So you got your period at school, and you 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, you probably have some favorite ways to get rid of the pain, but those things may not be as accessible when you’re out of your house.
Luckily, we’re here to help, with tips for how 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 you.
Many foods are known to have beneficial properties and can help with period cramps. If you know your period is coming, or are already on it, consider packing some of these in your 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 keep you 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 your period is coming, consider adding a banana a day to your diet before and during, and packing one into your 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 you when you know your period is about to hit, and have a bite around lunch time to help with period pain at school. You can always share with your 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 diet around the time that you think your 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 your period pain. Electrolytes take care of the electrical activities in your muscles, and hydrating them helps relax the muscle, which, in turn, can help alleviate some of your cramps. Sports drinks like Gatorade are usually readily available at most grocery and convenience stores–perhaps your school has a vending machine dispensing them that’s within reach. If not, consider keeping a bottle in your locker for any future emergencies.
If you have access to hot water, chamomile tea has a whole host of benefits that can help get rid of your 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 your period, but the emotional toll it can take on you as well–it’s actually able to regulate and modulate dopamine and serotonin levels during your period, which can help take the edge off some of the lower end mood swings you 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 you’re drinking enough water throughout the day to benefit not only your period pains, but also your general wellbeing.
Of course, medicine is the fastest way to alleviate your period pain. Painkillers like Ibuprofen or period pain-targeted Midol can be a quick way to get through the rest of your day at school with ease. Consider keeping a small amount of pills in your backpack or locker so you are prepared anytime cramps strike. If you forgot to bring your own, a friend or the school nurse may be able to help you 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 you from the pain as well as lower inflammation in your body. If you’ve got some time on your lunch break or between classes, consider taking a short walk around campus to help ease those period cramps a little bit, or try a simple forward bend stretch if you’ve got some space.
Consider preparing for future periods by packing a period emergency kit to keep in your backpack with some snacks, medicine, and a sports drink. You can also help lessen period pain at school in the future by avoiding things that may trigger them or make them worse, such as excessive drinking, smoking, and caffeine (caffeine does not help your cramps in general), and large amounts of dairy.
Overall, period cramps can be an uncomfortable experience, but if you’re prepared, you’ll be sure to take on the school day with confidence. Most period pain that folks experience can be common, but if you find yourself 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 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 you're feeling is normal or not. As always, visit a doctor if you’re worried about how your symptoms are disrupting your everyday life.