While not widely known as a menstrual cramp remedy, TENS therapy (which stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) has been shown in multiple studies to ease stubborn period cramp pain (read about it here). People usually use TENS for bad backs, knees and shoulders–but wherever it’s used it works the same way: tiny, painless electrical impulses scramble pain signals, triggering relief.
Decades of research prove that ginger root can both ease and prevent cramp pain when taken on the days leading up to and including menstruation. That’s because compounds in ginger block the production of prostaglandins–chemicals behind cramp pain–which is the same way nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories work. Read about dosage and cycle days to use ginger here.
Research shows that heat eases menstrual cramps by blocking pain signals and reducing uterine spasming. If you’re not a fan of disposable heat patches, this non-toxic, gel-filled belted heating pad is the answer: It’s reusable and can be heated with either a microwave or hot water. Get menstrual migraines? Pop the gel pad in the freezer and you can use it as an ice pack to reduce your brain pain.
As your estrogen rises throughout your Week 1 and Week 2, it reduces your appetite slightly and makes you more focused on good-for-you goals, such as avoiding junk food and eating more healthy, nutritious foods. This makes your Week 1 a good time to take out any kitchen tools that help you with this goal, such as a food processor, air pop popcorn maker or this easy-to-use vegetable steamer. Learn more about how your eating habits change across your cycle here.
Tired during your period? Low estrogen is one culprit. Another could be low iron, which is common during menstruation because you lose energizing iron as you bleed. Eating more foods with iron helps replenish this mineral. So does taking a multivitamin with iron every day of your cycle. These multis are specially formulated for women 18 to 49 and are smaller, making them easier to swallow. Bonus: Research shows a daily intake of iron from food or supplements also reduces premenstrual symptoms.
As your Week 1 goes on, rising estrogen has a way of pushing you to start new projects or pick up where you left off on old ones by increasing energy and ambition. To keep track of your plans, progress and goals, a dry erase whiteboard is essential. It easily allows you to jot down quick ideas, cross off to-dos you’ve accomplished and change details as needed—then wipe it all away and start again!
If you tend to be sad during your menstrual week, it could be because your brain isn’t producing mood-boosting serotonin fast enough despite rising estrogen helping it along. What can you do? Try taking a daily dose of a multispecies probiotic. Emerging research has linked several strains of “good” bacteria (including those in this particular probiotic blend) to a greater production of serotonin and other mood-managing brain chemicals, leading to fewer blue moods and greater feelings of happiness.
There’s nothing like a Week 1 surge in estrogen to fire up your interest in your personal projects, work or other passions. One reason is because this rising hormone revs optimism and motivation. Another is because it makes you more easily inspired by other people’s achievements. So, what better way to instantly rev inspiration than thumbing through this collection of 52 pioneering women who broke ground in art, aviation, politics, science and other notable fields?
Even if you prefer to be adored for your personality, achievements and talents, research shows that rising estrogen during the first half of your cycle still makes you enjoy it when folks notice your physical attributes, too. Makeup and hair products are two ways to boost your beauty. An even better way: Natural at-home recipes that nourish your face, body and hair, giving them a healthier appearance.
You know how you can pee on a stick to find out if you’re pregnant? The same easy method can also help you detect when you’re ovulating. When you dip an ovulation test strip into your urine, a chemical in the strip measures levels of a certain hormone (luteinizing hormone) that spikes right before ovulation. Results come in as little as one minute.
This tiny ovulation detecting microscope is as small as a lipstick tube and you can use it anywhere. Just dab a little saliva on the lens, let it dry, then look through the eyepiece. The level of salt in your saliva peaks at ovulation, creating dots, sticks or ferns on the lens. This provides easy tell-tale clues about where you are in your cycle.
Use this especially sensitive thermometer right after waking, but before getting out of bed, to measure your basal temperature, which is your body temperature when at rest. On the day after you ovulate, your basal temperature rises slightly—about .4 to one degree Fahrenheit—due to an increasing level of progesterone.
Thanks to elevated estrogen and testosterone, your libido, ease of orgasm and orgasm intensity all peak throughout your Week 2. Take advantage of these hormonal benefits by using a vibrator alone or with a partner to heighten physical sensations. This innovatively-designed award-winning vibrator is rechargeable, made of environmentally-safe and body-safe materials and has no unpleasant plastic odor. To learn more about how your sex drive varies across your cycle, click here.
During your Week 2, high estrogen makes you more upbeat, extroverted, energized, animated and, above all, chatty! This makes it a perfect time to gather friends for a fun game that involves sharing opinions and showing off your smarts–and Head Scratcherz, a card game that provides 47 head-scratching questions, helps you do just that. By the way, Head Scratcherz was created by Hormonology founder Gabrielle Lichterman!
Research proves it: You have more brilliant ideas now than during any other time of your cycle thanks to peaking estrogen revving brain speed and making you less judgmental about ideas you come up with. Now you can make sure you never forget a stroke of genius while showering (a place where many of us think up our best plans) with this waterproof paper notepad and pencil set that attaches easily to your shower wall with suction cups.
If you’re sensitive to rising estrogen, you can experience anxiety or restlessness during Week 2 of your cycle since this hormone prompts more arousal in the brain. If this happens to you, consider drinking chamomile tea. This mild-flavored herbal brew contains natural calming compounds that can take the edge off. To find out how your hormones impact anxiety throughout your entire cycle–and learn more natural remedies to ease it–click here.
Did you know that you’re more prone to catching a cold or other virus during your Week 2? It’s because your immunity weakens a bit at ovulation as a way to help you get pregnant if you’re trying to conceive. One way to keep sickness at bay is keeping your hands clean by washing them regularly and stashing travel-sized sanitizing gel in your pocket, purse, car or backpack. Here are 5 more easy ways to stay sniffle-free.
During your Week 2, high estrogen pumps up your energy as well as your motivation to be healthy, making this a great cycle phase to start a new exercise regimen or recommit yourself to an old one. At-home exercise equipment (like this treadmill) makes sticking to a workout all cycle long easier since you don’t have to worry about weather, traffic or other obstacles impeding outdoor workouts or bother jockeying for space at a crowded gym.
One reason you crave foods that are sweeter and saltier during the second half of your cycle: Your taste buds become less sensitive, so it takes more intense flavors to make you feel satisfied! If you’re going to eat sweet or savory snacks during this cycle phase, make it a special treat–like these gourmet chocolate-covered pretzels–since a once-in-awhile indulgence fulfills cravings even more effectively.
It’s normal to want to curl up on the couch with a book, TV remote or tablet during your Week 3 since progesterone–a sedating hormone–mellows you out. What’s more, research shows that this hormone also makes you more sensitive to chilly air–either from the a/c inside or weather outdoors. This makes a sleeved blanket–which keeps you warm, but also lets you use your hands–the ideal Week 3 accessory!
Once Week 3 arrives, constipation often isn’t far behind. That’s a side effect of rising progesterone, which slows down movement in your digestive tract. One easy, natural way to get things moving again? Prune juice! Grandmas have sworn by this fruit’s mild laxative effects for generations–and science shows it really works! Want to know more about how your bathroom habits change across your cycle? Click here!
As progesterone climbs higher and higher, this sedating hormone can have a subduing effect, making you tired or foggy. To boost alertness without caffeine, inhale peppermint, for instance, adding this pesticide-free peppermint essential oil to a diffuser. The invigorating scent activates areas of the brain responsible for waking you up!
Two common problems you face during the second half of your cycle are constipation and fluid retention—both due to progesterone. To the rescue: Magnesium! Not only does it naturally and gently loosen stool, taking 200 mg. every day of your cycle has been shown to reduce Week 3 and Week 4 bloating by helping to balance electrolytes.
During the first half of your cycle, rising estrogen amps up optimism and energy, making it easy to find motivation for work, hobbies or other tasks. During the second half, as this hormone dips and progesterone rises, you can get more easily discouraged and become stalled. When that happens, opening this collection of inspirational quotes from accomplished women and men throughout history can reignite your passion, prompting you to keep going.
Thanks to the sedating effects of high progesterone, you’re more able (and more likely) to nap while traveling, taking lunch breaks and during other lulls. Now you can make it easier and more comfortable to fit in a refreshing snooze with this inflatable neck pillow that fills up within five fast seconds. Simply put it around your neck and you can avoid faceplanting into your keyboard or using a stranger’s shoulder as a headrest.
It’s a fact of life: When progesterone rises, so does your appetite and desire to snack on sweet, salty and fatty treats. If getting to the bottom of a barrel of ice cream or family-sized bag of chips has left you reeling with guilt in the past, then try fulfilling your desire to nosh with this collection of 30 individually-sized healthier natural, organic snacks, including veggie straws, granola bars and sunflower seeds.
As progesterone rises, it can bring out your urge to mother since it’s a hormone related to pregnancy. One way to fulfill this desire to nurture is by starting an indoor herb garden, which you can do even if you don’t have a green thumb thanks to this set that provides all the supplies and non-GMO seeds you need along with easy step-by-step instructions.Buy Now
Plunging estrogen can make this the worst time in your cycle for sleep. One reason is because you become more sensitive to sleep disruptors, such as light and noise. To boost your chances of a better night’s rest, try blocking these sleep robbers with a sleep mask and ear plugs like this set. And, to learn more about what kind of sleep you can expect all cycle long, check out the Hormonology Guide to Sleep.
Acupressure wristbands have long been used to ease nausea caused by pregnancy and seasickness. Now research shows they help you get better sleep, too–something you’re more likely to need in your pre-period days. How it works: It applies gentle pressure to a part of the wrist (the “Shen Men” point) that triggers deeper relaxation. Learn more about it–and other study-backed sleep remedies–here.
Breathing in the soothing, lightly sweet scent of lavender has proven therapeutic effects throughout your monthly cycle (read 5 ways it helps here). Two key ways lavender comes in handy during your premenstrual week, in particular, is by lifting your mood and improving sleep. Use the essential oil in a diffuser or, if you prefer, opt for lavender in other forms, such as sachets, spray or potpourri.
Research shows that menstrual-related migraines (those that pop up before or during your period) are longer, more painful and more difficult to treat. Fortunately, there are natural, study-proven ways to reduce their frequency and intensity–and taking 100 mg. of coenzyme Q10 up to three times daily is one. For more natural, study-proven migraine remedies, check out this Hormonology infographic.
As estrogen drops in your premenstrual week, it can make aches and pains more pronounced. Unfortunately, pain pills come with a wide array of risks, such as stomach bleeding and liver problems. An all-natural, pill-free solution: A topical ginger balm you rub on affected areas. Research shows that anti-inflammatories in ginger (gingerol and shogaol) reduce swelling and dull pain signals, improving comfort.
Treating yourself to little luxuries, like a warm soak in the tub with an organic, vegan bath bomb, in your premenstrual week isn’t self-indulgent—it’s downright medicinal! That’s because anything that reduces stress and lifts your spirits helps ease current premenstrual woes, such as irritability and the blues. And research proves that enjoying these stress-reducing moments regularly slashes your likelihood of premenstrual symptoms in future cycles.
Chocolate is one of the most widely craved foods during the premenstrual week—and some experts say it’s because it triggers a rise in pleasure-inducing brain chemicals that boost your mood within minutes of consuming it, reversing premenstrual sadness or irritation. While candy bars are one way to get your chocolate on, this rich cocoa powder is more versatile: It can be added to cold drinks, made it into hot cocoa and used in recipes. Bonus: It won’t arrive as a melted mess during shipping.
A decline in estrogen can make you more sensitive and in touch with your emotions, which makes it a perfect time to channel your thoughts and feelings into art, such as collage, music, painting or poetry. Not sure what kind of art you like? Then try coloring, for instance, with this coloring book filled with uplifting affirmations, which has become popular among adults who find it to be a positive, creative and destressing outlet.
Research shows you tend to gravitate more toward romantic comedies (like the classic Bridget Jones’s Diary), dramedies, stand-up comedian specials and other funny entertainment during your premenstrual week. That’s because a good laugh keeps pre-period sadness, aches and anxiety at bay by distracting you from worries and prompting the production of mood-lifting endorphins that leave you feeling blissful.
IMPORTANT: Ask your healthcare provider before starting any new herb, supplement or vitamin. When using an ovulation detector, please keep in mind that you can get pregnant from unprotected intercourse on days other than your ovulation day, including the week leading up to ovulation and the day after ovulation. So, continue to use your preferred method of contraception on all cycle days.