14 Things To Avoid When You Have Your Period

Remember when you’d try get out of swimming or doing sports at school because you had your period? Well, although those days are over, there are actually some activities you should avoid when Aunt Flow visits every month. Here are 14 foods, exercises, and lifestyle habits that need to be sidelined.

  1. Drinking coffee Yes, you love your morning coffee before work, but caffeine’s a no-no during your period. This is because it restricts blood vessels and reduces blood flow, which can make your period cramps worse. That sadly means your favorite chocolate bar has to get sidelined too. This may not affect everyone, but if you’re particularly sensitive, you should avoid.
  2. Getting waxed A leg or bikini wax will have to go on the back-burner for a few days until your period’s over. This is because your skin feels more sensitive during your period, so the wax will hurt more and might even cause your skin to feel irritated and become red.
  3. Having a breast exam These can feel uncomfortable at any time of the month, but even more so when you have your period. Your hormone levels change when you’re menstruating, which can make your breasts feel more sensitive to pain during mammograms.
  4. Weighing yourself Step off the scale! If you’re tempted to weigh yourself, delay it for a few days because the scale could give you a false reading. It’s not uncommon for some women to gain up to five or more pounds during their periods! Luckily, this excess weight is water and goes away when your period ends.
  5. Snacking on salty treats If you’re craving delicious French fries, eat something healthier. You really want to avoid consuming salt during your period because it can make your body hold onto more water and give you that nasty stomach bloat that makes you feel pregnant. Ugh.
  6. Smoking If you can’t do without your cigs, bear this in mind: a study published in the Tobacco Control journal monitored over 9,000 women for 13 years and found that the risk of having chronically painful periods was 41 percent higher for current smokers. Women who kicked the habit were more likely to recover from their menstrual pain, so there’s a good reason to stop smoking for good.
  7. Digging into a bowl of ice cream Sadly, dairy’s got to be ditched during your period even though it’s comforting AF to consume foods like cheese, milk, and cream. Dairy makes you gassy, and since you’re already feeling gassy during your period because of hormones, it can lead to some awkward social situations.
  8. Having unprotected sex You might think that unprotected sex isn’t a biggie during your period, but don’t! You can still fall pregnant and you might be putting yourself at greater risk of STIs, as studies have shown. There’s a higher risk of contracting STIs during your period because there’s more blood, so diseases and infections are more easily transmitted. Yuck.
  9. Going mad with perfume down there You feel self-conscious about how you smell during your period, but that doesn’t mean you should go to town with fragranced soaps and hygiene products. These are bad news because they irritate your vagina and can cause infections. Ironically, fragranced products can actually cause your vagina to produce more foul-smelling bacteria. Just keep the area clean the way you normally would instead of going overboard.
  10. Forgetting to change your tampon You’re so busy at work that you totally forget to change your tampon. That’s not on! Set an alarm on your phone to remind you in future because you should change a tampon at least every four or five hours otherwise you risk infections and Toxic Shock Syndrome, which can be fatal. If you’re wearing a pad, change it every four hours, and a menstrual cup should be changed every 12 hours. No exceptions!
  11. Pulling an all-nighter You need sleep during your period because you feel more tired than usual, especially with period cramps taking it out of you. But there’s another good reason to head to bed. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases more stress hormones, so that’s not cool. Especially since you’re already stressed out during your period because your hormones are going haywire. FFS.
  12. Wearing the wrong bra If you grab any old bra in the mornings, you’ll want to pay better attention to choosing a comfy one during your period. Your breasts are sore and tender during this time of the month, and sometimes can be a bit swollen, so comfort should be your number one priority. Sports bras rule because they’re all about ease and support.
  13. Going to yoga class Exercise can be beneficial during your period because it floods your body with endorphins that make you feel good, but some yoga positions are best avoided during this time, specifically the inverted poses. The reason is that they involve you standing on your head which makes blood vessels in your uterus collect more blood, leading to a heavier flow and possibly more cramps. Ugh.
  14. Boozing it up Two glasses of wine might relax you when you’ve got your period, but give them a miss. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause your periods to become irregular. OMG. This is because alcohol temporarily raises your estrogen and testosterone levels, which get in the way of your body’s hormones natural changes that are required for ovulation. In fact, watching your booze consumption is good to do every day, not just when you’re menstruating – stick to one drink or less daily to prevent any complications.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.