Let’s face it, periods are NOT a fun experience. Never have been and never will be! Apart from a few pros like bigger breasts and the confirmation that you’re not pregnant, there are mainly just downsides. Two out of three women suffer from excruciating period pain every month. While most women go through only three to four days of bleeding, there are a lot of young girls who bleed for seven to eight days straight. I know, because I did, and good lord was it awful! From mood swings to acne breakouts to cramps – we have to deal with it all.
However, there is always that one month every year when the pain is even more unbearable, unnecessary, and just ridiculously intolerable. For most women, this occurs in the month of January, which is a pattern that Alisa Vitti, a nutritionist and hormone specialist, has observed over the past two decades (1). According to Vitti, there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for it all. Read on to find out!
Why It Happens
According to Vitti’s study, over the holiday season we end up overwhelming our endocrine system. This is because we tend to indulge in sugar as well as carbohydrates more than usual, and even our sleep schedule is disrupted due to family get-togethers, parties,or if some of us are travelling.
Additionally, most of us also try to finish our work-related projects before the holiday season begins, which in turn leads to a lot of pressure and stress. This, too, plays a dynamic role where one’s period is concerned. Think about it, from Diwali onwards, right till Christmas season (and not to forget all the weddings in between), we neglect our dietary habits because there is so much going on. By the end of the holiday season, you’re exhausted and tired. All of this results in the depletion of essential micronutrients that your body requires to keep your hormones in balance. In fact, if you’re on birth control pills, you have to take extra care because it already depletes your micronutrients, which could be worse for you.
So, when the New Year kicks-in, it’s harder than usual to get back on track; your body feels it too. This is why, in the month of January, your body generally responds negatively because your hormone levels are way more off-balance. This also means that your cramps will be worse, as well as your PMS – definitely not a good way to start off the new year.
How You Can Avoid This
Now, there are a quite a few ways to avoid this or at least minimize the period pain. What you must do is eat a little bit more healthily and get your diet back on track to increase your micro-nutrient levels. Eliminate saturated fats from animal products and use the unsaturated fats (such as the ones found in olive oil) (2). A few beneficial food products to eat that increase blood levels are chicken liver, beetroot, broccoli, and spinach. If you don’t enjoy eating them, you can change to beetroot or spinach juice.
Another good activity to follow is to exercise or do some yoga, building up to your period due date. Even while on your period, it is advisable to go cycling or running. You may feel extremely lethargic and in pain, but the best thing to do in this situation is to work your lower torso and leg muscles. A study first published in 2015 shows that both aerobic exercise and stretching can reduce period pain (3). And if you really cannot get out of bed, here’s something you can do while staying in it. Lie on your back and lift your legs up as high as you can, then bring your knees to your chest and hold them there for a while. Repeat this until you feel at ease and trust me it will definitely get you some relief.
Read Also: 6 tips for a better night’s sleep
So, these are a few ways in which you can eliminate this problem at home by indulging in nutritious food and with some easy activity. However, if the pain gets out of hand, you can always consult your doctor and ask for a muscle relaxer or any other pain relief medication. With a few tips from this article and some conscious effort, you can totally elude this problem. Goodluck!