Periods are nobody's favourite time of the month, especially if you get the painful kind of cramps. During my live I've experienced everything from symptom-free times to pain so bad I couldn't even get up to take a painkiller.
If you regularly have very painful periods, it is something you should talk about to your doc. However many women have periods that are only slightly uncomfortable, alternated with painful ones. My doctor explained that this is because of magnesium -- our body needs it to deal with cramps, and sometimes at the end of your period there isn't much magnesium left for the next one (which will be more painful). She also said that the body absorbs magnesium pretty quickly, so you can pop a magnesium supplement if you feel bad at the start of your period. If your body gets too much magnesium, you might get a bit of diarrhea, but that's about it. An even better way of getting magnesium is eating food with a lot of magnesium, like leafy greens, avocados, bananas, almonds and... raw chocolate. Chocolate contains a lot of magnesium and this is probably the reason that women crave it, but apparently chocolate is so processed that the body has a hard time getting the magnesium. Enter raw chocolate or raw cacao, where the cacao has not been roasted and is minimally processed. I find raw chocolate delicious but expensive, so I get my fix with smoothies: raw cacao + bananas + water. Yum!
Primrose oil is also a great fix for period problems! One teaspoon of oil three times a day, on the day of your period. You can also apply the oil on your hormonal blemishes. The evening primrose oil does taste awful, so you might want to try it in tablet form. Just a word of warning: it doesn't mix well with painkillers!
It makes sense to take it slow on those days, and maybe even plan the week around the event so that you don't end up doing something highly stressful or physically demanding.
An app can be useful to keep track of things. The Period Tracker is a nice one (albeit a tad too cutesy for my taste), especially because it lets you note symptoms if you want to, and displays interesting things like probable ovulation times. Other essentials include a hot-water bottle, a bar of good, dark chocolate, and a menstruation cup (that post is three years old, and I'm an even bigger fan of the cup now).
I also found that my periods are much more bearable when I have been exercising in the past weeks. Anyone else had a similar experience? Also, what is your period survival kit?photo credit: 欠我兩千塊 via photopin cc