I know, I know! The newest approach is to accept your period and instead of fighting it, get more attune with what’s happening and take rest etc. But let’s not pretend, it’s a still a real struggle. The cramps, the blood – it kinda looks like war or? But yes, I am also trying to change how I manage it and here are my tips:
I’ve been experimenting with reusable menstrual cups for several years now. I tried different brands, different designs and nothing felt good.
My first problem with them is because of my past with urinary tract infections (UTIs), that made my bladder and urethra quite sensitive (maybe it’s just in my brain, but it is there). While using a menstrual cup, my urethra is somehow being pressed on, and I will often have a feeling of having to go to the toilet right after I insert it, although my bladder is empty.
I never used tampons regularly, because it doesn’t feel good to put them in and with the cup, well… I feel like I’ve been raped a little. It doesn’t go in easily, and removing it is similarly uncomfortable. At the end, I found an ok solution: the Selena cup, that has a ring on the bottom and it’s easier to grab, however there is still the suction, that needs to be released – using two fingers squishing the bottom of the cup before sliding it out. Furthermore, these cups keeps leaking in my case, even after I am sure I inserted them properly. And during yoga asana practice, that is a pretty big part of my life, they leak even more (probably the suction is somehow broken during exercise). At the end, I found myself changing disposable panty liners several times in a day, while using this type of menstrual cups.
Recently I found out about a different type of reusable menstrual cup, or rather a menstrual disc, called NIXIT. Which’s design is based on disposable menstrual discs, that I didn’t even know were a thing.
The Nixit disc is much easier to insert for me, since once folded in half, it slides in along the rim, in contrast to the suction cups, that look like a bell, and are inserted with the rim going perpendicular, therefore hitting “bumps” and get stuck on anatomical folds. They simply go in in a more rough way. Secondly, the Nixit disc doesn’t use suction, but instead you have to tuck it up behind the pubic bone. After it slides in, the front part needs to be pushed up and I actually found it pretty hard to “untuck” it using my fingers. Furthermore, the Nixit cup leaks only a little while I use it. It’s probably just the liquid still left underneath it that will exit.
An interesting part about using the Nixit disc is, that when I would go to pee, there will be a little blood leaving too. On the Nixit website, it’s explained, that this is totally normal and natural, because of the bearing down that happens during peeing. And although Nixit also presses on my urethra, preventing me to pee with as much speed as I would love to, haha, it doesn’t cause me to have an acute feeling of needing to go to the toilet while my bladder is empty. After experimenting a little, I actually found out, I can pee properly while squatting or properly sitting on the toilet, instead of that hovering that we women do on public toilets. So that’s been a new experience for me,D
So in my eyes, Nixit is magic! Especially, if you are struggling with the more common suction menstrual cup. But it might not work for you too, because of it’s size and special position, that requires specific anatomy.
Lastly with Nixit, it’s safe to have it inside for 12 hours and it empties a little every time I pee, or it’s possible to untuck and empty it that way, without removing and reinserting the whole thing. I only remove it in the evening in the shower.
Nixit sends their cups from Canada, and they have free shipping if you buy two (you can buy one for a friend). However, you probably will pay duties and import tax if you live in Europe.
This was another alternative that I tried in order to find a more sustainable approach to handle my period flow.
I love my Thinx! I even used the underwear as the only protection during one cycle. But it was exhausting a little bit. I have a medium heavy flow and I would need to change the hiphuggers two times during my first two days. And to wear the boy-shorts for night (which I still do and they are the best and most comfortable underwear they make).
If you want to try them out, I would suggest to size-up for the more absorbent hiphuggers and the sports version. These keep “hugging” my thighs and glutes a little too much. My favorite undies from Thinx though, are the less absorbent ones: cheeky and air. These are perfect for lighter days or as a back-up if you use a cup and they actually fitted me true to size. Especially the cheeky undies are not cutting into my skin and therefore are possible to wear underneath leggings and not be obviously visible.
I also own the leotard from Thinx and that one is my least favorite product they offer. It is way too short (I am 163 cm/5 Feet, 4 Inches and bought the size S) to do yoga in it, since it slides down bellow my nipples, even if I really secure it using the ultra-thin-skin-cutting spaghetti straps. And don’t even start me on how much the bottom cuts into my butt in some yoga positions.
From Modibodi, I own the Seamfree Bikini – great for heavier days and seam-free at the same time (hello leggings!), Seamfree Full Brief for night and Sensual Hi-waist Bikini, that are made from bamboo and spandex and feel comfortable to wear. The fit was perfect for me in all three (I wear size S).
The difference between these two brands is the lining they use. Thinx is using organic cotton, while Modibodi merino wool. While my impression was that the merino wool absorbs better and I felt more fresh while wearing them, the lining is a little bit thicker and you can feel that you are wearing an extra padding.
The disadvantage is, if you want to change your underwear during the day, you have to carry the used undies with you afterwards. I like to wash it at least a little bit, before putting it carefully into my bag to dry. Wearing only one pair the whole day during heavy days doesn’t seem like a viable option. You don’t feel fresh and the underwear starts to weight a little too,D
My skin, as anyone else’s, will start to breakout few days before and during my period. It’s true. Raise your hand if your doesn’t! (And probably no one did…)
I never was a fan of aggressive chemical-based skin products for acne. Or at least, they never did what they advertised. Few months ago, I started to use skincare oils as the only care products after washing my face with water and clean hands.
Recently I was gifted the I am Love oil made by Fre Skincare* in collaboration with an amazing yoga teacher Talia Sutra (go and check her out, she is the purest being out there <3). Fre Skincare specializes into cosmetic products for active women and this product totally helped me to have fewer breakouts and making the ones that were created to heal much faster. (Side note, just avoid your eyes…)
My day-to-day oil is the “Prebudenie” oil from a Slovak company mylo.sk. And both of these oils feel very light and silky on my skin. They add just the perfect amount of hydration after the skin is cleaned.
Additionally, I apply tea-tree oil to specific break outs. (Did you know that tea-tree oil is not edible? Just avoid mouth and eyes when applying it.)
Cramps & Pain
I will often have headache before my period starts and heavy cramps during the first day or two. And I am not going to lie, I use ibuprofen (the lowest dose possible) and that works consistently for me. But, we all know that this should not be abused and I always try to avoid it if possible.
That’s where the CBD oil comes into the play. I originally bought it for my anxiety, but it actually works for pain more effectively. I am so used to take ibuprofen, that I usually forget about the oil… But I tried it few times and it helped with the cramps, but not with the headache. If you know about something else that works for a headache I welcome any suggestions!!!
BTW I only started to have the headaches as I got older, or never noticed it before. So I am not sure what has changed or why it started later in my life. Exhaustive exercising makes them worse. So if you are like me and have this weird pre-menstrual headache too, try to take it slow few days before your period starts.
The CBD oil I use is from Medi Hemp.
Prediction & Technology
The Clue App is my favorite app for cycle tracking and it has been amazing in predicting when my period starts. Using it is very easy and even if it is off, I got much better at seeing my symptoms, because I can always check where in my cycle I am (approximately). But maybe symptoms recognition is just another skill that you get better at with age, lol.
Period sucks. It’s the truth. But we can get better at managing it with few tricks and modern inventions, while still protecting our environment and our bodies.
Let me know in the comments, or write me an email, if you have more questions, or if you want to share your way of dealing with the cycle!
* affiliate link (you can use code “LENKA” to get a discount!)