How to Fight Period Fatigue

Tired woman with head on laptop keyboard

Tired of being tired on your period? Here are some tips to wake you up!
Image: Shutterstock

Sure, cramps and cravings are bad enough, but one of the worst period and PMS symptoms out there could very well be period fatigue. How are you supposed to do all the things you're expected to do (and that are supposed to help with the other symptoms) if you're just too darn tired? Fear not! We've got a whole list of ways to fight period fatigue below.

But first, what exactly causes it? The jury's still out, but one study from the University of Adelaide in Australia suggests that it has to do with hormone levels. From about three days before menstruation until ovulation, estrogen and progesterone, the two main hormones associated with the menstrual cycle, are at their lowest. According to Leanne Redman, who reported the study findings, low levels of these two hormones means more waste products like lactic acid and carbon dioxide when you consume carbohydrates. "This can contribute to muscle soreness and premature fatigue," Redman said.

While we may not know precisely what causes period fatigue (though hormone levels are a good start), we do know there are plenty of things you can do to fight it:

  • Keep down the carbs. Foods that are high in fat, sugar, and carbs—like fast food, candy, or soft drinks—can not only cause the hormonal imbalances described above, but also mess up your sleep schedule and quality...which just makes you more tired.
  • Get the nutrients you need. Women always need plenty of iron, but this is particularly important during menstruation. Load up on lean meats, leafy green veggies, eggs, and dried fruit. Other nutrients to keep an eye on include vitamin C (which helps you absorb iron—try oranges and broccoli) and magnesium and B vitamins (which help fight fatigue—nuts and seeds are a good source).
  • Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, so you'll want to keep water on the menu as much as possible. And if you're drinking water instead of sugary soda and juice, you're double helping yourself out by cutting down on fat, sugar, and carbs.
  • Exercise. This one's tough, especially when you're already tired, but exercise will help your body release endorphins, which raise both your energy and your mood (not to mention reducing stress and helping with other period symptoms). But be kind to yourself! If you're not up for a full-on gym extravaganza, you can always do several shorter, lighter workouts in ten-minute intervals. Even just making an effort to get some walking or stretching in can help.
  • Talk to your doctor. If your period fatigue is completely overwhelming, you may want to see a doctor to rule out any medical conditions like anemia (caused by iron deficiency), folic acid deficiency, or a thyroid issue. It might be worth your while to start taking a multivitamin, too, to make sure you're getting all the nutrition you need.

If you're tired of being tired right before or during your period, know there are things you can do to fight period fatigue. Give the tips above a try, and you'll feel better in no time!

What to Do About Sore Breasts During Your Period

Woman with sore breast

Sore breasts can be...well...a pain. Here are some tips for dealing with them!
Image: Shutterstock

Breast pain is one of the most common symptoms experienced during the menstrual cycle—in fact, reports of sore breasts in the medical literature go back all the way to 1829! More recently, a study found that 69% of women attending an ob-gyn clinic had regular premenstrual breast pain. For some, the pain is so severe and lasts so long (at least seven days) that it’s referred to as cyclical mastalgia, which can interfere with sleep, work, school, social functioning, and sexual activity.

If you’re dealing with sore breasts every month, no matter what the severity, don’t worry! Though science isn’t entirely sure what causes it (most believe it’s related to the fluctuations of hormones), there are lots of things you can do to feel better right now.

  • Make sure you’ve got a really supportive bra. It’s estimated that 80% of women wear bras that don’t fit right, so make sure you’ve got the right size and style for your body! You might also try wearing it at night for extra support.
  • Take some time out. Relaxation techniques can do wonders to calm the nutty hormones behind sore breasts. Try soothing music or progressive muscle relaxation.
  • Go herbal. You’ll want to talk to your doctor to be sure you cover all the angles, but herbs with anti-inflammatory elements--including the herbs in GirlUninterrupted!—have been shown to reduce breast soreness.
  • Diet.  Keep an eye on your salt and caffeine intake. If you can manage to completely avoid salt for 1-2 weeks before your period—or at least cut way down—you’re less likely to encounter the more annoying PMS and period symptoms. You’ll want to cut down on high-fat foods, too.
  • Exercise.  You’ve probably heard this before, but exercise really can help relieve PMS symptoms, especially sore breasts. And, of course, it’s good for you! Even if you’re not up for your usual routine, try to do a little something every day.

Of course there are medications you can take as well, both over the counter and prescription. But the first line of defense should be taking a stab at these natural (and mostly free!) options. Just a few small changes to your daily routine can make a world of difference in dealing with sore breasts, not to mention other PMS and period symptoms.

5 Tips for Dealing with Menstrual Cramps—Naturally!

Woman in bed with cramps

Menstrual cramps are no fun--but there are easy, natural solutions!
Image: Shutterstock

Is there anything worse than menstrual cramps? Okay, there probably is, but it definitely doesn’t seem like it when you’re feeling like Mother Nature’s just kicked you in the gut.

Luckily, you don’t have to rush straight for the medicine cabinet! Check out these five tips for relieving menstrual cramps naturally:

  • Exercise. You may not feel like getting physical when you’re dealing with cramps, but studies show that exercise can relieve cramps by releasing beta-endorphins (basically feel-good chemicals). Exercise also helps burn the chemicals that cause muscle contractions more quickly, which means cramps clear up fast!
  • Heat. For generations we’ve heard that heat can help with cramps, and in 2006, Dr. Brian King proved it. His study showed that applying heat to internal pains such as stomach aches and cramps can relieve the pain for up to an hour.
  • Diet. What you eat makes a big difference in dealing with cramps. Instead of foods full of simple sugars and fats, which can make PMS symptoms worse, try nutrient-rich foods like turkey, whole-grain bread, flaxseed, and spinach, which can help prevent the inflammation that causes muscle contractions—the culprits behind cramps.
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco. Even though alcohol is a diuretic, it can cause you to retain water during your period, which makes cramping worse. Tobacco has been shown to cause menstrual cycle irregularities. It’s best to cut back on alcohol to one or two servings a day and cut tobacco entirely out if you can.
  • Reducing stress. Women self-reporting on their menstrual cycles and symptoms found that stress made their cramps worse during the first phase of the menstrual cycle. Stress can reduce the effectiveness of the immune system, too.

When the menstrual cramps get bad, know that you’ve got a variety of natural options to fight back!

Terms & Conditions for the GU Facebook Contest!

Enter the GirlU Facebook contest!Girl Uninterrupted is celebrating the release of its new look with a contest and product giveaway! We’re so excited to help women of all ages live their lives uninterrupted by PMS that we’re hosting a photo contest and giving away five compacts to the winners!

The theme of the contest is this: What would you do if you could live your life uninterrupted on those PMS-y days? We’ve paired some of our favorite celebrities with some of the activities they might help you work a little harder to do well… like running toward a smiling Ryan Gosling, for instance!

To get started, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/girluonline/ and click on our Girl Uninterrupted Photo Contest photo album, where we’ve uploaded five celebrity-inspired images. To enter, simply “like” or “comment” on your favorite photos in the album—that’s it! At the end of the contest, we’ll randomly select one winner from each photo. You can only win once, but the great news is that if you like or comment on more than one photo, you can get up to one entry per photo—increasing the chance that you’ll be one of the randomly selected winners!

The Girl Uninterrupted Photo Contest begins Monday, September 29th, 2014 at 12:00pm PDT and closes on Monday, October 6th, 2014, at 11:59am PDT. Winners will be announced on the Girl Uninterrupted Facebook page on Monday, October 6th.

Complete Contest Terms and Conditions:

Valid entries are comments and likes on photos in the Girl Uninterrupted Photo Contest photo album on Girl Uninterrupted’s Facebook page.  To be eligible, entrants must be (i) at least 18 years of age and (ii) live in the United States. Only one entry per photo is allowed, but users may enter once for each photo they like or comment on. Profanity or inappropriate language, as determined by Girl Uninterrupted, in its sole discretion, will be disqualified and deleted. Users that win will be asked to provide contact information to Girl Uninterrupted, privately and for delivery purposes only. Contest begins at 12:00 PM, PDT on Monday, September 29th, 2014, and ends at 11:59 AM, PDT on Monday, October 6th, 2014. The winners will be selected by Girl Uninterrupted, in its sole discretion, and announced via Girl Uninterrupted’s Facebook page on Monday, October 6th, 2014.  This promotional offer is not intended to create a partnership, joint venture, co-ownership or other association between Girl Uninterrupted and the participant. This promotion does not have a connection with Facebook in any way and is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. By entering the contest, participants agree to fully release Facebook from any and all liability.

How to Stay Motivated to Be Healthy

Resources for motivation to be healthy

Staying motivated to be healthy can be tough, but there are resources out there to help you!
Image: Shutterstock

However good your intentions may be, it’s hard sometimes to work up the motivation to stick with healthy habits like workouts or eating well. But there are a lot of resources out there to help keep you motivated to be healthy!

  • Insurance perks. Some insurance programs actually reward healthy behavior with benefits like discounts on their services and prizes ranging from movie tickets to a free iPad! Be sure to check with your insurance company to see what they offer.
  • Health blogs. Of course you’ll want to research the claims and make sure they’re backed up with solid data, but blogs are a great way to connect with fitness and health professionals as well as others trying to get and stay healthy. The blog format also lets you ask questions, make comments, and maintain a community of like-minded folks who can keep your motivation going.
  • Health apps. There probably is an app for that—whether “that” is tracking calories, organizing a workout, or a cool way to gamify your healthy habits. Some of these apps will even reward you with real cash: The app Pact lets you set goals and, once you’ve achieved them, get financial rewards. And that’s not even counting all the apps that help you find bike routes (BikeNav), interpret nutrition labels (Fooducate), and more.
  • Social networks. Sure, you could use your Facebook account to kvetch about work…or you could use it to team up with other people who are trying to make healthy choices. Just like in the offline world, finding people who support your efforts means a better chance of achieving your goals.   In fact, Penn State has done the research: people who had the support of a friend, family member, or significant other logged more fitness hours than those who didn’t.
  • Find healthy habits you love. Sometimes this is easier said than done, but it really works. When you love what you’re doing to be healthy, you’re more likely to do it. Try lots of activities and recipes until something really strikes your fancy.

Staying motivated to be healthy can be tough, but when your motivation is lacking, know you’ve got plenty of resources out there to help you get back on top of your game!

Girl Uninterrupted Launches New Look

Girl Uninterrupted's new look

Girl Uninterrupted is now available from Amazon.

On September 17, Girl Uninterrupted officially debuted its new look, along with its Amazon.com page, where it’s available for purchase.

Produced by Magpie, LLC, a wellness company founded by women for women, Girl Uninterrupted is an all-natural supplement designed to work quickly to relieve symptoms associated with menstruation, like cramps, bloating, and irritability. It contains five herbal ingredients:

  • Griffonia seed extract, a natural source of 5-HTP, an amino acid that affects serotonin receptors in the brain and allows for a sense of relaxation without fatigue;
  • Green tea extract, which contains antioxidants and relieves bloating by working as a light diuretic;
  • A blend of red clover, chaste tree berry, and saw palmetto, each of which support estrogen in the body and help balance female hormones.

A lifelong health enthusiast with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certification from Cornell, Magpie, LLC founder Mayling Kajiya wanted to create a supplement to deal with the symptoms of PMS without using acetaminophen and caffeine.

“For a syndrome that affects almost every woman at some point in her life, it’s about time for a product that doesn’t just numb the discomfort of PMS with the same medicine one would take to get rid of a headache or sore throat, but rather, one that provides relief in a safe, effective way by using all-natural ingredients,” said Kajiya.

Girl Uninterrupted is for women who can’t afford to have their lives interrupted by PMS symptoms every month.

Available on Amazon.com, Girl Uninterrupted is sold in a 1-month supply package of eight tablets for $14.99 and a 3-month supply of 24 tablets for $24.99.

What to Wear on Your Period

Clothing examples for what to wear on your period

Try these styles when you want to look office-ready but aren't feeling up to the usual wardrobe.
Image: Polyvore

When That Time of the Month hits, there are definitely mornings when you just want to stay in bed and not have to worry about what to wear. Unfortunately, you probably still have to go to work or school—even if you’re feeling bloated and cranky and nothing seems to fit right. Has all hope of decent office attire run screaming out the door?

No way! There are plenty of ways to be both comfortable and chic enough for the daily grind—even when you’re not feeling your best. Here are a few fashion ideas for days when you want to look good but also give yourself an extra bit of TLC:

  • Dressy shorts. If your workplace allows it, a nice pair of shorts made of comfortable material—and an elastic waistband!—can be just the ticket. Darker colors at about knee-length will make you feel both sleek and comfortable.
  • Cashmere sweaters. Any shirt made of soft, flowing material that’s still dressy enough for work or school will keep you soothed and also looking great. If you’re worried about bloating around your belly, try a top with drapes or ruffles.
  • Shift dress. The style is simple and clean, and the lack of waist means no definition, particularly where you least want it!
  • Maxi skirt. Flowy and loose, these skirts come in a variety of shapes and sizes, all conveniently covering your legs while still allowing a full range of movement.
  • Oversized cardigan. If you can’t stay in bed, at least take your blanket with you! Larger cardigans feel comfy and bathrobe-like while still looking professional.
  • Jeggings. If you’re going for the clean-cut jeans look but your usual denim just isn’t happening, try jeggings—the classic look of jeans, but with the feel of stretch pants. Just make sure you don’t get them too tight!
  • Tunic top. From a t-shirt style to more of a sweater, a tunic top generally has a round, flattering neckline and little to no collar, making it a stylish and comfortable option.
  • Comfortable shoes. Leave the six-inch heels for another time! When you’re suffering from cramps and other period-related effects, you definitely don’t want aching, too! Instead of making your feet suffer, too, pamper them with flats or dressy clogs.

Just because you’re dealing with your period doesn’t mean you can’t look and feel great, even when you’re out in public! Aim for looser fits in comfortable styles to ensure your office attire won’t suffer—and you won’t, either.

Quick and Healthy Breakfast Ideas to Prepare Before Bed

overnight oats in a glass jar

A quick, easy breakfast you can prepare in advance! Image: Shutterstock

Overnight Oats

Overnight oats have become a pretty “trendy” breakfast meal – and we understand why! Overnight oats can be prepared a few nights in advance and eaten the next day.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup organic oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 banana
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • Pinch of cinnamon

Directions

  • Mix oats, milk, chia seeds, cinnamon, and vanilla together. Put this mixture in a jar in the fridge overnight.
  • In the morning, add the peanut butter, banana, and any other fruit. We love adding fresh raspberries, strawberries, blueberries – or any other kind of berry. Enjoy!

Depending on your preferences, the peanut butter and vanilla can be substituted for ½ cup of nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt. We recommend playing around with ingredients to find what you love!

 

Omelet muffins

Easy and customizable omelet muffins.
Image: Shutterstock

Omelet Muffins

Omelet muffins are a healthy and easy breakfast idea you can make on Sunday and enjoy all week. They are very customizable and can be made with tons of different veggie, meat, and cheese options. You’ll need a muffin tin to make these adorable and healthy breakfast bites.

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs (for a larger muffin pan use 10)
  • ¼-1/2 cup milk
  • Any veggies, meats, or cheeses. Combine any of the following:
    • Tomatoes
    • Green onions
    • Spinach
    • Zucchini
    • Onions
    • Bell pepper
    • Diced ham
    • Diced bacon
    • Diced sausage
    • Cheddar cheese
    • Mozzarella cheese

Directions

  • Whisk together the eggs and milk. Add in any spices you’d like (pepper, salt, parsley, etc.)
  • Fill the muffin tin about 1/3 full of your veggies, meat, and cheeses.
  • Fill the muffin tin (almost) the rest of the way with the egg mixture.

Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

 

Fruit and yogurt parfaits with extra fruit and spoons

Fruit and yogurt parfaits use just a few ingredients that lead to deliciousness!
Image: Shutterstock

Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits

Fruit and yogurt parfaits are an easy, healthy, and yummy breakfast alternative. They can be customized with your favorite fruit and yogurt.

Ingredients

  • ½ vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt (or any yogurt of your choice)
  • Chopped berries (strawberries, blueberries etc.)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup granola
  • Optional: Cinnamon, coconut flakes

 Directions

  • The night before, add yogurt, chia seeds, and cut up berries to a jar.
  • In the morning mix in the granola, and enjoy!

 

zucchini muffins

Make some on the weekend and enjoy all week!
Image: Shutterstock

Zucchini and Banana Muffins (recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart)

Zucchini and banana muffins are an easy breakfast you can make on Sunday and eat all week!

Ingredients

  • Muffin tin
  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup ground flaxseeds
  • 1 cup light-brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cup coarsely grated zucchini
  • ½ cup mashed ripe banana
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowel, combine flour, brown sugar, flaxseed, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add banana and zucchini. In a small bowl, whisk the milk, egg, and vanilla together. Combine.
  • Divide batter in muffin cups. Cook for 20-25 minutes.

We hope these recipes make your busy life a bit more simple and healthy in the mornings! Let us know if you make any of these in the comments below!

 

Does PMS Ruin Marriages? We Think Not.

PMS-MarriageA recent paper put out by Michael R. Gillings claims that PMS can ruin marriages. Problem #1?  The author can’t seem to properly distinguish between PMS (premenstrual syndrome) and PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder), which is like confusing a kitten for a lion.

Eighty percent of women just have PMS - which is a bunch of mild, annoying symptoms. Five to eight percent of women have PMDD, which is a serious and sometimes disabling disorder. He claims that PMS was made to drive off the infertile males and leave us to find fertile males - a typical male explanation. Not only does he assume that all couples are heterosexual, but he always assumes that they are all motivated by childbearing decisions as well.

PMS does not ruin marriages. This, again, reinforces the idea that we turn into crazy women every month. Women are taught to be hush-hush about their periods so they don’t make people uncomfortable. The reality is, we are trying to suffer silently and only have outbursts when it becomes too much. Women are very aware of the PMS stigma and do not want any man to attribute our reactions to this because it gives them a reason to dismiss our feelings.

Not to mention that every woman is affected very differently by PMS. I’m pretty sure if a man felt this way every month, he wouldn’t be too happy either!

While we don’t believe that PMS has any affect on your marriage or relationships, we do believe that it can inconveniently interrupt your life every month. Girl Uninterrupted is about PMS relief that is effective, natural, and discreet – and allows you to live your life without interruption. If you feel you’re your monthly flow is interrupting your life, check out how Girl Uninterrupted can help with your PMS relief.

What are your thoughts on Michael R. Gillings’ paper about PMS and marriage? Let us know in the comments below!

Only have a Few Minutes to Work Out? Try These Exercises!

Exercise-in-ten-minsWe all have days or weeks when work, school, family – or anything else – gets in the way of our workout time. With added stress and busyness often comes the tendency to be lazy or eat unhealthy, but don’t let that throw off your healthy game!

Whether you are having a busy week or never seem to have enough time to work out, we believe that little steps can make a big impact. Doctors have even reported that regular exercise, regardless of how little, can have a lasting impact on your health and mental acuity.

Don’t have time to spend an hour at the gym or on a run? Here are a few options for ten minute or less workouts that work your arms, legs, butt and abs:

Ben Greenfield, a Fitness and Triathlon expert and Get-Fit podcast host recommends completing the following three times total:

  • 50 jump jacks
  • 15 push ups
  • 15 squats body weight squats
  • 15 dips (use two chair seats or something sturdy to hold onto)
  • 15 reverse lunges per side

Check out a video on reverse lunges here.

This is a 6-minute workout circuit by Lo Bosworth (the workout starts at 1:43), which shows a step-by-step for all of the exercises. Complete the following three times total, 60 seconds for each exercise (that’s just 18 minutes total!):

  • Plank balance for 60 seconds
  • Oblique blaster
  • Shoulder Press
  • Bicep Lifts
  • Warrior3 Lifts
  • Booty Lifts

We recommend adding some cardio as well, with 50 jumping jacks or butt kicks to really amp it up.

Anna Renderer, a fitness host, has created a 10-minute workout video for the “lazy girl” in all of us. This 10-minute circuit workout should be completed twice and requires a set of light free weights:

  • Trunk Twist
  • Bridge
  • Bird Dog Crunch
  • Alternating Chest Fly
  • Triceps Extension
  • Seated Bicep Curl
  • Mini Sidewinder

Do you have a short workout you have mastered? Share your quick workout secrets with us in the comments below!