Sneaky Secrets About Your Menstrual Cycle

You’re pretty sure you know the bare basics about menstruation? Yeah, yeah, it makes an appearance every month. And having your period can make you feel crabby, crampy or just plain weepy. Headaches, back pain, acne, sensitive boobs, even constipation or diarrhea -- yep, they’re all pretty common. But we know some secrets to help you feel more comfy when your monthly period comes calling. So give Mother Nature a time-out and try these tips, pronto!

Outsmart Your Bod
Up to 90 percent of younger women have period pain -- and it’s the top cause of school absences for girls. But taking an anti-inflammatory med, like ibuprofen, the day before your period can trick your bod into going cramp-free on day one. Brilliant, right? Predicting the date might be tough, since it can take up to two years to get on a regular cycle. But give it a shot. Grab a calendar and put a red heart around the day you start your period each month. Pretty soon, you might see a pattern. Oh, and stay away from aspirin, which can make periods last longer. No, thanks!

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

Feel like you can’t button your jeans? It’s called bloating, babe. Unfortunately, eating salty-sweet junk foods (exactly what you crave during your period) makes it worse. So does drinking caffeine, which can also intensify mood swings. To have a happy period, treat your belly right. Start by chugging plenty of water, which actually reduces fluid retention. Then opt for light, frequent meals that are rich in complex carbs (think whole grains, beans, fruits and veggies) and Omega-3s (salmon is delish). The fiber keeps you, ummm, regular, and the fatty acids may reduce cramps. Calcium and magnesium can help too. The perfect snack: low-fat string cheese with a handful of sunflower seeds.

Work It, Sister!

Sure, it’s tempting to curl up and watch a chick flick. And if that makes you feel better, go for it! But many girls find that exercise reduces cramps. Gentle yoga or Pilates stretches sore muscles and helps you chillax. Meanwhile, cardio exercises (like jogging, dancing or swimming) releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins that kick pain to the curb. Bonus: Girls who work out regularly report fewer period probs, so aim to keep active all month long.

Be a Hottie

Warmth does wonders for angry muscles. So make a heating pad or hot water bottle your BFF once a month. You can even buy mini heat-wraps that stick right in your undies while you’re out in public. (We swear nobody will know it’s there!) End your day with a cup of tension-taming herbal tea, a warm bath and at least 8 hours of sleep. We bet you’ll wake up feeling like a new girl in the morning.