Aunt Flow. Rag. Moon time. Red Badge of Courage. Lady Business. Girl Flu. Red Roof Inn. Mother Nature's Gift. Riding the Cotton Pony. Shark Week. What do all of these names have in common? They all mean the same thing: a women's mensuration. Now, when it comes to periods and travel, what are the best products and practises to make that time of month easy to deal with? Read on.
Pack for Your Period
If you know you're going to get your period during your travels, I recommend stocking up ahead of time. This means packing your bag with the supplies you use at home. This is especially important if you're traveling to rural places or countries that may not carry tampons or specific brands you typically purchase.
Pack Plastic Bags
Before you leave for a day of exploration, make sure to stick a small plastic bag in your pocket or daypack. Why? While you may be used to flushing tampons down the toilet at home, many plumbing systems around the world get clogged up. There may be times you're in a bathroom without a garbage can as well. If you have a plastic bag, you can put your tampon or pad in there and dispose of everything when you do find a garbage can.
I can't talk about periods and travel without talking about menstrual cups and reusable pads. What are they? A menstrual cup basically looks like a shot glass for your vajayjay and replaces disposable pads and tampons. Why are they awesome?
- They are great for the environment.
- They take up little room in your suitcase.
- They are healthy for your body.
How does it work?
You basically fold it in half (you'll see me demonstrate in the video above) and insert it into your vagina (not demonstrated in the video above). It reopens once it's inside, fills up with menstrual blood, and once it's full, you just pull it out using the cord like attachment (also shown in the video above), dump it, clean it, put it back in, and go on with your day. What's really great about a menstrual cup compared to disposable pads and tampons is it can last up to 12 hours (on a regular flow kind of day) before you have to empty it. This is great when you're out and about because you can just wait until you get back to your hotel.
There's a company called Glad Rags that makes reusable pads and panty liners. Whether you have a heavy or light flow, Glad Rags has you covered. They even have panty liners and pads for thongs...yes pads. for. thongs. They are made using organic cotton, making them super soft and chemical free. To clean them, you just rinse them off and throw them in the washing machine. Easy peasy.
When it comes to periods and travel, a swimsuit made specifically for menstruation is the dream. I haven't personally used a period swimsuit yet, but I am very intrigued. Panty Props is a company that make swimsuits for when you have your period, meaning you don't have to use a menstrual cup or tampon when you're in the water. These swimsuits have a built in pad system that is absorbent and apparently you don't have to worry about leakage. The real question though...Is it shark week approved? I'm not sure. If you've tried one of these swimsuits, I'd love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and share your feedback.
A cup of tea goes a long way when you have your period. I like to bring tea with me when I travel for several reasons, but it especially comes in handy when I have awful menstrual cramps. Sometimes I get them so bad that I will literally crawl and pull at the carpet or anything I can get my hands on (sorry Siya <----my husband if you didn't know). I try my best to avoid taking pills, so in these situations I turn to a cup of soothing tea. My favourites are lavender, chamomile (the lavender-chamomile combo is the best) and peppermint. I also bring teas made specifically for that time of month like: Earth Mama Organics Periodic Tea, and Traditional Medicinals Smooth Move
I use essential oils for many different things, including menstrual cramps. I love a company called Saje. They make a lot of really beautiful combination oils that can be used for different things. I especially love my peppermint halo oil for headaches and my moon cycle oil for when I'm PMSing. The moon cycle oil is a combination of germanium, Roman chamomile, lavender, rosewood, grapeseed oil, apricot kernel oil and vitamin e. You just roll is over your lower abdomen during those monthly mood swings and bloating, and it gives you natural relief from premenstrual tension while soothing the emotions and lifting your mood.
If you're like me, then you pretty much live in loose, comfortable clothing every day. This is especially important when I feel like my insides are going to explode thanks to period bloat. Some of my favourite brands for super comfy, yet fashionable attire are Faherty (very boho chic) and Prana (love them yoga pants).
Water, Supplements and Exercise
Got cramps? Get that H20 in ya! Also, vitamin D is often referred to as the "period vitamin." Vitamin D can help decrease pain by modulating the pathways of prostaglandins, chemicals involved in inflammation and pain which trigger uterine muscle contractions. Exercise is another great remedy for mensural pain. I know it may seem like a horrible idea since the last thing you want to do when you have excruciating pain is move, it really does help. Exercise increases blood circulation, which helps cramps to go away. Menstrual cramps are also made worse by stress and exercise reduces this.
Hot Water Bottle
Another period friendly item that I absolutely love is a hot water bottle. When it comes to periods and travel, this is a must have item. It doesn't take up much room in your luggage, and all you need is access to hot water for it to work its magic. You place it on your lower abdomen, and it will feel like a warm hug to your lady parts. You can also use it on extra chilly nights to help keep you warm.
That's it for talking about blood, periods, Aunt Flow, whatever you wanna call it. As women, this is something we gotta deal with throughout a large chunk of ours lives, and you too men if you have a lady in your life. But, hey, without periods, no one would be here. So, thank you menstruation!