A woman’s monthly cycle can affect her life in any number of ways, from a vague sense of discomfort due to using large sanitary pads, to intense pain, migraines and vomiting. But when it comes to travelling during the ‘time of the month’ there are ways to find the experience more manageable with just a little bit of pre-thought and planning.
Knowing when your period will happen during your holiday can be beneficial information. If for example, you know your flow and pain is heaviest on days 1 to 3 then you know that on these days, you may like to plan quieter, slower activities; for example, lying on the beach and taking a walk around the town rather than hiking through the mountains and jet skiing. As well as planning your activities around your period, you will also know how much protection to pack. If you will be on for the duration of a week-long holiday then you know to prepare for this whereas, if you know you will only be on for the first couple of days later you can pack a little lighter. Naturally, if you are travelling for several months, then keeping a few pads or tampons in your bag is worthwhile, but during your time away you can source local shops which sell sanitary protection, so there is no need to pack enough for the entire trip.
Tip 1: In the months leading up to your trip, keep a note of the dates when your period starts and ends and the symptoms each month to give you an idea of how you will feel over the holiday.
Sometimes, the hormonal highs and lows of the monthly cycle can create feelings of stress and anxiety and even mild depression. While this may be less likely when you are laid out on a hot, sunny beach, it can still be part of the cycle, so if you know you suffer from this type of symptom, then it is important to get prepared. Try using stress relieving mouth sprays, drops or calming pillow sprays in the lead up to the holiday to see if they help or if they suit you. Herbal remedies can be quite useful for this type of symptom, but naturally, if you suffer from anxiety badly each month, it may be worth booking an appointment with a GP or the experts at Click Pharmacy to discuss your options.
Tip 2: Create a calming music playlist and pack a soft blanket and travel pillow if you have space, to help you to feel relaxed. Creating a warm, comfortable environment will help ease cramps and painful bloating too which can both be made worse by feelings of stress and holding your body tight.
Ensure you have packed pain relief to cover your needs, bearing in mind that some countries have strict no-entry policies for specific medications, even ones which are legal in the UK such as paracetamol and codeine.
Tip 3: Alongside medicines, pack some natural pain relief methods such as heat patches and chamomile tea which can make all the difference to your comfort levels while flying or away on your holiday.
If your trip is short enough, then you could consider skipping your period entirely. If you are already taking the hormonal contraceptive pill, you can take an additional pack with you and skip the break during which you would usually have your period. While this would not be recommended over a longer term such as if you were travelling for a number of months, it could be a great option if you are away for just a week or two.
Tip 4: Alternatively, if you are not already taking the contraceptive pill and if you are away for several weeks, you could consider delaying your period through the use of a hormonal medication such as Norethisterone which allows you to delay your period for over two weeks if necessary.
Women’s options of sanitary products have thankfully developed over the years but before you take to the skies, consider the following options:
- traditional pads or tampons which are harder to dispose of hygienically depending on the country you are travelling to as well as the way you are going to your destination, e.g. trains may have limited bathroom facilities
- the menstrual cup which you can wear for up to 12 hours but is harder to clean using public bathrooms
- the sea sponge which again is harder to clean using public restrooms and may be best for anyone booking their private hotel room
- period underwear which needs to be washed in a washing machine between uses ideally.
Also look ahead at the facilities you will have around you at your destination before you go including:
- a laundrette
- the sanitary product disposal options (which may be limited in some countries)
- whether you will have a private or communal/unisex bathroom.
Tip 5: Pack disposable ziplock bags for your used products while travelling. This will keep them safely and discreetly stored until you can dispose of them hygienically.
Ensure you have packed clothes which you feel comfortable in. If swimming in a strappy bikini is not your thing while on your period, then consider and pack what you will feel good in. Also remember that travelling in potentially cramped and physically limiting environments, such as planes and trains, can be challenging when suffering from your period, so wear trousers which are nice and loose on your waist and an oversized top to cover any bloating you may experience.
Tip 6: Pack an extra pair of knickers and trousers for longer trips to change into midway through the journey which will help you feel refreshed.
Book an appointment to discuss your options with an expert from www.clickpharmacy.co.uk who can support you in creating a pre-holiday period plan and assist you in choosing the best option for you.