Ah, a woman’s favorite time of the month: the bleeding days. Despite the nice reassurance that you are not pregnant, I don’t think anyone actually “has a happy period”—it’s annoying (you never know when it could strike!), messy, painful, and can stain those expensive-ass Victoria’s Secret drawers. Thus, we present the Literally, Darling survival guide. Everyone’s period is different, so here are LD writers’ different ways of coping with their periods.
FOR NOT-SO-BAD PERIODS:
Birth control that works: “I’m on the birth control pill (happy 4th anniversary to being on it) so my period is pretty OK. Take away my pill and I will not be responsible for my actions.”
Birth control that works-ish, but you’re lazy: “The birth control pill I take makes it so I only have a period once every three months, so I’m pretty lucky compared to most. Still, when that month rolls around, I’m hit with bad cramps, a wicked hormonal migraine, and sometimes vomiting. I’m annoyed with how much money women have to spend on feminine products, so I try to keep it simple and am hesitant to invest in new products, but I’d love to pick more environmentally friendly things. Right now, my go-to routine is:
- Off-brand tampons, usually Target. I also have used Lola tampons but they’re a little too pricey and the applicators are sometimes hard to use. I’m trying to convince myself to switch to the Lunette Cup, though.
- Kotex liners (unscented, and they aren’t wrapped in plastic so I feel slightly better about the environment).
- Imitrex for migraines, and ibuprofen (500 mg ) on the days it lingers you can get these from an online pharmacy.
- Ginger ale or Sprite on days I feel sick to my stomach.
- Ben & Jerry’s The Tonight Dough—because calories don’t count when you’re on your period.”
Nexplanon: “Got Nexplanon because my period was so bad that I was debilitated for days on end. Was also diagnosed with PMDD. My second one was inserted a year and a half ago and I haven’t gotten a period since then. It’s magical.”
FOR MEDIUM-BAD PERIODS:
Combination Eco-conscious + Try-Anything-Once: “I am a great experimenter when it comes to my period, so I have developed a very specific routine.”
- Lunette Cup: cups are the absolute best.
- o.b. tampons: best shape for no leaks (Tampax are legitimately painful for me), and no applicator so I can discreetly palm if needed.
- THINX hiphuggers: black. I use these instead of pantyliners on heavy days or on their own at the tail end of my period.
- Always liners: no stupid plastic envelope, best thickness/odor protection.
- Sanders Dark Chocolate Fudge: turns all ice cream chocolate-craving-ready.
- Towels I don’t care about, sex. “I don’t get cramps but it does put me in a much better mood!”
FOR PERIODS THAT ARE ACTUALLY THE DEVIL INCARNATE
PMDD + Anemia = Hell: “Before I got on the pill, I was suffering from PMDD, which made my period hard enough to live with. Add anemia to the mix, and you have a deadly combination. Since popping down pills and tablets every day for a week and a half didn’t seem like a great long-term solution, I resorted to a pre-period diet rich in iron, zinc, and magnesium: It didn’t magically cure me of all my ailments, but it did help a lot! And combined with ibuprofen, it did the job.”
- beans and legumes
- dark leafy vegetables
- dark chocolate (I avoid dairy, so I definitely over-indulge with the chocolate)
- meat (red meat especially)
- magnesium supplements
- green tea
- cinnamon infusions
Thermacare Menstrual Heatwraps: “These were a runaway favorite among staff with satanic periods.”
Traditional Medicinals Raspberry Leaf Tea: “Raspberry leaf is supposedly good for the uterus. Can’t vouch for the science but it does help.”
Natural Calm: “Or just plain old magnesium supplements.”
Ibuprofen: “600 mg every five hours.”
Pads: “Either some big old diaper pads or Always Infinity pads.”