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If living with a disability that has constant challenges was not enough I also have to deal with normal things that everyone experiences and for women that means getting your period. Periods are not fun and it’s basically just a week of bloating and cramps but its something that every woman goes through and can relate to on some level. If it was up to me disabled and chronically folks would have a pass on this because the last thing we need is more pain but unfortunately that is not how it works and we will get them just for being a woman and your body doesn’t care how many challenges you already deal with. When it’s that time of the month many disabled people have more challenges than if you were abled people because it affects our entire disability and there is more to managing it than just taking a few Tylenol to control a cramps. I have a long period but I am lucky that I don’t have bad cramps for long and it’s usually just that first day that I have horrible pain. This week I got my period so I thought now would be a perfect time to talk about how I get relief during that time of the month.
Do some light yoga- There is a lot of different opinions on whether or not you should or should not workout on your period. I don’t think the answer is the same for everyone because some people with heavier periods may have more cramps and shouldn’t work out on their period while others get it very light and there is no reason to stop. Listen to your body and don’t stress over workouts the week of your period because you are the only one that knows if it’s safe or if you should rest. I don’t reguarly do yoga and I am more of a pilates kind of girl because it is more accessible for my disability but during my period I have found light yoga helpful. There are yoga workouts that are specifically designed for women on their period which is a great option if you can’t do a lot of exercise during that time or are in a lot of pain and need relief. I don’t generally need to stop weightlifting the week of my period because my cramps aren’t that severe and my workouts are pretty much the same but sometimes I do yoga as an addition to what I already am doing.
Try peppermint oil- There are so many uses to peppermint oil and it’s not just for headaches but it can also be used when you have a stomach ache or if you are on your period. Whenever I eat something that I probably shouldn’t have and get a really bad stomach ache from it or am on my period I put peppermint oil on my lower abdomen and get relief within an hour. Peppermint oil is not a cure and you will probably still have cramps if you use peppermint oil but it can lessen the pain so it isn’t as bad. If you are going to put essential oils directly on your skin please make sure it’s safe to put on your skin because not all of them are and never should you put peppermint oil in water and drink it. Peppermint oil has a lot of health benefits when used correctly but you should never drink it because it’s not meant to be used as a beverage and can be very toxic for your body.
Eat some chocolate- Chocolate or any kind of sweets will not get rid of your cramps so don’t go eating your weight in chocolate thinking it’s going to make your pain disappear because it can make your cramps worse if that is all your eating. .When I am on my period I have more cravings like most women because your hormones are going kind of crazy and the way I deal with it is by eating my favorite guilty pleasure that I wouldn’t normally indulge in. Some people try and fight them because they are afraid that eating one chocolate bar is going to throw them off track of their goals but I urge you to not fight it because it takes a lot of bad choices for you to totally get off track. Sometimes I see people try to eat super healthy and be disciplined but it won’t last if you are being too restrictive and not allowing yourself to eat anything that tastes good. Give yourself permission to eat some chocolate without feeling guilty about it because the way I look at it is you have the ultimate excuse to eat chocolate at least once a month.
Limit your dairy- My diet plays a huge role in managing my pain and for me, that means limiting the amount of dairy I consume especially when I am on my period. I never can eat a lot of dairy because it makes me constipated which can be problematic when I am trying to have a bowel movement but when I am on my period I am even more disciplined. Dairy makes you bloated which is not something you want to worsen if you are already experiencing cramps. You don’t have to totally give up dairy when you are on your period but if you experience a lot of pain I would eat less of it. Diet plays a huge role in the severity of your cramps so if you experiencing a lot of pain while on your period figure out what foods worsen your pain and stop eating it.
Have some coffee- . When I am on my period I don’t take any over the counter medication that is designed for people who have menstrual cramps to get relief because they aren’t usually anything special and all that’s in these medications are caffeine and Tylenol so I just keep it simple and drink more coffee while also taking a few Tylenol. If I am having really bad cramps and need relief fast sometimes I will take Excedrin for migraine because it’s useless for my migraine pain but is great for period cramps. I usually am very disciplined with how much coffee I am consuming but when I am on my period I don’t care for the first day or so because cramps can be just about as bad as if I were to get a migraine if not worse. If you don’t like coffee that is okay because there are other caffeinated beverages like tea that you can try and I am just not a tea person so I drink coffee instead.
Periods are frustrating and we all wish they would stop but it’s a sign of good health and if you stopped getting your period and aren’t pregnant you should probably talk to your doctor to figure out why because it could be a sign of another serious medical problem that needs to be treated. When I have my period, I have all kinds of problems because it not only gives me cramps, I didn’t need but also put enough pressure on my colon so it’s difficult to have a bowel movement the first two days of my period. I can’t fully control this issue but what I found helpful is tracking all my periods, so I know about when to expect the next one, so I am better prepared. Periods can be annoying but it shouldn’t totally disrupt your life because you can live well while on your period and it’s not normal if you are totally bed-bound the week of your period so I would investigate further. These are things that I mostly do when I am on my period but if you are man and don’t get period cramps some of these things like peppermint oil can be used if you have a regular stomachache. I hope you found these tips helpful for getting relief on your period and if you have any other remedies that were not mentioned please leave them in the comments so we can all help each other have less pain.