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How to keep bloat and mood swings away during your period

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Many say women have it harder than men. Unlike our male counterparts, females have to go through many different struggles in life, one of which is the unpleasant visitor that comes every single month. 

During menstruation, not only does the body shed the uterus lining, it also goes through a group of symptoms called premenstrual syndrome that affects women’s mood and physical looks. According to Mayo Clinic, three in every four menstruating women have experienced some form of PMS. 

Doing Ashtanga yoga everyday helps alleviate stress and relieves cramped muscles

PMS includes both physical and emotional symptoms, but the most popular of which are mood swings and bloating. These two come on top of the painful dysmenorrhea that attacks the lower abdomen or back.

But having that monthly visitor – with all its unwelcome companions in tow – doesn’t mean women can no longer be functional members of the society. Here’s how ladies can survive and take charge during that time of the month. 

Exercise

When you’re feeling sluggish and your abdomen and back hurt like hell, exercising, let alone moving, may be the last thing you would want to do. 

“A lot of women complain about dysmenorrhea and about the unpleasant feeling of moving when they have their menstruation,” shares triathlete and former national polo player Dr. Lyllian Banzon. “But it’s not an excuse to slack.”

Instead of nursing the pain, Dr. Banzon stresses that women should instead move, as movement can often relieve the discomforts of cramp. She says there are many things women can do even if they have their monthly period. 

“There’s no contraindication that if you have menstruation you should not exercise,”  Dr. Banzon points out. “Stretch, jog, walk a little – anything. Just make sure you move in comfortable places, and wear comfortable clothing and good sanitary pads or liners.” 

Physical activities also help in alleviating stress, as the body releases endorphins when you exercise. 

Yoga teacher Bubbles Paraiso (left) shows the downward facing dog pose

Stretch and relax

Perhaps the best activity for one to relax and squeeze in some workout is yoga, one of which is Ashtanga yoga.

“Ashtanga is a very dynamic or yang type of yoga that works on your legs, core, shoulder strength and opens up your hips. It’s a good form of exercise for women,” explains yoga teacher and The Standard LIFE columnist Bubbles Paraiso.

Ashtanga helps regulate the flow of blood in our body, calm the mind and relieve menstrual cramps, as some asanas or poses relieve cramped muscles and boost one’s mood.

However, Paraiso says, “when you have your period, you are not supposed to be doing yoga.”

She instead suggests doing yoga everyday before your period. 

But for those who want to do yoga during their period, Paraiso recommends avoiding inversions “because when you’re upside down, it interferes with the flow of energy.”

Healthy snack options prepared by Dietitian Cheshire Que and chefs of Edsa Shangri-La Hotel

Eat right

During their period, majority of women feel moody and bloated. Why? Philippine-US registered dietitian Cheshire Que says its because we let our cravings get the best of us and give in to sinful, salty and sweet comfort food. 

When progesterone increases during menstrual cycle, the cortisol or stress hormone increases while the serotonin or happy hormone decreases. Decreased serotonin, according to Que, leads to craving for carbohydrates. 

“Serotonin comes from protein like fish, chicken and other lean meat. But since it cannot go to the brain without insulin, the body craves for carbohydrates,” explains Que. 

In most cases, many opt for bad and unhealthy food choices to get their “carb fix,” like chocolates, potato chips, and other processed food high in sodium and refined sugar. 

“When insulin is high [from high intake of sugar and carbohydrates] the body stores up fat all over. You’re in insulin fat-storage mode, the reason why you feel bloated,” expounds Que. 

Bloating is also a result of eating food high in sodium, which makes it all the more important to always be hydrated.

“When you feel bloated, drink lots of water and eat fruits and vegetables to help flush out salt in your body because usually its just sodium retention,” she adds.

Que suggests choosing lean protein (fish, nuts, chicken), complex carbohydrates (potatoes, red/brown/black rice), and food high in fiber (at least 3g of fiber per serving).

Menstruation is not an excuse for women to forgo exercise

Be secured

Coinciding with the Women’s Wellness Month this March, sanitary napkin and liner brand Jeunesse Anion reiterates its call for women to make the right choice when it comes to their pads. 

Jeunesse Anion’s wide range of products features a quick absorbing top sheet and inner material made of virgin pulp that helps relieve dysmenorrhea, eliminates bacteria, and may help fight against vaginal infections or irritations. 

The brand which celebrates its 4th anniversary is coming up with a new offering soon. 

Jeunesse official MJ Huang told The Standard LIFE that they will soon offer Jeunesse Anion sanitary pads and liners in single packs that will be available in supermarkets, convenience stores and sari-sari stores nationwide. 

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