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It’s not always the most fun thing to talk about, but when Mother Nature comes roaring in each month, you need to know how to handle the situation with positivity, grace, and an open mind. There’s never too much information on the subject of your period to learn about, especially when it comes to the nifty world of hacks.

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The female reproductive system has been getting some serious love lately, as more and more research and a variety of articles on the subject are helping us to further understand it — giving us more resources than we could have ever imagined. And with all the women coming together to blog and tweet their concerns, issues, tips, and tricks for getting through “that time of the month,” it’s nice to know you’re not alone, and that there’s plenty of innovative ways to ease the pain and keep you healthy.

Here are 9 hacks to help make the experience feel much more bearable.

1. Get Yourself A Hot Water Bottle

When you apply heat to your abdomen, you’ll increase your blood flow, which will, in turn, work to relieve cramps. Research from University College London concluded that using a hot water bottle during relaxation can block the pain messages being sent to your brain.

2. Take A Bite Of Dark Chocolate

Oh, you love dark chocolate? Who doesn’t? Chock-full of antioxidants, dark chocolate is touted as a superfood for optimum health. And now there’s even more reason to love it. During your period, you lose a significant amount of magnesium, but when you eat dark chocolate consisting of 70 percent cacao or more, you help your body to rebuild its stores of this essential mineral.

3. Indulge In Multiple Orgasms

Is this whole period talk getting better and better or what? First chocolate, now orgasms? Scientifically speaking, orgasms are known to relieve migraines, cluster headaches, and even period pain. This is because the uterus contracts during an orgasm, causing blood flow to increase afterwards. Your brain is then filled with natural chemicals that alleviate pain.

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4. Sip Some Water

We all know staying hydrated is necessary for maintaining our everyday health, and we certainly can all attest to the unfortunate repercussions a lack of water has on our bodies, like headaches, dizziness, moodiness, fatigue, and a strange desire to eat even when we’re not hungry. When you’re menstruating, it’s easy to get dehydrated quickly, so counteract this loss of fluid with a plentiful amount of H2O, which will work against common symptoms like bloating and fatigue.

5. Try Vinyasa Flow Yoga

Research has found that exercise in general is a great way to counteract premenstrual symptoms such as cramping and lack of energy. As you approach your period, switch up your workout routine with a low-impact vinyasa flow that will move the body gently and help with the pain.

6. Keep Lavender On Hand And Use Liberally

Research continues to expose the plethora of benefits associated with essential oils, and lavender is no exception. Thanks to its relaxing effects, lavender can help you to fall asleep more quickly at night. And when your period is coming along, you may feel tense from the discomfort. Simply put a few drops of lavender oil on your wrists and feet, behind your ears, and on your temples, and rub until it is fully absorbed. Smell the sweet aroma as well, and notice the calm that overcomes you.

7. Steer Clear Of Caffeine

Coffee lovers might not enjoy this bit of advice, but if your period often gets the best of you, you’d be wise to listen up. Research has found caffeine to heighten your PMS symptoms. It’s also linked to increasing the levels of estrogen in the body. Not sure you can resist a cup? Try cutting your dosage in half and sipping slowly.

8. Minimize Your Salt Intake

As much as you may love sprinkling an abundant amount of salt on your foods, try to keep it to a minimum during your period, since it can make you retain too much water, only increasing your chances of uncomfortable bloating.

9. Get More Shut Eye

We all know what happens when we don’t get enough sleep, but you’ll really want to make sure you catch up on extra Z’s during your period. Research shows that our sleep cycle can get off-course both before and during this time of the month due to rising and falling levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

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