6 hacks for a heatwave-friendly period

Periods, they’re wonderful, magical things and a sign that our body is working as it should, by my gawd can they be uncomfortable. Whether you experience pain during your menstrual cycle, feel uncomfortably bloated, suffer with headaches, fatigue or any of the innumerable symptoms that our monthly bleed can bring with it, we’ve never met anyone who feels that their period is a pleasurable experience.

So add in a casual heatwave, and you’ve got yourself a pretty sweaty recipe for disaster.

However, we’re not ones to take things lying down (metaphorically that is, we’re big fans of physically lying down during your period), and so we roped in Le’Nise Brothers, a specialist in all things women’s health, hormones and the menstrual cycle, and author of You Can Have a Better Period, a friendly, practical and highly effective guide to equip readers with tools to improve their period and menstrual cycle.

Below, Le’Nise has shared her top six hacks to ensure that you have a heatwave-friendly period, and we were pretty psyched to see that one of them included having a barbecue…

1. Top up your electrolytes

“We lose key minerals like sodium, potassium and magnesium when we sweat, so it’s important to keep topping these up in the hot weather, especially if you’re sweating a lot. Sodium and potassium help reduce bloating and magnesium helps reduce period pain and helps to manage menstrual anxiety. Drink mineral water or make your own electrolyte cocktail with orange juice, coconut water, pineapple juice and a few pinches of sea salt.”

2. Plan to go slow, even if it’s just by 1%

“During our periods, our body wants us to take it easy, because of the hard work it’s doing in shedding the lining of the uterus. The combination of a period, hot weather and a busy schedule is a recipe for feeling even more depleted, so look at your schedule for the day and see if you can find a little extra breathing room. This is especially important if you have a heavy period and / or are anaemic, which may mean that your energy levels will already be lower. Take a break – your body will thank you for it!”

3. Eat oily fish

“Oily fish are chockful of omega 3 fatty acids, an essential anti-inflammatory fat that we can only get from food. Adding omega 3s during your period is extra helpful because they help reduce the inflammation and prostaglandins (a hormone like compound) that contribute to period pain. For bonus points, pair the salmon or trout with colourful summer salads – the colours mean that the salads will be full of anti-inflammatory antioxidants.”

4. Get your vitamin D

“The vitamin D we get from the sun is easily absorbed by the body and very helpful for reducing period pain. Studies show that women with painful periods have lower levels of serum vitamin D, so topping up your levels with safe sun exposure is an easy and free way to have a better period. Try putting sunscreen on your  face as normal, but going outside with your legs, arms or midriff exposed for about 10 minutes. You can use an app like Dminder to track how much vitamin D you’re getting in each session.”

5. Stay hydrated

“It’s easy to guzzle lots of water when it’s hot, but remember that eating fruits and vegetables with high water content also helps you stay hydrated. My favourite trick for hot weather hydration is to slice up a watermelon, squeeze a lime all over, add some fresh chopped mint and two pinches of salt.”

6. Stock up on your favourite menstrual products

“Stocking up on your favourite menstrual products will mean that you have lots of options to help you stay fresh and comfortable, especially if you’re travelling away from home. If you plan on swimming a menstrual cup or a period swimsuit is a great alternative to using tampons or pads. Being in water is helpful for reducing period pain and the feeling of heaviness that might come with your period.”

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