Hi everyone! Let’s talk about periods today – I’m not talking punctuation. I mean our monthly “gift” that reminds each of us every month that we are women and that we are not pregnant. From mood swings, to bloating, to nausea, fatigue and pain, periods can disrupt everyday life if the symptoms of PMS and your period are severe.
So how do we, as dancers, deal with our periods when we have important auditions, classes, rehearsals, or even shows coming up? How do you manage your flow when you’re required to wear only a leotard and tights, or are put in a skimpy costume and have to dance on stage? Here are some tips on how to deal with your monthly visitor and try to control her severity.
- Avoid caffeine the week leading up to your cycle
This one is hard for us coffee-addicts, but caffeine actually makes your period cramps WORSE! My OBGYN recommended to me that I avoid (as much as I can) caffeine intake when I am expecting my cycle so I can avoid intense cramps. She also recommended to take TWO ibuprofen (or Advil) a day three days before your period is supposed to come to reduce inflammation and pain intensity!
- Take Midol or an anti-inflammatory before your class or audition to reduce bloating and other symptomsMidol is great at reducing bloating, cramps, and the symptoms of PMS. If you don’t like Midol, try bringing Advil or an anti-inflammatory. I get bad migraines when I’m on my cycle, and anti-inflammatory medicines help reduce my nausea and headaches! If taking medicine is not up your alley at all, try eating foods that fight bloating the week you’re supposed to get your period. Cucumbers, watermelon, honey dew melon, bananas, egg whites, Greek yogurt, and grapes can all help fight your belly bloat.
- Wear an outfit that is appropriate for your class/rehearsal/audition, but also an outfit that makes you feel confidentOkay when we are bloating and on our periods the last thing we want to do is be half-dressed in tight clothing with important people (teachers, casting directors, rehearsal directors, etc.) scrutinizing our bodies. Try to accomodate your outfit so you are the most confident you can be. Afraid your panty-liner may show in your penche? Try putting on a wrap skirt. Are your breasts swollen and you need more support or coverage? Add a wrap sweater or a sports bra to keep you suported and feeling confident.
- BRING ENOUGH TAMPONS, PADS, & LINERS TO LAST YOU THROUGH YOUR DAY. ALSO BRING EXTRA CLOTHING!I cannot stress this point enough – bring extra feminine products so you know you are prepared for a long day! During the heaviest flow days of your cycle, sometimes pads/tampons will need to be changed every 2 to 3 hours (depending on your body and your cycle that month). So come prepared with extra everything!! – Even bring an extra outfit in case there are accidental leaks or stains (sometimes you can’t help leaks when you’re doing petit allegro!)
- Do your best, and don’t let your period come in-between you and your training or performancesYour period shouldn’t slow you down! Keep your head up, and don’t let the stress of your period disrupt your training or any of your dance endeavors.