Unbearable period cramps are often the reason some women take leave from work
And for those who can bear with it while working, the monthly experience is often a matter of luck and hoping not to “get it” while at work. It's a problem our male colleagues will never truly understand.
Some countries have taken the initiative to provide paid menstrual leave such as Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan and recently, Italy.
However, for those of us who live outside these countries, here are a few ways we can conquer our period cramps at work and avoid taking a precious day off
1. Choose tea over coffee
A cup of coffee is a common way to start your day. Coffee tends to make you feel ‘happy’ and ‘energetic’ as caffeine tends to stimulate these common psychological feelings.
However, if you face bad menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea), it is best to keep away from caffeine. Caffeine tends to constrict your blood vessels, reducing oxygen and nutrition flow, which aggravates menstrual cramps.
Tea would be a better alternative. However, you should stick with non-caffeinated teas such as chamomile, peppermint and ginger. These keep you well hydrated and keep your estrogen level stable, thus reducing your PMS symptoms and menstrual cramps.
2. Use birth control pills (with a doctor's consent)
Birth control pills can be taken to regulate your hormones during your periods. These pills can help maintain a steady hormonal level and reduce the intensity of menstrual cramps you face during your periods.
However, it is important to consult a doctor as it can have side effects (weight gain, increase in appetite) if you do not know the type and dosage of birth control pills you need.
3. Use heat therapy patches
Heat therapy has been scientifically proven to reduce menstrual cramps. By applying heat to the abdomen, blood vessels will dilate, increasing oxygen and nutrient flow to the cramped muscles.
Heat also helps stop pain signals from reaching your brain, increasing the general level of comfort during your period. There are disposable and natural heat therapy patches available in the market, such as MenstruHeat, which lasts for about 12 hours (an entire day at work).
4. Take a walk
A walk from your desk to the toilet, pantry (to get tea), photocopy machine or just to take a break can really help you.
This helps to stretch your abdominal muscles and increase blood flow to the cramped muscles, releasing pressure and reducing your menstrual cramps.
5. Eat snacks! Healthy ones, of course. :)
Certain types of foods you consume will give you great benefits when dealing with your period. Snacking throughout the day will help keep you satiated. However, it is important to eat less junk food - consider snacking on dried fruits, tea and cucumber.
Dark chocolates will also help fulfill your cravings and the high magnesium level will help alleviate menstrual pains. It is also a healthier option in comparison to chocolates that are high in fat and dairy content.
Fibrous foods such as oats, fruits and salad can also help reduce PMS symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea and constipation.
Take note of all these tips and you'll be on your way to conquering your period in no time!