Periods are a pain in the unmentionables. Pun intended.
The pain is a product of our uterus contracting as it sheds its lining. However, that isn’t the only factor that makes this unwelcome monthly guest such a nuisance. There’s also the sweating, bloating, fatigue, lethargy, tenderness of breasts, mood swings, and, of course, back pain to deal with. That’s a longer list than what most insurance companies try to stick into their conditions apply!
The point is, periods suck. We may not always succeed in making them any better, but could we be unknowingly making them worse? Certain habits and food can lead to even more (gasp!) painful periods. Here, we have 8 very such traitorous things that have been making you see red in more ways than one:
1. Lack Of Sleep
Getting a good night’s rest is essential for the regulation of your sex hormones. Not enough sleep could set your system off, producing possibly irregular and (yikes!) longer periods. If that wasn’t enough to get you off Facebook before bed, there’s more. If your body doesn’t receive 6-8 consecutive hours of restful sleep, stress levels could increase, which would contribute to even more pain. Apparently, hell hath no fury like a body scorned of sleep.
2. Caffeinated Drinks
Your body’s response to caffeine depends entirely on you, but a majority of women experience more pain during menstruation with the greater consumption of caffeine. According to a study in the American Journal of Public Health, more than one or even one caffeinated drink each day could raise your risk for PMS (you know the time of the month when you act like a what rhymes with witch) by 30%! Less is more when it comes to coffee.
According to a survey conducted by Mental Daily, apparently close to a whopping 70% of women stated that smoking those cancer sticks (read: cigarettes) was one element that negatively impacted their PMS the most. Also, if lung cancer wasn’t enough of a deterrent for you, evidently heavy smokers are a demographic that seem to experience menstrual pain and cramps more profoundly.
Alcohol is responsible for not only dehydrating you but also exhausting your magnesium levels that can worsen any existing painful PMS symptoms. On the whole, alcohol isn’t the best for your body (read: understatement) but a night of over-imbibing can lead to you waking up with awful symptoms such as headaches, mood swings, and, of course, a hangover that could make that crimson tideway more unbearable than it has to be.
A large tub of chocolate ice cream may be your go-to comfort food when the cramps get you, but sugary treats can increase your insulin levels, which can disrupt the estrogen-testosterone-progesterone balance in your body. This can lead to anger, irritability, and mood swings that worsen your time of the month. If sugar is what you crave, don’t lose hope yet. Solution? Go for healthier options such as granola, fruits, peanut butter or dates.