So your teen got their period at school, and they came prepared with a pad, tampon, or our period panties. But suddenly, somewhere between science and English class, the pain strikes. What a nightmare. At home, they probably have some favorite ways to get rid of the pain, but those things may not be as accessible when they're out of your house.
Luckily, we’re here to help, with tips for ow to deal with period cramps at school, how to get rid of them fast, and what to do to be better prepared for the future. Read on to find a remedy that works best for your child.
Many foods are known to have beneficial properties and can help with period cramps. If you know your teen's period is coming, or are already on it, consider packing some of these in their lunch bag for the future.
Not only are they typically cheap and easy to find, but bananas are also known to be very helpful for dealing with period cramps (and PMS). The potassium in bananas helps the body keep from holding onto water and bloating. Moreover, they also contain loads of other nutrients, like magnesium and fiber, which help lower the severity of existing cramps and encourage smoother and healthier bowel movements, respectively.
If you know their period is coming, consider adding a banana a day to their diet before and during, and packing one into their lunch for a healthy and helpful snack between classes.
Dark chocolate is full of magnesium, which can help dull period cramps. How does it work? “Magnesium helps relax muscles and may stop the production of compounds that signal cramps.” Consider packing a small bar to take with them when you know their period is about to hit, and suggest they have a bite around lunch time to help with period pain at school. They can always share with their friends, too!
Ginger can act as a natural remedy for so many ailments, including period pain. Ginger lessens inflammation and pain, and can be taken in a number of ways–add it to almost any meal, brew it as a tea, or just chew it raw on its own. According to one study, “taking ginger 2 days before the onset of the menstrual cycle was significantly better at decreasing the duration of pain.” Consider adding some ginger into your teen's diet around the time that you think their period will arrive for a better chance of lessening future cramps at school.
Due to their electrolytes, sports drinks like a Gatorade, Vitamin Water, or Powerade might help ease period pain. Electrolytes take care of the electrical activities in muscles, and hydrating them helps relax the muscle, which, in turn, can help alleviate cramps. Sports drinks like Gatorade are usually readily available at most grocery and convenience stores–perhaps their school has a vending machine dispensing them that’s within reach. If not, consider having them keep a bottle in their locker for any future emergencies.
If your teen has access to hot water, chamomile tea has a whole host of benefits that can help get rid of period cramps. It’s actually known to have “anti-spasmodic” properties, which means it can help alleviate the muscle pain caused by period cramps. As an added benefit, chamomile tea can help with not only the physical aspects of their period, but the emotional toll it can take on them as well–it’s actually able to regulate and modulate dopamine and serotonin levels during periods, which can help take the edge off some of the lower end mood swings they might experience as a result of it. Drink up!
Sports drinks and teas aside, staying hydrated is a major way to ease cramps, both now and later. Make sure they're drinking enough water throughout the day to benefit not only period pains, but also general wellbeing.
Of course, medicine is the fastest way to alleviate period pain. Painkillers like Ibuprofen or period pain-targeted Midol can be a quick way to get through the rest of a teen's day at school with ease. Consider keeping a small amount of pills in their backpack or locker so they are prepared anytime cramps strike. If they forgot to bring their own, a friend or the school nurse may be able to help them out.
Although the thought of staying in bed all day with your cramps might be tempting, at school it isn’t exactly an option. The good thing is, movement can help to both distract from the pain as well as lower inflammation in the body. If they've got some time on their lunch break or between classes, tell them to consider taking a short walk around campus to help ease those period cramps a little bit, or try a simple forward bend stretch if they've got some space.
Consider preparing for future periods by packing a period emergency kit to keep in their backpack with some snacks, medicine, and a sports drink. You can also help your teen lessen period pain at school in the future by encouraging them to avoid things that may trigger them or make them worse, such as excessive drinking, smoking, and caffeine (caffeine does not help cramps in general), and large amounts of dairy.
Overall, period cramps can be an uncomfortable experience, but if your teen is prepared, they'll be sure to take on the school day with confidence. Most period pain that folks experience can be common, but if your teen finds themself dealing with extreme symptoms, it may be time to consult a doctor.
Is it okay to miss school for cramps and period pain?
If your child's symptoms are severe enough, it's perfectly okay to call in sick or visit the school nurse. Read our story on severe period symptoms to help determine whether what they're feeling is normal or not. As always, visit a doctor if you’re worried about how their symptoms are disrupting their everyday life.