When you’re on your period, there are a number of activities you definitely don’t feel like doing because of how your how your body feels. There are also a number of things you should never do on your period, not just because they don’t feel great, but because they could also harm your health or make you feel even worse. That time of the month is already a bummer as it is, so why make it harder on yourself?
“Normal fluctuations in hormones during the menstrual cycle alter neurotransmitters that are responsible for a variety of functions, including mood, libido, appetite, anxiety, emotion, pain, and pleasure,” says Sara Twogood, MD, FACOG over email. “The changes and relative levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone throughout the menstrual cycle, including during the period itself, are also responsible for many of the changes women notice (such as breakouts, bre*st tenderness, etc).”
Everyone’s body is different, so some people may be more sensitive to these things than others, but if you struggle through your period, it might just be best to avoid these things altogether. Here are 11 things you should never do on your period if you want to feel your best and avoid discomfort:
Even though you might have the ultimate craving for French fries, nibbling on some salty snacks can actually make your period symptoms worse. “Salty foods contribute to the bloating/water retention that women feel around the time of their periods,” says Dr. Angela Jones, OB/GYN over email. Eating salty foods can also worsen cramps.
2. GET A WAX
“As if a bikini wax wasn’t torture enough try doing it while you have your period — double trouble!” says Jaime Knopman, MD over email. “Your pain receptors are extra heightened and your skin extra sensitive when you have your period. Add to that a pretty messy situation and waxing while on your period is not something you should do.”
3. HAVE UNPROTECTED S*X
“While unprotected s*x is never a good idea, it is a particularly a bad idea when you have your period,” says Knopman. “Blood is a good medium for viruses and other bugs. Therefore the transmission of things like HIV can be higher during this time period. Furthermore, the cervix is slightly dilated (aka open) when you have your period, which makes it easier for bugs to get from the vagina to the cervix and into the pelvis.” Plus, you’re not protected from pregnancy just because you’re menstruating. For women with more irregular periods, ovulation and bleeding can happen at the same time, meaning you can get pregnant if you have unprotected s*x, according to Twogood.
4. SKIP YOUR WORKOUTS
It definitely feels better in the moment to stay put on your couch rather than go to spin class, but doing your regular workout can actually help you feel better, alleviating headaches, fatigue, and even anxiety. “Exercise does the body good,” says Jones. “It will help re-energize you as well as help with menstrual cramps.”