Click here to find our Period Supply Drive Toolkit.
Anyone with a uterus knows that menstruation is not for the weak. Your monthly cycle often comes with fatigue, mood swings, bloating, headaches, and, of course, the infamous uterine cramps.
Menstrual cramps are caused by natural hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which trigger contractions and inflammation inside the womb. Needless to say, it’s an uncomfortable time of the month that calls for supportive actions, such as increased rest, heated bean bags, and soothing drinks.
When you’re feeling tender and need some comfort, reaching for a menstruation-friendly drink can help boost energy levels, decrease bloating, and, most importantly, ease menstrual cramping.
Here are seven easy-to-make hot and cold drinks you can make at home to support your body during your period.
When it comes to naturally restorative drinks, water will always be at the top of the list. No matter what your body goes through, proper hydration means being more equipped to manage any type of physical discomfort—including menstrual cramps.
Water helps prevent bloating, reduces fatigue, and supports the circulation system for a faster, less painful bleed. Aim to drink between 1.5 and 2 liters of water on the days before and during your period.
- Hot Chocolate
Dark chocolate with 70% cocoa or higher has a surprisingly rich and diverse nutrient content. It contains significant volumes of magnesium, iron, potassium, and antioxidants that help regulate blood flow, hormonal fluctuations, and pain management.
However, now is not the time to reach for a sugary, highly processed hot chocolate product from the store. Most brands contain very little actual cocoa and are often supplemented by synthetic flavorings, which only make you feel worse. Instead, opt for a healthier version at home.
You can make yourself a comforting cup of menstruation-friendly hot chocolate by combining melted dark chocolate or pure cocoa powder, a bit of vanilla, a tiny pinch of salt, honey, and milk.
- Ginger and Lemon Tea
If you’re feeling bloated, sore, and nauseous, a steaming cup of ginger and lemon tea can help. Ginger is renowned for its uplifting anti-inflammatory properties that relieve menstrual cramps and even soothe an upset stomach. Some studies even suggest ginger is as effective as ibuprofen for muscle pain.
Fresh lemon also comes with powerful health benefits. Naturally alkaline, lemon is great for soothing the stomach upset that often arrives with your period, and it pairs well with ginger both taste-wise and nutritionally for uterine support.
Combine fresh, grated ginger and a generous squeeze of lemon with hot water for the best results. Add a natural sweetener like honey if you prefer.
- Turmeric Milk
Also known as golden milk, this anti-inflammatory elixir is comfort in a cup. Turmeric is packed with powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that work wonders for menstrual cramps and a wide variety of other common ailments.
Although better fresh, powdered turmeric is far easier to find at the grocer and will be plenty effective in a warm drink. Combine and heat ½ teaspoon of turmeric with a dash of cinnamon, a cup of milk (any variety will do), honey, and a crack of black pepper in a saucepan for a delicious, soothing drink.
- Carrot and Orange Juice
High fruit consumption has been linked to reduced period pain. Both oranges and carrots are rich in vitamin C, which plays a crucial role in how the body absorbs iron. This makes them ideal fruits to consume while on your period—a time when you tend to lose a lot of iron through cervical bleeding.
Drinking carrot and orange juice will not only deliver a healthy dose of vitamin C but also come loaded with magnesium and potassium, which alleviate painful cramps and contractions. These two fruits pair well as a whole juice, but you can also drink plain orange or plain carrot for similar results.
- Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea is often used as a natural sleep aid. But its benefits don’t stop there. The compounds found within this floral tea (glycine and hippurate) have been linked to the relief of muscle spasms.
This helps the uterine muscles relax, resulting in less cramping and tension. Chamomile tea also has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, helping to further reduce any pain. The subtly sweet flavor of this tea makes it a very soothing drink, perfect for winding down with a movie at the end of the day.
- Green Smoothie
Green fruits and veggies are always good for you, but they’re even better during your period. Drinking a delicious, fresh green smoothie at the start of your day or even as a pick-me-up snack will deliver an enormous nutritional boost that helps combat period-related ailments.
Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale contain iron and magnesium, while kiwi and bananas are loaded with antioxidants, zinc, and fiber. Simply blend frozen or fresh bananas with some leafy greens, kiwi, ice, lemon juice, honey, and the milk of your choice for a glass of creamy green goodness.
A smoothie containing green fruit and veg will not only help alleviate cramping but can also be used to reduce stress and restore mental and physical energy.
Drinks To Avoid While Menstruating
When it comes to managing period-related discomfort through food and drink, knowing what not to consume is crucial.
These three drinks are best avoided while menstruating, as studies show they may only intensify cramping, headaches, bloating, and hormonal flux.
- High-sugar drinks (soda, energy drinks,)
While it can be difficult to deny yourself treats when your uterus feels like a pit of fire, exercising self-control in this area will ultimately contribute to an easier and less painful period.
Drink Your Way To A Less Painful Period
Periods are a less-than-fun part of life, but you can make them less painful by being selective about what you put in your body. These drinks are delicious, easy to make, and designed with good uterine health in mind.
If you’re taking a contraceptive pill or keeping a close watch on your cycle, you can even start drinking them in the lead-up to your period for extra relief.
Staying hydrated, healthy, and well-rested will make every part of your period a little bit better. And if doing so tastes good too, what’s not to like?
This back-to-school season, Always expands their work to help #EndPeriodPoverty across the United States by partnering with 50 Period Heroes in each state to provide young people greater access to the period products they need.
Period Heroes are people and organizations doing extraordinary work in their local communities to help #EndPeriodPoverty. Research shows that 1 in 5 girls in the U.S. have missed school due to lack of access to period products1. This means they are missing confidence-boosting activities they love like class time, sports and hanging out with friends simply because they do not have access to the period products they need.
Since 2018, Always has donated more than 65 million period products to help #EndPeriodPoverty in the U.S. – but there is still work to be done. This year, Always, alongside the 50 Period Heroes, will distribute 2.5 million pads to help young people stay in confidence-boosting activities they love.
Helping Women Period is proud to be named as one of the 50 Period Heroes Michigan. These donations from Always will help serve menstruators across the state.
Join Always and the 50 Period Heroes to help #EndPeriodPoverty in the U.S. Here’s how you can get involved:
- Contact your elected officials at votervoice.net/always/campaign and ask them to show their support to help #EndPeriodPoverty
- Learn more about #EndPeriodPoverty at https://www.always.com/en-us/about-us/end-period-poverty
- Learn how you can become a Period Hero by following Always on social media
- Keep an eye out for how you can get involved with Helping Women Period on our website, HelpingWomenPeriod.org
1 1000 U.S. females, 16-24 y.o., Research Now ‘17
Click here to find our 2021 Impact Report.
There are a wide range of products available to meet the needs of menstruators and it can be a bit overwhelming. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most frequently used period products to help you choose the product that’s best for you!
Menstrual pads, followed closely by tampons, are the most frequently chosen period product. They are available in a wide variety of sizes – they can be thin for when you’re lightly bleeding (pantyliners), regular, or thick for heavier bleeding (“max”, “overnight”, or “super” pads). Pads can be used both as a primary menstrual product or as back-up to use in tandem with another product.
Some have flaps, also known as wings, that fold over the sides of your underwear to protect against leaks and stains. These are especially useful if you’re active and moving around a lot.
Most pads are disposable and single-use, but reusable options do exist. Reusable pads are made from fabric and can be washed and reused for years. To use reusable pads, you simply place one into your underwear like you would a disposable pad. Instead of the sticky adhesive you find on disposable pads, reusable pads are fastened around your underwear with Velcro or snaps. When you’ve finished with the pad, simply place the it in a waterproof, sealed bag (if you’re out and about), or immediately toss it in cold water to soak, then run it through the washing machine. It’s as simple as that!
For most pads (disposable and reusable) it’s suggested that they be changed every 4-6 hours, or when it’s soaked with blood. This will depend on how heavy your flow is.
If pads aren’t your thing or you find they limit your activity, tampons can be a great alternative. Tampons are cylindrical cotton and/or cellulose inserts that sit inside the vaginal canal and soak up menstrual blood. While most tampons come inside of plastic applicators, reusable and refillable applicators do exist. All tampons have a string attached so they can be easily pulled out and disposed in the trash. Tampons should not be worn for more than 8 hours and are single-use only.
Some of the biggest advantages the tampons have over pads and other menstrual products are their size and availability. Like pads, tampons are easily accessible in grocery and drug stores and even some public bathrooms. They are also one of the few menstrual hygiene products you can swim with (in addition to period swimwear, cups, and discs).
3. Menstrual Cups
Menstrual cups are a reusable, funnel-shaped cup made of medical-grade silicone that suctions to the cervix and collects blood. Similar to tampons, they require insertion but unlike tampons they can be worn for up to 12 hours and are reusable. When cleaned and stored properly, cups can last up to 10 years. Additionally, cups can hold significantly more fluid than tampons, requiring less trips to the bathroom and providing you with a stronger peace of mind.
Available brands of reusable cups include the Lunette Menstrual Cup, DivaCup, Flex cup, and Saalt Cup. There are also a few disposable menstrual cups on the market, such as the Instead Softcup. To determine which cup is best for you and for tips and tricks on insertion, removal, cleaning, and more, check out Period Nirvana.
4. Menstrual Discs
Menstrual discs are similar to cups and tampons in that they require insertion but differ in their placement. Discs fit back into the vaginal fornix (where the vaginal canal meets the cervix) and collect blood, rather than sitting within the vaginal canal like a cup or tampon. Because of this, menstrual discs are a good option for period protection that allows for participation in sexual activity. Discs, similar to cups, are made of medical grade silicone and can provide up to 12 hours of protection. When cared for correctly, discs can last up to 10 years. No suction is involved when using a menstrual disc.
Softdisc offers both reusable and disposable options, with other reusable options including the Hello Disc, Flex Disc, and Saalt Disc. To determine which disc is best for you and for tips and tricks on insertion, removal, cleaning, and more, check out Period Nirvana.
5. Period Underwear
Period underwear are just like regular underwear, except they have extra layers of fabric that are intended to absorb menstrual blood. You can wear them instead of other products or in conjunction with other products for extra protection.
Just like pads and liners, most period underwear incorporates anti-microbial and moisture-wicking properties to help prevent odors. Most period underwear will be reusable, though some companies do offer disposable options. Depending on your flow and the style you wear, you can wear period underwear for up to 12 hours without fear of leaking, then wash as directed.
6. Period Swimwear
For complete peace of mind when swimming, whether that be at the beach or the pool, you may want to try period swimwear. These look like any other swimwear but are designed to absorb menstrual blood and protect from leaks, eliminating the need to worry about inserting a product like a tampon, cup, or disc.
You may also look to other period proof clothes during the warmer days like period shorts, which again provide a cute and comfy alternative to traditional menstrual products.
Written by Kate, on behalf of Cheeky Pants and Ryann, on behalf of Helping Women Period.
Periods are a vital part of any woman’s life, so it’s important to know when they’re happening. Not only will tracking your period help you detect any irregularities, but it’ll also help you anticipate any symptoms—from headaches to mood swings. After all, the average American woman experiences around 450 periods in her lifetime—that’s a lot of medical history that needs recording.
But there’s more to it than that. Here are some more reasons why every woman should track their period:
Lets you plan activities around it
Periods are a natural part of life; we know this. However, it helps to have some semblance of control over them. Rather than having your period unexpectedly ruin a night out or get in the way of a beach trip, a tracker can tell you (almost) exactly when your period is going to come, which will allow you to plan your holidays, travels, and busy days around that time of the month.
Helps make accurate diagnoses
Instead of manually writing your experiences in a journal, it’s highly recommended to use period tracking apps. In fact, this type of technology is becoming increasingly popular in the healthcare industry. Maryville University highlights the growing inclusion of informatics in healthcare to complement public health initiatives and better understand the human body. This is why many apps and tech solutions are designed to pool patient data. A study by the University of Granada explains that menstrual apps are effective in helping women get to know their bodies a little better, since you log in your symptoms and can then determine if certain pains (like cramps) are period-related or something more serious.
Lets you know when to double your workouts
Syncing your diet plans and exercise routines with your period tracker can also help you maximize your fitness goals. Health columnist Emma McGowan writes that around two weeks after your period, your body produces more estrogen, which then increases the amount of energy in your body. However, once week three hits, both estrogen and progesterone increase, boosting your body’s ability to use fat for fuel. This means that weeks two and three post-period are the perfect days to burn some weight.
Avoid unplanned pregnancies
The woman’s body is fertile for an average of six days, according to medical specialists on Planned Parenthood. This includes the five days before you have your period and the day itself that you have your period. Of course, there’s still the possibility of pregnancy a day or two after your cycle, though the chances are lower. Though it’s not a very reliable way to avoid pregnancy, knowing your “safe” days may still help.
The menstrual cycle is not an on/off type of condition. Even if you’re not on your period, you can experience things like fluctuations in your sex drive, tiredness on some days, and even unexplainable mood swings at random intervals. Having a period tracker can help you understand a lot of things about yourself and make your life easier.
Words by Regina Forster
Article for the sole use of helpingwomenperiod.org
So you think you know everything there is to know about periods? Think again. No matter how clued up you are, there’s always something that slips through your radar, especially some of the more unusual facts and stats of menstruation.
Below, we’ve gathered some of our favorite — and unexpected — period facts that we think everyone needs to know.
1. Your periods get worse when it is cold
This is definitely an amazing period fact: cold weather can impact your period, making it heavier and longer than normal.
During the winter months, a woman’s flow, period duration, and even pain level are longer than the summer. This pattern also extends to women who live in colder climates rather than warmer temperature.
The seasons can also affect your PMT too — the darker, shorter days can adversely impact your mood when combined with female productive hormones. This is thought to be because of a lack of sunshine, which helps our bodies to produce vitamin D and dopamine — which both boost our moods, happiness, concentration and all-round health levels.
2. You can still get pregnant if you’re on your period
Less of an amazing fact, but one you should probably know about.
Many people assume that you cannot get pregnant if you have sex while on your period. However, this is not true.
Although it’s more unlikely that you will become pregnant while you are menstruating, it is not impossible at all. This is because sperm can survive in the body for up to five or six days — so if you have a relatively short cycle, have sex towards the end of your period, and ovulate just after your period finishes, you could potentially fall pregnant.
Another fun related fact: back in the middle ages, people used to think that redheads were babies who were conceived while their mother was on her period.
3. The average starting age for periods has changed over the years
Did you know that over the last few centuries, the average age that a girl begins getting periods has changed?
Back in the 1800s, girls wouldn’t get their periods until they were well into their teens — the average age was around 17. Nowadays, the average age to start menstruating is 12 — a whole five years younger.
Scientists think there are a few key reasons for this: namely, improved nutrition. We’re eating better — and more — than our ancestors did a few hundred years ago, and fat cells make estrogen. The more fat cells you have, the more estrogen you have in your body, which can trigger the start of your menstrual cycle as a girl.
Increased stress levels are also a factor. That’s right — high-stress levels can actually trigger the beginning of your period.
4. You will spend nearly 10 years of your life on your period
From the time of her first cycle to menopause, the average American woman will have around 450 periods in her lifetime. That’s a lot of periods.
Added up, this equates to around 10 years — or about 3,500 days — of the average woman’s life that will be spent menstruating. Translated into period products, this works out at around 11,000 tampons that the average woman uses in a lifetime.
Of course, everyone is different, and anything from cycle length to child-bearing, breastfeeding and culture can influence the number of periods a woman gets over her lifetime. However, one thing is certain — periods impact us all.
That’s why it is so important that we have nonprofit organizations like Helping Women Periodthat are committed to supplying menstrual health products to people who are either homeless or low-income.
5. It’s easier than you think to have eco-friendly periods with period panties
If the fact above scares you into thinking about the environmental impact that you’re having just by menstruating, then don’t worry! There are actually many different ways you can reduce your waste and have a guilt-free, eco-friendly period.
Disposable tampons and sanitary pads (which are mostly made from plastic) are no longer the only options out there. These days, there are all sorts of sustainable period products to choose from that you can keep and reuse for years — such as menstrual cups and period panties.
Period underwear brands like Knix have created a collection of washable, reusable, leakproof underwear which absorbs your period as a pad would (they can even handle heavy flow days). A few pairs of period panties save you from having to fork out for tampons and pads all the time and help you to have an environmentally-friendly period too.
6. You lose a lot less blood than you think during your period
Sometimes, when you’re having a particularly heavy flow day, it can feel as if something is wrong. Surely it’s not normal to produce this much blood?!
Although it may seem like a lot, your body only actually loses around three tablespoons of blood during your period; the average woman can lose anywhere from one tablespoon to a small cup of blood during a normal period.
If it seems like you’re losing more than this during your period, you should seek advice from a medical professional. Losing too much blood can increase your risk of anemia — which can cause dizziness, tired and poor circulation.
7. Your period can affect how you sound and smell
According to vocalization researchers, women’s voices can change slightly during their menstrual cycle due to our reproductive hormones affecting the vocal cords. This means women can sound different while on their period, and even “less attractive” according to the participants in their testing. Ouch.
The same female reproductive hormones also affect your natural scent, meaning you smell different when you’re on your period. This is very subtle and actually consciously detectable. It’s more of an animalistic thing, harking back to our caveman days when men would be more attracted to women who were ovulating rather than menstruating (meaning they could procreate).
These are just seven amazing facts about periods that you need to know. The human body is a
A HUGE thank you to the over 250 people who attended our event on March 9, 2019. A special thanks to our guest speakers and volunteers as well. Over $20,000 was raised that day and we thank each and every one of you!
It is hard to believe our annual fundraiser is over. But, the connection, education, networking, and financial support continues to make a tremendous impact and will do so in the months to come. Thank you to our planning committee and event volunteers who helped things run so smoothly. And to our keynote speaker, Ms. Jennifer Weiss-Wolfe. We just about sold out of our books and raised over $200 in partnership with Schuler’s Books. Please scroll down to view all the photos, courtesy of Jamie Randle of Randle Photography.
Heidi and Mike Nussdorfer
Morton’s Fine Catering
Strip and Rip Waxing Services
Asbury Methodist Church
Dr. Stephanie Fleming
Addison Family Law
Photos of the Day
Step and Repeat
Thank you to all the volunteers who assisted with the processing of over 300 pieces of correspondence! Enjoy the photos from the event below. And, thank you Jamie Randle of Jamie Randle Photography for your services!