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11 ways you're making your period worse

Posted July 21

It’s that time of the month again. Aunt Flo is paying her monthly visit and you are dreading every second of it.

You already feel the 5 pounds of water weight coming on, your cravings for chocolate has kicked in at full speed and you are ready to bawl your eyes out while watching a Hallmark movie.

We avoid calling our period by name and we feel uncomfortable even talking about it to other females. Why? It’s a natural part of life, yet we are too ashamed and, to be honest, a bit grossed out by it.

So let’s break taboo and talk about it. Your period is bad enough, why would you want to make it worse?

Here is a list of things you might be doing that make your period worse than it has to be.

Skip the pill ... a few times

Birth control pills, if taken correctly, pump your body with a specific amount of hormones to help prevent pregnancy.

When doses are skipped, you are breaking up the hormone balance needed to keep a your body in a natural cycle. This imbalance heightens the symptoms of PMS, including weight gain, cramps, emotional mood-swings and anxiety.

Alcohol

While you are on your period, avoid any intake of alcoholic beverages. Scientists from the University of Maryland found that drinking too much alcohol actually worsens PMS symptoms and increases the severity of a woman’s cramps.

Not working out enough

Getting up and moving your body is the last thing you are dying to do when it feels like you have knives in your stomach, but researchers suggest it is just the thing to do. Dr. Sheryl A. Ross suggests regular exercise 4-6 times a week for at least 30 minutes will help reduce the effects of PMS.

… Or working out too much

Get up and move, but do not over do it. Find the balance between killing yourself and helping yourself. Rigorous and physically exhaustive exercise can stress your body out and increase the hormonal imbalance already occurring in your body at that time of the month.

Stress

We have all wanted to pull our hair out and scream at the top of our lungs every time we ride the crimson wave. The stress you experience not only messes with your emotions but is actually messing with your period as well.

When your body is stressed it releases the hormone cortisol, the fight or flight response. Cortisol decreases your body’s immunity to common infections, increases abdominal fat deposition and breaks down your muscle, bone and connective tissue. These side effects cause PMS symptoms to heighten and increase in intensity.

Feeding your coffee addiction

Ever wondered why you feel extremely bloated while on your period? Research suggests the water retention experienced during PMS could be linked to a magnesium deficiency. Coffee, and multiple other factors, have been linked to cause this deficiency as well.

Even if coffee is the only thing that can get you out of bed during that time of the month, monitor your intake so you are not making your symptoms more severe.

Traveling

Can’t stand being in the same place all the time? Your passion for traveling across multiple time zones could be affecting your period. As you venture far from home, the sudden change throws off your sleep schedule and hormones. This change also affects your period and its timing.

You’re craving of salt

Dr. Linda Bradley from the Cleveland Medical Clinic suggests that individuals who experience symptoms such as bloating, breast tenderness and swollen hands should reduce their intake of processed foods and sodium to help reduce the built up retention.

Not a normal sleep schedule

We have all been advised to get eight hours of sleep every night, but how many of us actually succeed? I know it is a tough task to accomplish, but the benefits of a full night's sleep may surprise you.

If the body does not receive enough deep sleep, the disruptions and lack of rest can cause hormonal imbalances, delay ovulation and cause irregular or absent periods.

Eat bananas

Looking for a way to help deflate bloating and reduce the striking pain of cramps? Eat bananas. These super fruits are rich with vitamin B6 and potassium.

Track your cycle

We can talk about all the things you are doing that make your period and PMS symptoms, but the best thing you can do is track your period and mentally prepare. Taking the time to plan ahead will save you a load of trouble later on.

Hannah Rose is a story-telling enthusiast that finds joy in sharing insights and human experience. Connecting the world through written verse is a passion that drives her to pursue her journalistic endeavors.

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