It’s bound to happen sometimes: Vacations, holidays, or just plain old fun times often fall during your menstrual cycle. While stopping periods altogether isn’t typically recommended (it requires a prescription), some simple methods can speed up your flow and shorten your cycles. Here are several ways to get rid of those pesky cramps and make periods end faster before they ruin any holiday cheer.
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What is the science behind the length of menstrual bleeding?
Regardless of the length of one’s period, on average, a woman’s period lasts between 2 and 7 days and occurs every 21 to 35 days, depending on the individual.
Hormones play an important role in controlling the menstrual cycle. Initially, the process starts with the release of a hormone called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GRH) from the hypothalamus in the brain. An important role of this hormone is to stimulate the production of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) by the pituitary gland. The normal function of the ovaries is primarily dependent upon these hormones, regardless of the fact that these hormones are released in the brain. There are a lot of things you need to know about your periods if you thought they were pretty straightforward.
The ovaries produce estrogens and progesterone under the influence of FSH and LH. There is a direct interaction between each of these sex hormones, as well as a feedback mechanism, in which a large amount of one hormone can slow down the production of another.
1. Take oral contraceptives
To achieve optimal results, taking the pill at the same time every day throughout the entire length of treatment is recommended. The active ingredient(s) in some types of contraceptive medication can cause side effects, especially during the initial period of usage. In addition, women who smoke cigarettes while using any form of birth control must avoid smoking because nicotine interferes with hormone levels and thus reduces the effectiveness of the drug. Women who do not wish to get pregnant may consider alternative forms of birth control, such as condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, intrauterine devices, or implants. These methods require additional attention and care; however, they provide reliable protection against pregnancy without relying upon hormones.
2) Have Sex
Having an orgasm during sexual activity helps ease premenstrual symptoms. An orgasm also generates strong muscular contractions within the pelvic muscles, helping to push away any remaining fluid from the womb before menstruation begins again.
4. Get enough rest
Sleep deprivation affects both physical and mental performance. Lack of sleep causes fatigue during waking hours, impairs memory function and concentration, increases anxiety levels, and reduces immunity against illness. If you feel tired throughout the week despite getting adequate amounts of sleep at night, consult your physician for guidance. Consider taking naps to catch up on lost Zzzs. You’ll feel refreshed after catching some ZZZZ’s.
Weight fluctuations can affect your periods by making them irregular, such as the case with missed periods and low body fat. On the opposite end of the spectrum, it’s also possible to have lighter flow rates if you are underweight, or if you’re struggling to maintain your BMI. Women who are obese often have heavier periods due to excess estrogen produced by fat tissue. However, those experiencing heavy, painful symptoms for several days per month may benefit from speaking with their physician about potential hormone tests. These doctors can also provide suggestions to assist in losing weight slowly and effectively if needed. Taking measures to manage your weight over time will ultimately lead to healthier menstruation patterns moving forward.
5. Get the Right Nutrients
Certain micronutrients, such as B vitamins, are essential to your overall health. Certain nutrients can even ease up your periods while alleviating PMS symptoms. Vitamin B6 is one of the nutrients that can affect your periods. It’s found naturally in foods such as eggs, fish, and poultry. Vitamin B6 has been found to increase progesterone while decreasing estrogen in the body. This can help improve pituitary gland function to normalize menstrual hormones. One study found that zinc, an essential mineral, was helpful in alleviating painful period cramps (dysmenorrhea).
It’s thought that zinc has similar effects as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen. Study participants reported relief from cramps when they took 30 mg doses of zinc up to three times per day. You can also make sure to get enough zinc-rich foods in your diets, such as meat, legumes, and dairy. Magnesium is another mineral that can potentially help alleviate long, painful periods because of its anti-cramping effects. One study found that a combination of magnesium and vitamin B6 was helpful in alleviating symptoms of PMS. Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements to treat your periods. In the meantime, make sure you get enough magnesium in your diet via nuts, seeds, greens, and fish.
To ease menstrual discomfort, stay hydrated throughout your monthly cycle. Aim for at least 8 cups of fluids per day. This can include plain water, tea, coffee, sports drinks, juice, milk, broth, soups, smoothies, coconut water, Gatorade®, Ensure®, and Pedialyte®. These beverages contain electrolytes and minerals that help thin your blood and reduce swelling. They also provide nutrients and energy that aid recovery after exercise.