9 Practical Ways to Master Your Period

Okay ladies (and maybe fathers of preteen girls), real talk: Periods suck. I don't know why the process *has* to be so painful, gross, and long. But as long as we all have to suffer through this women-only Shark Week, we need to do what we can to improve our situation.


You're actually more prone to dehydration when the communists are leaving the palace. Makes sense, huh? And there's a good reason why hydration seems to be the answer to everything health-related. Aside from making your lips chapped and giving you a killer headache, dehydration will actually cause you to be grumpy. In fact, dehydration can exacerbate every bad aspect of your period: You'll have worse cramps, feel weaker, and have more breakouts. Those are things you need in addition to the terror of Shark Week, huh?

To help yourself guzzle *extra* water through Aunt Flo's visit, carry around a full water bottle. Most of us compulsively consume liquid in front of us (how many times did you have to pee the last time you were at a sit-down restaurant where they kept your water glass full?), so it can be really helpful to have an extra large water bottle, especially if you're the type to clip it to your backpack or purse strap so you don't leave it behind.

If having a water bottle around isn't enough, you could also install an app on your phone. I've enjoyed using Plant Nanny, which makes it into a sort of game. And they have really adorable plants that you can earn and take care of! There are other app options available if that one doesn't float your boat. Find one that works with your personality and lifestyle.

Alternative (Better) Period Products

My whole life, I was a girl who swore by tampons. Pads never did it for me, since my period is so heavy and I like having the option to be physically active without much concern. (I don't always take advantage of the opportunity, but it's nice to know I could run an impromptu marathon...or go to Zumba, really.) However, since my flow is so obscenely heavy, I've had to use multiple super size tampons at once (usually three of them) at the peak of my flow if I wanted to get through more than an hour without changing my tampon. (Yes, I've seen a doctor. Yes, I'm okay. I just need to take extra iron to help balance the decrease in blood.)

Enter the menstrual cup.

I agree, it is the weirdest thing that couldn't possibly work. Except that it does. It's kind of amazing that I don't have to buy tampons anymore, and I can go 4-5 hours at the height of my period without attending to the Feminine Crime Scene. Most women go 12 hours at a time without "changing" (washing, really) their menstrual cup. That being said, if you have to change it while you're out and about, the manufacturer says you can just wipe it out with toilet paper and then put it back in. That's what I do, and I haven't had any issues.

It's surgical grade silicone, and you don't have the same concerns about Toxic Shock Syndrome as you do with tampons since there's no dangly string. Which brings me to another point: No pee string! They say you can pee while wearing a tampon and it won't interfere with anything. Strictly speaking, this is true. But then you have a urine-soaked tampon string hitching a ride in your underwear, and I have never been able to handle that. But now I don't have to worry about that! I can pee without any trepidation.

For sizing, the manufacturer of the cup I use says that you should order the size large if you're over thirty years old and/or you've had children (regardless of whether you gave birth vaginally) and you should order the size small otherwise. If you do order the size small and it feels like it moves around a lot, you probably need the larger size. If you order the large and you have leaks, you may need the small. Oddly enough, there is no size medium

If you can't abide the idea of tampons or anything else "up there", you might try Period Panties. Supposedly you can wear them instead of tampons or anything else. I've never tried them, but I do know a couple of people who swear by them. Personally, I'd want to try them out on a day that I stay in and don't go anywhere. Because free-flowing sounds terrifying to this woman who doesn't even like pads.

Let me know if you use them, and how they work out for you! I'd love to hear about it. Seriously.


I know this should probably go without saying, but good hygiene while riding the crimson tide (especially if you use pads or Period Panties) is vital. Not only will it promote good vaginal health, but you'll feel fresher and more clean.

Shaving or waxing can really help you to clean more easily and to stay clean. I wrote a little blurb about shaving your bikini area and easily preventing pain and razor burn that you should check out. It's really easy, and it involves deodorant, believe it or not!

Avoid Aspirin

Ibuprofen is heaven-sent to relieve cramps, bloating, and headaches Aunt Irma brings you most visits, no matter how many times you tell her chocolate is always a better present.

Sometimes, though, the only thing on hand during High Tide is Aspirin. As tempting as it might be, don't pick up that bottle! Aspirin is a blood thinner and can actually increase or lengthen menstrual bleeding, according to the CDC. Just don't do it.

Get Enough Vitamin D

It's been estimated that over one billion people don't get enough Vitamin D. Some studies show that Vitamin D can help improve menstrual regularity and PCOS. In a more general application, studies have shown that Vitamin D deficiency plays a role in depression and other mental health disorders. So, if you don't get enough sun and Vitamin D-rich foods while you've Fallen to the Communists, you're just adding an extra dose of of melancholy to your menstrual blues.

Look at that: Bleeding for a week is an excuse to get some extra sun! Or at least take some Vitamin D3 supplements. But that wouldn't be nearly as fun as hitting the beach.

Increase Your Iron Intake

We all know that Surfing the Crimson Wave depletes our iron reserves, and that we should get more iron during that week. This is why many of us crave cheeseburgers and dark chocolate 25% of the month. Wait, dark chocolate is rich in iron? Sweet! But in case you're counting calories (not something we usually do here in the Fat Family), you can also load up on chickpeas (hummus!), quinoa, or kidney beans.

If you're just looking for a quick fix, you can always take an additional iron supplement. As I mentioned above, I lose a lot of blood monthly. That's on top of my regular deficiency, so I have to take an extra supplement for it.

Dealing with Nausea

During my first two postpartum periods, the nausea was so violent that I actually threw up. In fact, nausea is usually the first sign that I'm about to go In the Red. Apparently it's a function of your reproductive hormones.

To manage nausea, you first have to make sure you aren't doing anything to exacerbate the issue:

  • Eat frequent, small meals. Getting too full will contribute to nausea, but having a completely empty stomach is actually worse, generally.
  • Avoid greasy foods. I'm sure you've all experienced eating a large greasy meal (come on, you're reading a post on a blog entitled "Fat Together"--let's dispense with any pretense, shall we?) and feeling slightly ill some time afterward. Greasy food can also increase acne problems, so it's probably best to steer clear of them while Your Uterus Hertz.
If you aren't contributing to the nausea with your eating habits, it's time to turn to some other methods of control:
  • Ginger
    • Drink ginger tea, ginger soda, or...something to do with ginger essential oil, I'm sure.
  • Acupressure
    • Some people swear by sea bands for nausea. I was never able to keep them in place, but you might have better luck.
  • Shock therapy
    • No, seriously! Stay with me! It's not really shock therapy. That was just a little joke. The Relief Band stimulates some nerves with a mild amount of electricity, and while you keep it on, it mitigates or completely relieves your nausea. I can attest to this one. I get awful motion sickness if I'm in the passenger seat of the car for longer than about 7 minutes, and the Relief Band has given me back my ability to function as a normal human being while driving around the windy back roads when we travel. Worth every penny. Just make sure you follow the instructions properly, or it won't work very well. You don't even have to take my word for it: The Amazon reviews are phenomenal.

Avoid Caffeine

Caffeine can cause you to retain water and bloat, which is a problem most women already have while Monsterating.

Keep a Record

Trying to keep a calendar of the exact dates you Raise the Red Flag can be quite arduous. It helps you be prepared, especially for that time *every month* when you think you're done, but you find yourself rinsing out your cute panties the next day; but it really is hard to remember to put down the right date every time.

With the advent of smart phones, however, it's a breeze. Many apps will actually learn your body's schedule and give you alerts when it's time to stock up on period products. Or take your menstrual cup out of the cupboard. Whatevs.

One of the most popular period-tracking apps is the Clue app. With so many on the market, though, you can definitely afford to be picky and find one that you really click with. After all, if you don't love it, you're not going to use it, and that really defeats the point.

Bonus: Stop Being Ashamed!

Over half the population of the world will have angry unicorns stomping around in their uterus for a good many years. It's high time we stopped acting like it's something to be ashamed of. Now, I'm not about to run a marathon without period protection to raise awareness like this brave soul, but it's ridiculous that some women feel the need to apologize when she notices a man has overheard her ask a friend for a tampon. I even have a friend who regularly carried period products in his backpack at college to give to his female friends who were caught unawares. We need more men like that. But it starts with us. We need to stop apologizing, stop being ashamed. It's a part of life.


That being said, do you have any period horror stories? Any stories about feeling empowered or when you conquered your period? I'd love to hear them from you in the comments section.


  1. I was so sick prior to my first two postpartum periods that I thought I was pregnant again! Can you imagine my relief when the third month came around and I actually was pregnant? lol.

    *Disclaimer: I had Implanon placed 8 weeks postpartum and I just got it taken out when we wanted to start trying again. You don't get periods on Implanon.


Post a Comment

Get It on Amazon