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Managing Menstrual Symptoms and Accidents

Angela Oswalt Morelli , MSW, edited by Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

Managing Menstrual Symptoms: Cramps, Aches, Moodiness and Bloating

Many young ladies will experience various uncomfortable physical and emotional symptoms, such as cramps, headaches, backaches, increased moodiness, and bloating are associated with their menstrual cycle. These symptoms may occur before, during, or after a given period. Warm baths, heating pads applied to the lower back or abdomen, and over-the-counter pain relievers can help ease the pain of cramps. Limiting salt and caffeine intake, and increasing water intake can also help to relieve bloating. Girls should take care to get plenty of sleep and light to moderate exercise during their period to further ease their symptoms.

girl in painSome girls worry that they will not be able to participate in favorite activities such as swimming or other sports during their period. However, this anxiety is usually unfounded. The right combination of sanitary products necessary to manage their flow enables them to fully participate in these favored activities. If girls enjoy yoga, they should inform their instructor of their menstrual period, as the teacher will instruct them to avoid certain poses and to substitute others that may further ease their discomfort.

Managing Menstrual Accidents

Even with the best preparation, every young lady will experience an accident in which she bleeds onto her clothes because her period has started unexpectedly, or because her flow was unexpectedly heavy. Girls can plan for this eventuality and can keep spare pants, underwear, and plastic bags in their locker, gym locker, or perhaps stored with the school nurse, so that they can change their clothing if it becomes necessary. Youth should also keep spare hygiene supplies in their locker, backpack, or purse. As well, in some schools, the school nurse may keep a limited supply of pads and tampons on hand to issue to needy students in emergency situations.

Girls may also experience accidents during sleep due to awkward positions, or because of heavy flow. Some girls may choose to sleep with an old towel under their hips to prevent having to change all of the sheets in the event of an accident.

Blood stains are hard to get out of clothing and bed linens if not properly handled prior to and while being washed. Parents should teach girls about pre-laundry stain-removal products, and to launder their soiled clothes or sheets as quickly as possible in cold water so as to prevent blood stains from setting, and becoming permanent. Some articles may need to be scrubbed with cold water by hand to remove most of the soil before laundering in a machine. It's not a good idea to wash blood-stained clothing in hot water or to machine dry a stained clothing item before the stain has been entirely removed as the heat will tend to set the stain permanently.

 




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