Period Kits & First Period Survival Kit | How To Tutorial
Your Ultimate Period Survival Guide
We get it: Periods suck—big time. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to get around feeling so lousy (and no, none of them involve curling up in bed and bingeing onHouse of Cards). The pros share their best advice for fighting your ickiest PMS symptoms so that you don't have to dread your monthly visit from Aunt Flo.
Get more details on how to stop period-related problems dead in their tracks:
Try This Yoga Move
Exercise is probably the last thing you want to do when your period rears its ugly head, but the simple yoga move known as "legs up the wall" can actually help ease your cramps.
Put an End to Breakouts
"If you have mild breakouts and oily skin [the week before your period], doing simple things like switching to a gel- or foam-based cleanser will help get these under control," says Jennifer MacGregor, M.D., a dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City. "Using glycolic washes or peels will also help."
MacGregor also suggests swapping in a lighter moisturizer—she likesEltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46(, dermstore.com), which offers skin-calming niaminicide in addition to sun protection.
Choose Snacks Wisely
Fight bloat by guzzling plenty of H2O—and skipping high-sodium snacks, says Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D., author ofRead It Before You Eat It. She recommends munching on foods that are high in B1 and B2 vitamins, like fortified breads and cereals, to soothe cramps. As a bonus, the carbs will boost your serotonin levels, resulting in a less grouchy mood. Taub-Dix also likes yogurt because the calcium may help take the edge off a bad mood (and a cup gives you about 200 milligrams). If you've got a sweet tooth, she suggests sprinkling a few dark chocolate chips in to trail mix and keeping a zip-top baggie of it at your desk before you start PMSing—by planning ahead, you'll ensure you've got a healthy snack ready for you, and you'll avoid over-indulging with a controlled portion.
Take the Right Meds
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like Motrin and Advil are your best bet, says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine. These medications block your body from making more prostaglandins, chemicals released during your period that squeeze the smooth muscles in your uterus (ouch!), causing cramps and in some cases, diarrhea. "The key is to take them early," says Minkin, "because once prostaglandins are there, they do their thing." Since there's a chance they could bother your stomach, she advises popping your pill with food or a glass of milk.
Clean Blood Stains Easily
Nope, you don't have to throw out that pair of pricey Victoria's Secret undies. For a new stain, run the fabric under cold or lukewarm water and use hand or bath soap to get rid of it. You can also try DIYing with a packet of salt, a few spoons of baking soda, or crushed up aspirin.
More fromWomen's Health:
8 Major Period Problems—Solved
What Your Period Can Tell You About Your Health
10 Thoughts Every Woman Has While Exercising on Her Period
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