Managing your period

Managing your period

We've all been there, questioning our menstrual cycle, wondering what's going on with our bodies, and comparing our cycle to our friends and family. Hopefully this blog will help clarify some things. Let's start with: 'What is a normal menstrual cycle?'

What is a normal cycle?

The menstrual cycle is defined as the time between the end of our last period and the start of our next. So it doesn't include the days we experience bleeding!
We don’t like to use “normal” as everyone is a little different! Some people have a 21 day cycle, others might last up to 40 days.
The average menstrual cycle usually lasts about 28 days.
In terms of our period, we can bleed anywhere from 2 to 7 days, and lose about 50 to 60 millilitres of blood (although it can feel like a lot more).

Why do some people have irregular periods?

The medical term for consistent irregular periods is oligomenorrhea.
Having a cycle with less than 21 days between periods or having more than 40 days, is defined as a menstrual irregularity. Often it’s nothing to worry about (especially if you’ve been having your period for less than 2 years, or recently had a baby) but it can make managing your period challenging when it’s hard to predict.
It is often difficult to determine what causes irregular periods, although a hormonal imbalance is usually a factor. Hormone fluctuations are to be expected during puberty and menopause.
Other factors, like health conditions, stress, depression, some methods of birth control, unexpected weight loss (or gain), intestinal problems, and over exercising, can also affect the menstrual cycle.

How can we manage irregular periods?

Irregular cycles are generally not treated, usually they last for a short period of time and resolve themselves over time. If your period starts to interfere with your daily activities due to their irregularity, often birth control is prescribed to help regulate them. 
Some people may find birth control comes with its own unpleasant side effects, and may prefer to choose a more natural approach.

1. Consider your diet

It may sound basic, but it's very important. Consuming the right foods can greatly impact your health, as well as your hormone production.
Learn to love good fats - For hormone production, healthy fats are essential. They can be found in avocados, salmon, cold-pressed oils, and unsalted nuts and seeds. 
Try to eat more fruits and vegetables - Some fruits and veggies are known to be beneficial for regulating menstruation: figs have been shown to help regulate hormones and beetroot is a rich source of folic acids and iron, and can help to boost haemoglobin levels in the blood.

2. Find exercises that work for you

Exercise in general is great for both mental and physical health.
During our period, it can be challenging to find the motivation to workout. Gentle activity like swimming and yoga are great ways to get moving as they don't focus on resistance.
Child's Pose, Pigeon Pose, Cat-Cow Pose, or Reclining Twist, are helpful poses to practise while on your period. They relieve lower back and abdominal discomfort from cramps. You can watch the video below for a great practise:
3. Consider taking supplements 
Fem Rebalance is a supplement designed for those who experience hormone imbalance, it helps to reset hormone levels and supports hormone production. This high-quality product has been developed by Dr. Tori Hudson who has specialised in women’s health for over 25 years.
Another supplement you could try is Magnesium. It helps to relax muscles and may reduce the pain from cramps. If you're looking for the right magnesium that relieves period pain cramps, make sure it contains either glycinate or bisglycinate.

Here are three sustainable products that could help you manage your period:

Menstrual cups 
Menstrual cups are both eco-friendly and budget-friendly (in the long-term), but there are plenty of other reasons to opt for them:
The risk of toxic shock syndrome is greatly reduced, this has been linked to the fact that menstrual cups only collect period blood, rather than tampons which absorb everything.
You can insert the cup as soon as you notice the early signs of your periods. When it is inserted properly you shouldn't feel it, and it creates a seal making it safe for swimming.
It is recommended that you empty and clean your menstrual cup at least once every twelve hours, and it's a great option for sleeping in.
Frances has personal experience using DivaCup and AllMatters (formerly OrganiCup), and Lee will be trying out Nixit very soon!
Organic tampons
We prefer spending a little extra on organic tampons, because they're better for both the environment and our bodies. Look for tampons that are made from organically grown cotton, free from chemicals and fragrances, hypoallergenic, and gynaecologically tested. There’s a few brands out there such as Veeda, Callaly, and DAME
Period underwear
If you’re not keen on tampons or other insertables, a great alternative is period underwear. Underpant designed to absorb and hold blood just like a pad. There are different pants for different days of your period to help manage the heaviest flow and lighter days. 
Modibodi is a well known brand of period pants, they have a range of feminine and masculine styles to suit your preference!
If you need help finding the right products to support your menstrual cycle, please feel free to contact us. Our team of practitioners will be happy to help.

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