using leak-proof underwear from PantyProp, which will set your physician’s mind at ease about harmful chemicals.
NOT USING PROTECTION
Having sex while on your period is totally OK, but just because you are menstruating, doesn’t mean you are safe to forgo protection. While there is always the risk of a sexually transmitted disease, some studies have actually shown an increased risk at this time. Also, just because you are on your period, doesn’t mean you are 100% safe from pregnancy. It is possible to get pregnant even while menstruating, so if you are not trying for a baby, your safest bet is to always use protection.
EATING TOO MUCH SODIUM
Some of us crave sweets and some of us crave salty foods and, traditionally, we think of our period as a time to indulge and practice a little ‘treat yo self’ to get through it. However, as this is the time that many women will experience bloating already due to water retention, eating too much sodium only makes it worse. Since salt dehydrates the body, your body then fights back by stocking up on hydration, leading to increased bloating. It’s a vicious circle.
When you are on your period and feeling more and more sluggish and struggling to get through the day, it is almost inevitable that you turn to caffeine to help out. But gynecologists warn that it can actually increase breast tenderness as well as block GABA, a neurotransmitter in the brain, which leads to a heightened heart rate and high levels of anxiety.