Kiss good-bye to some of your favourite things for a week or so. Tampon and sanitary pad adverts would have us believe that having a period is like running along the beach in tennis whites before going to DJ at a festival or something. The reality is somewhat more miserable. Not for every woman, but for a large amount. Nausea, vomiting, headaches, backaches, diarrhoea, severe cramps and, of course, PMT often go hand-in-hand with periods.
Those days spent menstruating differ A LOT to every other, menstruation-free day, and there are certain things we should really avoid doing during this time.
1. Don’t eat these (delicious) foods.
This one makes us really sad. Sometimes the only beacon of light during that time of the month is the thought of an entire block of cheese, or any calorie-laden food for that matter. But we need to stop reaching for cheesecake in our time of need.
Dr. Angela Jones, OBGYN tells Bustle , that many salty comfort foods not only dehydrate the body (which makes cramps worse) but also “contribute to the bloating/water retention that women feel around the time of their periods.”
Dairy is not much better either. Dr. Jones asks: “Ever notice how much more gassy you are around the time of your period? Most of this is hormonal. Add dairy on top of that, and it’s like adding salt to the wound.”
2. Don’t have unprotected sex.
Unless, of course, you want to get pregnant. If you’re not trying to, however, you need to forget the old myth that a woman can’t conceive while on her period, Mamamia reports. Also, because a woman’s cervix is partially open during their period, viruses, infections and other bugs are able to not just enter the vagina, but also travel to the cervix and pelvis.
3. Don’t touch cigarettes and coffee.
Yes, periods are here to spoil all your fun (apart from the smoking, which is obviously not ideal). Coffee, as it turns out, restricts the blood vessels in the body which can make cramps worse. Smoking, according to a 2014 study from the University of Queensland , shows the period pain experienced by smokers is more “painful and drawn-out” each month.
4. Don’t get a wax or breast examination.
Rejoice, you can take a hiatus from painful waxing while on your period, because of your skin’s heightened sensitivity (meaning you feel pain more). The change in hormone levels which occurs while menstruating also means this is a more painful and inaccurate time to have either a breast examination or mammogram.
5. And don’t douche.
Khloe Kardashian may have revealed her own extensive guide to pubic grooming and feminine hygiene, but not everyone was on board with it. For those very reasons, medical professionals recommend NOT disrupting all that bacteria during such a sensitive time.