Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Comfortable Period

Many women use hormonal contraceptives to control their periods - hormonal contraceptives make bleeding predictable, lighter, shorter, and, with some hormonal contraceptives, less frequent. Some women require hormonal contraceptives to deal with horrendous periods requiring medical treatment, but many healthy women still find their periods to be unpleasant. Returning to natural menstruation requires finding new ways to handle these discomforts.

Containing the Mess

Many women use pads and tampons. It can take a bit of work to find pads and tampons that are comfortable and don't leak. Buy a few of the small packages of different brands to see what you like. Some women use less common period protection:
  • Menstrual cups - Soft and bell-shaped, menstrual cups are worn internally. They collect the blood and then are emptied into the toilet. I have a DivaCup and I love that it's internal, doesn't dry out my insides, doesn't need to be changed as frequently as a tampon, and is re-usable. There are many other brands of cups, and there are also disposable cups.
  • Cloth pads - Some women like to invest in a set of reusable cloth pads, thers like disposable cotton pads. Generally, they're considered to be more breathable, flexible, and soft.
  • Sponges - Similar to tampons, but reusable.

Dealing with Discomfort

Over the counter pain killers, and hot water bottles are a favorite for cramps. Charting will give you a good idea of when you are likely to experience cramps, and many women find this data useful because it allows them to start taking medication before the pain gears up. Some women find stretching or exercise helps with cramps (others *cough cough, me!* find that chocolate and netflix help cramps!).  Bloating is helped by limiting salt intake and staying hydrated. Many women like tea for its warmth during cramps, hydration, and assistance with regularity.

How do I know if my period is normal?

If you're worried, talk to your doctor! Even if you aren't worried, talk to your doctor if your periods last more than 7 days, your bleeding is very heavy (requiring pad/tampon change every hour for 3+ hours), you have very painful cramps, or if your period changes dramatically.

For more information:
"Spotting Between Periods"

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