Cramps and pains? Cravings? Worried about Toxic Shock Syndrome? We have all your period hacks and answers.
What can I do about my period cramps and pains?
Period pains can vary in intensity, and can include pelvic pain and backache, which is usually made worse with PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome). PMS is linked to:
- Feeling weak and dizzy
- Feeling grumpy and irritable
But, it’s quite easy to take care of the cramps and pain by doing regular exercise, taking some over-the-counter painkillers made especially for period pain, or placing a hot water bottle or microwave heat pillow on your stomach area. If they’re debilitating, however, you should visit your GP.
How soon will my period return after giving birth?
Your period will start again after six to eight weeks after giving birth, but this also depends on if you are breastfeeding exclusively or not.
- If you are breastfeeding exclusively, your menstrual cycle may cease until you stop.
- If you are combining formula and breastfeeding, or only breastfeeding at certain times of the day, you’ll most likely experience spotting than a heavy flow.
I get intense food cravings – what can I do about them?
Many women get food cravings when they have their period. It could be for sweet, savoury, sour, or ‘comfort food’. Some even have pica: cravings for unusual things to eat such as sand, clay, chalk, or even soap, which can be harmful!
When you find that you are craving certain types of food (like chocolate), you can always try some healthier alternatives:
- For sweet cravings, try carob, raisins, dried cranberries, yoghurt, fruity ice-lollies, or iced tea
- For salty cravings, try popcorn, pumpkin seeds, trail-pack snacks, crackers with mashed avocado, or hummus on a rice cake
- Try cranberry juice for something sour
- Rather than having bread and doughnuts for those carb cravings, try bananas, rice cakes, fruit salad with frozen yoghurt, or sesame-seed bars
To help with PMS, you could also talk to your pharmacist about taking a magnesium or vitamin B supplement, or even some evening primrose oil.
Read more: How to prevent bladder infections from sex
What must I do if I suspect I have Toxic Shock Syndrome?
Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is caused by staphylococcus aureus, a common type of bacterium. You can get TSS if you’ve left your tampon in for too long, so make sure you change your tampon every four to eight hours, depending on your flow.
The symptoms of TSS are varied, and not all symptoms are always present. The symptoms to look out for are:
- Sudden headache
- Some muscular pains
- Sudden fever of 39°C or higher
- Fever and cold sweats
- Vomiting, diarrhoea or both
- Dizziness and fainting
- Some weakness or confusion
- Rash looking like nasty sunburn
Should you experience these symptoms, consult a doctor, clinic or casualty as soon as possible, as TSS can be life-threatening.
To avoid the risk of TSS, try using pads instead of tampons at night while you sleep.
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