Periods come with its difficulties, and as much as some of us get a mini heart attack when we don’t see it, the truth is most women (if not all) do not really enjoy it. The cramps, the nauseousness and the stickiness of it all are just exhausting.
Below, we’ve listed 10 things to avoid during that time of the month. You are guaranteed a bearable, if not perfect, period if you adhere to most of them.
1. Unprotected sex
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Unprotected sex has never been encouraged, especially when on your period as blood is a good medium for viruses and this causes higher transmission of STD’s.
The cervix is slightly dilated during one’s period, which makes it easier to get infected.
Also menstruating doesn’t prevent pregnancy from taking place, yes for women with more irregular periods, ovulation and bleeding can happen at the same time.
2. Leaving sanitary products in for too long
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Good personal hygiene should be maintained during your menstrual period and regular changing of pad every three to four hours is an important step to prevent streptococcal toxic shock syndrome.” At a minimum, cups should be changed every 12 hours, and pads every three to four hours.
3. Regular breast examination
Regular breast examination is always good for women, however it isn’t advised to be done when seeing your period because the breasts are very sensitive to changes in hormonal production, “Fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone can make both breast exams and mammograms give wrong results, it can unnecessarily raise a red flag especially when done in the early stage of your period.
4. Salty foods
A few days before you see your period, your body begins storing sodium and fluids causing you to feel bloated, when this occurs, eating high salt food will only result in more water retention, also when you are seeing your period it’s best to avoid high amounts of salt because the sodium in salt causes you to feel bloated and puffy.
5. Caffeine and carbonated foods
It’s safe to know that drinking caffeinated beverages is linked to an elevated frequency of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), studies show that caffeine blocks GABA in the brain (the “downer” neurotransmitter) which results in anxiety and increased heart rate. Excessive amounts of caffeine intake constrict blood vessels which could lead to serious menstrual cramps, anxiety, and mood swings.
6. Cleansers with artificial fragrance
Using soaps sprays, or creams with perfumes can cause vaginal irritation and should be avoided during menstruation.
Perfumes contribute to an overgrowth of odour-producing bacteria, it’s best to use a more natural product when you are not seeing your period.
If you have a strong vaginal odour, it is best to see a gynaecologist in case there is an infection or imbalance that needs to be treated.
7. Dairy product
Foods like milk, cheese, and ice cream contain arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid that stimulates prostaglandins (hormone-like substances) which can increase inflammation and can cause bloating and cramping.
8. Sugary products
Sugar intake causes blood sugar levels to rise and drop; too much sugar also makes you feel extra run-down and tired, processed sugary foods can shift levels of estrogen and decrease serotonin levels. Estrogen, the female sex hormone and serotonin which is a neurotransmitter hormone that causes mood swings when deficient.
Also eating too much sugar over time ages the skin, making it dull and more prone to wrinkles. This is due to a process called glycation.
Large amounts of alcohol can slow stomach emptying which contributes to feeling heavy and bloated. Alcohol can cause you to retain water, and this makes you feel more puffy and bloated. This is worsened by alcohol’s diuretic effect, as a dehydrated body will retain more water than a hydrated one.
10. Red Meat and Fatty foods
Red meat contains arachidonic acids and this worsens cramps. Also, High fatty foods have a strong influence on hormonal activity in the body and should be avoided.