How to Deal with Your Period at Work
6 January 2023
We all lead busy work lives and none are easy to manage whilst leaking fluid and dealing with menstrual pain at certain times of the month!
If you are a teacher tied to the classroom for hours, doing long shifts in a hospital, chasing children around as you childmind all day, driving a forklift in a factory - periods and your menstrual cycle can be a pain for all of us and making it to the toilet when we need to can be tricky!
Here's some tips on how to deal with your periods at work
Most people who menstruate have some experience with period pain, the older I get the more inventive my body seems to be getting - most will feel pain in their stomach and lower back but beware of the bum daggers, perfectly normal and nothing to worry about apparently!
These are all just caused by your uterus contracting but they can get in the way - especially at work.
Heat can help to alleviate period pain - as a home remedy use a wearable wheatbag that can be warmed in the staff kitchen, fill a hot water bottle (check the neck to see its in date) or use a heat pad, make time for a warm bath when you get home - a great pain reliever to look forward to.
Don't be afraid to use different types of painkillers to relieve menstrual cramps if they are making your day difficult - paracetamol will block pain or ibuprofen to help with inflammation.
There are specific period related pain killers that your pharmacist can talk you through (such as feminax - ibuprofen with added lysine or panadol period - paracetamol with added caffeine to work quickly - perfect if you are about to give a presentation!)
There is anecdotal evidence that highly absorbent tampons can make period pains worse - cramps originate in your uterus and are caused by prostagladins - so whilst tampons can't make your cramps worse they can lead to pelvic pain and discomfort as they dry out the vagina, if you find tampons uncomfortable opt for external protection or a cup when at work.
My Grandad used to say 'a workman's only as good as his tools' and the same is true of a comfortable period and sanitary products!
If you are changing in a communal toilet with limited bins, opt for reusable pads as they can be changed easily and be taken home with you again for rinsing and washing. No rustling wrappers and pad or tampon stuffed up a sleeve waiting for the bin.
It is good practice from tween years onwards to keep a little emergency supply in your bag for when mother nature decides to be unpredictable. My reliable 28 day cycle has switched to 24 days to keep me on my toes!
Wetbags come with our period pants kits and look just like a pencil case or make up bag and are a discreet place to stash pads, cups, reusable knickers or tampons.
Period pants are perfect for clean lines under a uniform, with varying levels of absorbency allowing you to wear them all day if needed and if your flow allows. They're available in many different styles too. From sassy, cute period briefs, to high-waisted period pants and plus-size period pants. There are also various kits to make things easy, including sporty cotton period pants kits or a high-waisted period undies bundle.
We even have poppered quick change pants if changing on the go is a must - designed after chatting to wheelchair bound office workers who needed convenience out and about and to military service people who sometimes need to change in transit or on active service.
"Pretty, comfortable and effective! These are full pants which I wanted to avoid lumps and bumps under clothes and these appear to give a slight tummy support. They also fit well, not tight around the waist. Love the lace design and the price having got these on offer And of course they do the job!" Natalie Nov '22 trustpilot
If you can, work from home on the heaviest days of your period - I am sitting here at home in my PJ's and blanket hoodie working - a much easier way to deal with perimenopausal flooding than managing at the office!
Not all of us can manage this so aim to avoid long meetings on your heavier days if they can be rearranged, plan your weeks workload around your period and aim to have quieter times when needed.
Make note of good toilet stops if your job has you out on the road, and stash supplies in the staff toilet when you get to work in the morning if you are going to be nipping in when you can in between lunchtime playground duty.
Staying hydrated can reduce period cramps. At the start of your period low hormone levels can cause you to retain water making you feel bloated. As fluid has left your blood vessels and made its way into the surrounding tissues you need to drink more to replace it and relieve the bloat! It will help with headaches too.
You lose a lot of fluid with heavy periods so to avoid feeling dehydrated, drink to replace these.
...... or nap .... nothing wrong with opting for that instead! Super restorative.
A quick stroll round the block or some stretches in a quiet corner will get your brain functioning and can help to ease cramps too.
Period pants are a great choice when exercising on your period - clean lines under leggings with reassurance from puddles - be they menstrual blood or star jump induced pee leaks!
"CHEEKY PANTS FOREVER I only wear these pants now every single day since a back operation left me liable to dribble where and when I don't want to. They are amazing. Never let me down yet which is such a relief, literally, especially when I'm teaching yoga.
They are comfy, not bulky and they wash superbly well. I've had some for at least 5 years. So great that I don't have to crackle in paper pants nor clog up the planet with single use. I have no grumbles, only praise. I bought my brother the male version and his are just as good. Yay CP!" Kaznard Nov '22 trustpilot
Heavy periods can be extremely disruptive and make it hard to be away from the safety of home. Flooding means you need to get to the toilet ASAP in most period protection and clotting is uncomfortable and leads to worry about leaking.
The horror of being stuck in a meeting while it feels like the contents of your insides are spewing forth from your loins with no chance to escape to clean up.
Pack a change of clothes and take a few reusable wipes dry in a wetbag that can be wet with your water bottle (see hydration above) to help with freshening up. You can double up with a cup or tampon alongside disposable or reusable pads and pants if you know you are going to go long stretches before toilet breaks.
Cheeky Period Pants are available in heavy absorbency options, with 5 different styles of heavy flow period pants available. Perfect if you suffer with horrid periods, but still have to get on with your life!
As a last resort save some holiday to be used for menstrual leave or period leave. Some people also find that hormonal birth control helps to lessen their flow.
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As always, if you're unsure of what you need to make the switch to reusable sanitary products and period pads, please do drop the team a line or use the online chat function. The team all use the products themselves and just LOVE to chat pee poo and periods, all day long, nothing is TMI and we all love to overshare based on our own experiences...
About the Author: Kirstin Scriven is part of the Customer Experience team at Cheeky Wipes, which since 2008 has been selling the original reusable wipes kit. She is mum to 3 and loves the forest, the sea and the hills!
Along with the rest of our crack team, she spends most days talking about poo, pee and periods and loves a chance to overshare. The business was recognised with a Queens Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in 2021, celebrating their hard work over the last 13 years.