There are a lot of things society likes to tell women they shouldn’t do while on their period.
Some women still believe they shouldn’t go camping while their monthly visitor is around for fear the scent will attract bears.
Thankfully, the experts at Yellowstone Park have cleared any of those fears — unless you’re tossing used tampons around polar bears, that is, though I doubt that’s anyone’s idea of a good time.
Still, there are quite a few surprising things most gynecologists would like every woman to know. For instance, I had no idea my favorite salty craving could actually be making my cramps worse!
Take a look to learn what you should really be avoiding while on your period and how it can help make that time of the month much less stressful.
1. Give In To Salty Cravings
According to Dr. Julia A. White at Cycle, that hankering for food with a high salt content can actually make your cramps worse with fluid retention and bloating.
2. Use It As An Excuse To Skip The Gym
I’m definitely guilty of this when I’m feeling particularly uncomfortable during menstruation.
However, as we all learned from Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.”
This can help prevent bad mood swings that often come with our monthly visitor. Plus, stretching out your muscles can also ease cramping.
3. Have Unprotected Sex
The myth that a woman can’t get pregnant while on her period continues to linger. As it turns out, many find themselves unexpectedly expecting after getting frisky without a condom or birth control during their time of the month.
Your cervix is slightly dilated and the blood can make it easier for viruses to make their way to your system while having casual sex, so it’s always better to “suit up.”
4. Avoid Hanky-Panky Altogether
According to Women’s Health magazine, with the proper protection to help keep everyone healthy (and make cleaning up easier), period sex can actually be beneficial.
The blood acts as a natural lubricant and the release can help ease your menstrual cramps. Just put down a towel first, depending on where your flow is at.
5. Plan Any Painful Appointments
The drop in estrogen during your time of the month makes your body much more sensitive to pain. You should wait until it’s passed to make any trips to the dentist or tattoo parlor.
6. Binge On Bowls Of Mac And Cheese
Naturopathic doctor Lara Briden claims it’s not hormones in dairy that can intensify your period pain, but a protein called A1 casein.
According to Lara, this can attach to your intestines and cause inflammation, which in turn causes things like heavy flows, excessive acne, and even endometriosis.
7. Guzzle Gallons Of Coffee
You might think adding extra cups of java to your daily intake would help combat the sluggish feeling of exhaustion we deal with during our periods.
Unfortunately, it can actually make matters even worse with extra mood swings, digestion issues, and high blood pressure, according to Monthly Gift.
You might also notice it having the exact opposite effect on you than it usually does, causing your eyelids to droop even more.
8. Take Smoke Breaks
WebMD cites reports from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that found women who smoke cigarettes on a regular basis, especially during their time of the month, are more likely to experience severe pre-menstrual symptoms. They’re also twice as likely to have worse cramps for longer amounts of time.
9. Use The Same Sanitary Device All Day Long
Although toxic shock syndrome is relatively rare, you should never wear the same tampon for more than a few hours at a time. Even if the box claims to be effective for longer, it’s better to freshen up with a new one to keep bacteria at bay.
The same goes for pads — even though they aren’t inserted, they can still gather germs if worn for too long.
10. Rinse With A Douche
According to the Women’s Health section of the US Department of Heath and Human Services, one in five women between the ages of 15 and 44 still douche on a regular basis.
However, most doctors recommend avoiding this cleansing process as it can cause several health problems like increased infections, vulnerability to STDs, and even difficulty in becoming pregnant.