Menstruation 101: Answering Period Queries, Debunking Myths With Key Hacks & Remedies

By | June 19, 2021
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Menstruation, periods, chums, menses, the scarlet wave, or ‘that time of the month’, it has many names. Period gives us women a serious headache, literally and metaphorically. From period cramps, nausea, headaches and cravings are something that every girl faces right up to her 50s, to having to break out head over buying the right product and food. Periods are no joke! Plus there is no one place to find all the answers to your period questions on the internet. That’s why we have compiled a list of everything you need to know about your period, to make your flow easier and carefree. 

What Period Product Must You Use?

Today we have a growing range of sanitary products available, the choice is endless. While sanitary napkins are still the preferred option for most Indian women, there are tampons, diva cups and so much more to suit your needs. The key is to choose wisely and here are some ways to do it. To know more about period products, their pros and cons, click here

1. Pads

8439d623 1 sanitary pads

Sanitary napkins or pads are the most commonly used period products. Yet they are wrapped in paper and stuffed in black bags to keep it a secret. But gone are those days and you can now choose from a variety in-store or online. Pads and panty liners are made of rayon and Super Absorbent Polymers (SAPs), which are typically partially made of acrylic, a plastic. But in case you are someone with sensitive skin and prone to skin rashes, opt for sanitary pads that are made from sustainable and natural materials. Buy sustainable and eco-friendly sanitary pads from the Red Dot Shop here

2. Tampons

31a3fddd 2 tampons

A tampon is made of soft, absorbent material. It is inserted into the vagina to soak up the blood. It comes with an applicator to help you insert it correctly. Most conventional tampons are composed of synthetic materials like rayon and use plastic applicators.

3. Menstrual Cups

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Menstrual cups are literal cups that are inserted into the vagina. They collect blood and can then be emptied, washed, wiped or rinsed. These are reusable menstrual products swiftly gaining popularity in India. Menstrual cups are often made of silicone, rubber or thermoplastics and the amount of period blood they can hold depends on the size.

4. Period Panties

39583c08 4. period panties

A pair of panties that are designed to absorb blood are known as Period Panties. They have varying absorbency levels. Some are designed for heavy flow and some are made similar to panty liners. They can even be used as extra support during days with a heavy flow.

How To Deal With Period Mood Swings

Periods can have you go from a crying mess to an angry person, followed by an anxiety attack. These changing emotions which seem so familiar and plague you often are known as mood swings. Mood swings are often caused by oral contraceptives, hormonal changes and mental stress. Here is how you can deal with them. 

1. Exercise

06961ef5 exercise

Performing a workout regimen suited to your system will help to enhance blood circulation and the pumping of serotonin. Serotonin helps to promote positive and happy thoughts. Active blood circulation helps to flush toxins out of the body which helps to feel fresh and energetic. You are more likely to be in better control of your mood when you perform regular exercise

2. De-Stress

f04e07e9 de stress

Perform day to day tasks and routine work is often stressful due to its repetitive nature. Stress is likely to trigger mood swings. Indulging in meditation, yoga, drinking herbal infusions are known to have a calming effect on one’s mind as they help to release stress. Women often find this helpful during their P.M.S. Meditation is even helpful in learning how to control mood swings.

3. Break The Routine

0b202e02 break the routine

Is the mess at your work desk or in your bedroom increasing your irritation? Are you tired of thinking about what to cook for dinner yet again? Take a break and leave these tasks for a while. Indulge in some painting, take a walk, read a good book or do anything you like. This will help you to return to your work with a fresh mind and reduce your stress.

To know more about period mood swings, causes and how to treat them, click here

Quick & Natural Ways To Kick Out The Pain 

Are you in bed, during your periods, praying the pain goes and eating all the sweets you can find? A lot of women describe their period cramps as ‘pure torture’. And here is a way to kick the pain and get a little relief. 

1. Apply Heat

02163e67 apply heat

Grab a heating pad, jump into bed and snuggle under the covers. Applying heat to the abdomen and pelvic area is the perfect answer to how to reduce period pain. A hot bath helps as well. So next time your uterus is in pain, draw a hot bath and soak in that warm goodness.

If you don’t have an electric heating pad, a good old-fashioned hot water bottle works just as well. A DIY option is using beans or rice. Grab a thick sock, fill it with rice and microwave it for a few seconds and apply it to the abdomen area. 

2. Choose Food Wisely

7f0456c5 choose food wisely

Certain foods, during periods, can cause bloating and water retention. This results in awful menstrual cramps. So does choosing the right food aid in period pain relief? The answer is yes and here are some food items you need to avoid:

  • Sugary food like chocolate, mithai, and cupcakes
  • Fatty food like cheese, crackers
  • Sodas and carbonated beverages
  • Caffeine
  • Salty food like chips, kachori, pakora, and samosa

If you want to indulge in healthy sweets, shop for jams and edible cookie doughs from the Red Dot Shop here

3. Herbal Remedy

0ce2ef71 herbal remedy

How to reduce period pain fast? The answer is simple; adding herbs to your diet can significantly lower period pain. The anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic compounds in some herbs reduce menstrual pain effectively.

  • Drink two cups of chamomile tea per day a week before your period.
  • When your period starts, take 30 mg of fennel extract four times a day for three days.
  • Consuming cinnamon for the first three days of your period helps with menstrual cramps
  • Hot ginger tea relieves period pain instantly

4. Massage

9a236331 massage

Who doesn’t love massages?. And getting a massage during your period is heavenly. It encourages blood flow, soothes tired and sore muscles, and relieves menstrual cramps. So next time Aunt Flo pays a visit, head to the spa for a relaxing massage. Or a simple 15-minute abdomen massage will do the trick when you can’t go to the spa.

5. Orgasm

095b774f orgasm

Science suggests that having an orgasm during menstruation can relieve pain. And why would we deny this simple pleasure? Vaginal orgasms are great at decreasing pain perception as it involves the whole body. So a little ‘special me time’ during periods can be the solution for how to reduce menstrual pain instantly.

Period cramps and pains are awful, so having a few home remedies and tricks up your sleeve is a good idea. Learn more period pain hacks here

Quick 30 Minutes Circuit For A Tough Day

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Choice of exercises during menstruation completely depends on the body. Remember exercising during this period can’t reverse anything or defy the natural outcome of internal functionality, exercise can merely stabilize things. Also, exercising not only helps in period pain but also reduces stress and aches. 

TC46 connected with Pallavi Barman, Head of Marketing & Operations at HRX, where she shares the reasons to work out during your period. Learn more about the dos and don’ts of working out during periods here.  

Here is a quick workout session for you. 

Warm-Up

  • 20 jumping jacks
  • 20 high knees
  • 20 butt kicks
  • 200 jump rope/skipping

Round 1

  • 50 air squats
  • 50 sumo squats
  • 50 lunges

Round 2 x 2

  • 30 sit-ups
  • 20 burpees
  • 10 push-ups

Cool Off

  • 3 minutes – eyes closed deep breathing
  • 20 Anulom Vilom
  • 50 Kapalbhati

Yoga To Stretch Your Body & Regulate Your Cycle

Usually, a menstrual cycle is 28 days long but it can range from 21 days to 38. It is irregular if you have not had your periods for over 35 days or have experienced bleeding within 21 days of your previous period. Girls, when they first get their period, or women going through menopause can experience irregularity for some time. But if your periods are always irregular, it needs special attention. Click here to know more about irregular periods. Here are some yoga poses that can help you regulate your cycle. 

1. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)

1b2f72c4 yoga 1 adho mukha svanasana downward facing dog pose

This asana of yoga for irregular periods has numerous amazing benefits that make it extremely essential for you to practice it every day. The best part is, even a beginner can get the hang of this asana with great ease.

How To Do It:

  1. Place your palms and feet flat on the ground.
  2. Lift your body to form a 90-degree angle while facing down.
  3. Hold this pose for one minute.

2. Ustrasana (Camel Pose)

8e2b3380 yoga 2 ustrasana camel pose

The camel pose causes stretching in your abdominal region. The pull in your stomach signals your uterine muscles which ease your menstrual cramps. This asana also stretches the spine which relieves mild lower back pain.

How To Do It:

  1. Kneel on the floor.
  2. Arch your back slowly.
  3. Touch your heels with your hands.
  4. Hold this for 30 to 60 seconds.

3. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

1454a51f yoga 3 dhanurasana bow pose

Dhanurasana is one of the best poses for your reproductive system. It is a basic yoga posture that not only relieves menstrual pain, but also reduces the severity of the symptoms of your next menses. 

How To Do It:

  1. Lie face down.
  2. Lift up your hands and feet.
  3. Join hands and feet above your body and hold them.
  4. Continue holding for 30 seconds and repeat.

4. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend Pose)

04b7340b yoga 4 paschimottanasana seated forward bend pose

This asana calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression that can be common while PMSing. It also helps relieve the symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort.

How To Do It:

  1. Sit with your feet straight in front of you.
  2. Exhale as you stretch your body towards your feet.
  3. Hug your feet with your hands and hold for one minute.

5. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

0ee5566a yoga 5 setu bandha sarvangasana bridge pose

Bridges are not only one of the best exercises for a sculpted butt, but they will also help keep your back healthy and pain-free. It helps eliminate period cramps with ease. Place a block under your sacrum (tailbone area) for added support, especially if your back pain is intense.

How To Do It:

  1. Lay face-up on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Raise hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
  3. Pause in the up position, then lower your body back to the starting position.

Debunking Popular Myths About Your Cycle

Although menstruation has been a part of a woman’s life for nearly half her life span, there is so much confusion regarding the same. For centuries, people everywhere had stated how a woman on her period was extremely impure. Many myths, superstitions float around, hence Dr Suhasini Inamdar, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at Motherhood Hospitals, helps us debunk 5 common myths on periods. Debunk other such ridiculous myths here

1. You can pass out from period blood loss.

d8063a0f myth 1. you can pass out from period blood loss

It’s not possible to generally pass out from periods. When girls have severe pain or excessive bleeding with clots, that’s the time they may pass out. Healthy eating and regular check-ups with their gynaecologists will ensure such rare episodes don’t occur.

2. Your periods must last exactly one week each month.

40d398a5 myth 2. your periods must last exactly one week each month

Periods normally last for 3-5 days and there is no such rule that it should last exactly one week each month. Period duration varies from body to body and 3-5 days duration is considered normal. So, if you are having longer periods, you should consult a doctor.

3. You cannot enter the puja room when on your periods. 

5e6b3797 myth 3. you cannot enter the puja room when on your periods

Our ancestors were very intelligent, not allowing the woman/girl to work and giving her isolation. Not going to a Puja room was one of them. Basically, this was done to provide her much needed rest during periods. But over generations, the basic idea has changed. Individuals can follow the practices as per their family preferences.

4. You cannot get pregnant if you have sex during your periods.

b58c2ed0 myth 4. you cannot get pregnant if you have sex during your periods

Yes, a woman can get pregnant while she is having unprotected sex during her periods. Often period bleeding is confused with ovulation bleeding. If the ovulation is happening, that is the monthly release of an egg from a woman’s ovaries, then there are chances of her getting pregnant. Ovulation happens within a few days after a woman’s period is over. So, if a woman has unprotected sex on the last day of her period and ovulates in the next few days, the sperm may still fertilize the egg.

5. Exercising when on your periods is unhealthy and can damage the uterus.

4a76d903 myth 5. exercising when on your periods is unhealthy and can damage the uterus

This is not true, exercising during your periods is healthy and, in some cases, physical activity can alleviate cramps and even improve mood and feelings of fatigue often associated with the menstrual cycle.

Safe Sex During Periods 

From headaches, cramps, fatigue to mood swings and anxiety, menstruation affects women in a variety of different ways. Yet one major biological urge that increases during periods is sexual desire. And having sex or masturbating during your periods can actually get rid of the period pain and lead to more pleasure. Here are a few points to remember when having sex during your periods. And if you want to know more about period sex, then click here.  

1. Be Honest And Open 

84667bac be honest and open

Be open to your partner about your needs and desires. Ask them to be honest with you about themselves; support them in the process. Keep talking even after the process starts. If either of you faces any discomfort, discuss the issue. Stop if required!

2. Don’t Shy Away From Condoms And Dental Dams

a8561520 dont shy away from condoms and dental dams

In addition to lowering the chances of pregnancy during periods, condoms reduce the risks of STIs. Also, they can help in the prevention of microbial infections up to a certain level. Dental dams can help prevent the spreading of pathogens while performing oral sex. Remember that even oral sex during periods can cause infection.

3. Take The Tampon Out

fe53b58b take the tampon out

Remove your tampon before your partner penetrates. Reusable menstrual cups also need to be taken out. You can have sex with disposable menstrual cups but remember to not keep it in for long.

4. Make Clean-Up Easy

bd58e5de make clean up easy

Keep dark-coloured sheets and towels (preferably disposable) handy to clean up after sex. Shower sex is more advisable. However, if you want to do it inside the bedroom, cover that expensive mattress; stock those dear pillowcases in. You don’t want to mess them up

5. Opt For Comfort

0883a879 opt for comfort

Choose a more comfortable sex position when you are on your period. Many women find missionary more suitable to their needs. Also, if you find actual penetration exhausting, you can relieve yourself by way of oral sex or other methods of intense foreplay.

If you think you know everything about period sex, click here for a quick and fun quiz! 

Answering Popular FAQs

1. How Late Can A Period Be Without Me Being Pregnant?

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If you’re worried about getting pregnant, tracking your period is a must. When in doubt, a home pregnancy test can always help put your mind to rest. If after a negative result, there’s another week’s delay in your periods, consider retaking the test. Sometimes pregnancy kits aren’t that accurate as they fail to detect the hCG in your urine if it’s too early. Pay attention to symptoms like painful breasts, nausea and vomiting.

2. What Is The Cause Of Irregular Periods Among Teenagers?

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Irregularity of periods among teens is very common as their bodies are still developing. Ovaries take time to release an egg every month and hence their cycles keep on changing. Some other reasons are hormonal levels being too high or too low, being under or overweight, and too much exercise. Especially during the first 2 years, girls will face irregularity in their cycles and sometimes also miss a period.  

3. Can I Get Pregnant If I Have Sex On My Period?

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Yes, you can get pregnant at any time of the month. Though the chances of pregnancy are very, very low, the truth is that sperm can survive in your reproductive system for up to 5 days. So, having sex on your period isn’t a 100% guarantee against pregnancy.

4. When Will I Stop Menstruating?

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The change of life is the term used for women who have not had their periods for over a year. Commonly known as menopause, it is the time when you stop having your periods. This usually happens between the ages of 45 and 50. In some cases, women stop getting their periods at the age of 40, which is considered premature menopause. It takes time for your ovaries to stop producing enough hormones to trigger a period. 

5. Why Does My Period Blood Smell?

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When the shedding of an unfertilised egg exits your body, it is very natural for it to have a smell. Learning to differentiate between the smells is also a smart practice. A healthy period smells very blood-like, while an unhealthy one smells foul. Also, don’t forget that tampons and sanitary napkins trap the smell by not exposing it to air. Practising vaginal hygiene and changing tampons and pads from time to time helps with the period smell. What you need to look out for is creamy, egg white, or sticky vaginal discharge. This can be a sign of infection or some underlying problem.

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