If there’s something all menstruating people can agree on unanimously is that periods are as unique as they’re annoying. The symptoms and side effects you suffer from during your period will differ greatly from your BFFs. This is why some women coast through their periods with a smile on their face and an abundance of light coloured bottoms in their wardrobe, while others are ready to commit murder if someone takes away their hot water bottle away from them. So it’s safe to say that what works for you during your period might not work for someone else.
We asked the women around us to share some hacks that always work for them when they’re on their period, whether to get rid of the blues or relieve pain, and here’s what they had to say…
Shweta Tripathi Sharma
While the question of which period product is best to use when you’re menstruating is one of the most Googled ones out there, Shweta Tripathi has it all sorted. The Mirzapur actress swears by using a menstrual cup during her periods, saying, “You save your itches and scratching and also the world at the same time!”
Actress Nimrat Kaur is still unsure whether the advice she was given to regularise her cycle actually worked or if it was just a coincidence. “Whenever I’ve been waiting for my period and it’s been delayed for whatever reason, I’ve been advised to have papaya,” she says, “I always laughed it off, thinking ‘how ridiculous!’ but one day I got really impatient and thought ‘why the hell not?’ and I tried it. Lo and behold, It worked!”
“I keep thinking of the term period hacks, and wondering what they even mean. Each person’s period is so personal. It’s also amazing how periods have a life of their own—at times they take the life out of me and sometimes they spare me,” says Shaili Chopra, founder of Gytree and SheThePeople. One of the things that make Chopra feel better when the period pains hit is working out. “It’s been remarkable for me to use exercise as a means to manage the pain. It broke many taboos for me as a teen—because few women would exercise even though it’s highly recommended. I didn’t care about spotting or what my aunts said about staying in one room, I wanted to normalise it for myself. It’s hard on bad days and I cut myself some slack but mostly I invest my period management on movement and jogging.”
Designer Shyma Shetty has three rules during her period: Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate! Aside from drinking more water than she usually does, the co-founder of Huemn says she avoids consuming too much alcohol or caffeine. “I enjoy warmth—hot showers, cuddles, and I nap with a heating pad,” she adds. Shetty also claims that she needs the most TLC on Day Two of her periods. “I’m moody and sore; and my partner and I, make a date night out of it to lift my spirits. Now, whenever I get an app notification that my period is around the corner, I stock up on a decadent dark chocolate ice cream I love and know that it’s gonna be an indulgent few days where I just take care of me, above all else.”
Another person who swears by the virtues of a menstrual cup is Swedish-India model-actress Pragya Kapoor. According to her, they’re the best alternatives to sanitary napkins that are inconvenient and harmful for the environment. “It’s been a while since I started using them and I won’t be exaggerating if I said that it has been a life-changing experience—they have a longer wear time, produce less odor, the chances of leakage are fewer, are pocket-friendly, and allow one to have a green period since cups are reusable for as long as a decade,” she says, adding, “I know it takes some practice to learn how to position it correctly, however once that is figured out, the whole process becomes a cakewalk. I would honestly urge everyone to at least try it out once because it is convenient in more ways than one.”
Co-founder of The Moon Village, a wellness cafe and studio in Mumbai, Samiksha Shetty has a special concoction that helps relieve pain during her period. “Take a glass of hot water and add a pinch of turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper and lemon to it, and mix it all together,” she says, “Turmeric and cinnamon are spices that are known to help in regulation of hormones and reducing the symptoms of PMS.” Aside from this, she relies on the trusty hot water bottle to help alleviate discomfort because of cramps. She also recalls a hack that her grandmother shared with her, “My grandma always says that sucking on a small piece of jaggery helps manage the pain and mood swings through the day.”
Another person whose cycle is much better when they exercise is Bengali actress Ritabhari Chakraborty. “People are often told not to exercise around their period. I think it’s the other way around,” she says, “If I have taken a good run or walked on the treadmill for fifteen minutes it has actually helped my flow better. Of course, lifting weights comes with its own problems and that can be avoided since it puts pressure on the uterus. Running, walking or any cardiovascular exercises actually help better my flow and relieve cramps. This might sound odd to people who don’t exercise during their period, but it really works!”
Mimi actress Sai Tamhankar says she likes to bathe twice when she’s on her period. “Hot water baths are my absolute favourite!” she says, adding “Another period must-do for me is always using cotton underwear and applying powder.”
Designer Shehla Khan has the most unconventional approach to feeling good during her period. While most of the world relies on heat to get rid of the pain and discomfort, Khan trusts the cold. “Sitting in the cold with an ice pack under my back and stomach alternately is my go-to hack,” she says.