Health: Aunt Bertha Comes to Town

Mother Nature, Aunt Flo, Big Bertha, Monthly friend, or dreaded incubus of all unholy devastation, whatever you chose to call it, it never skips a beat --well unless, of course, you've got a bun in the oven.

As a necessity for human reproduction in fertile females, a woman's menstrual cycle has come to signify more than the beginning of womanhood, in some countries it is a woman's essence, the sole purpose for being. But most men have come to know it as a time to pull out the Kleenex, make tampon trips, and wear your under armor.

As a female, subject to the brutal monthly beatings of Aunt Flo, I once felt fortunate enough to claim exempt from her side effects: PMS. Until last week. I too am now a victim of what 2 out of 5 women force their friends, family, and significant others to suffer through every month.

PMS is a collection of physical, psychological, and emotional symptoms that manifest themselves in symptoms such as: stress, anxiety, muscle pain, insomnia, headaches, irritability and mood swings. Some of the risk factors that can increase a woman's likelihood of getting PMS are: high caffeine intake, family history, certain allergies, tobacco use, and a history of depression.

Most women know that when you start getting pimples the size of walnuts on your face, Aunt Flo is on her way. As one of the most common symptoms of PMS, and definitely a cause of increased frustration and irritability, it becomes essential for women to increase their water intake. Also avoiding the morning coffee and sugary pastries, skipping the happy hour cosmopolitans, and decreasing your salt consumption will not only lessen the appearance of pimples, but help you sleep better and transition into healthier eating habits.

Its also proven that incorporating fish oil supplements into your meals and eating smaller portions every 3 hours during your period, helps to decrease mood swings. (Men, keep note of this for future reference, you'll need it too.) Not to mention, smaller food portions will eventually result in a curbed appetite which means you'll finally be able to fit into those designer jeans you've been struggling to zip up.

So if you use some of these helpful tips, stay prepared, and avoid as many triggers as possible, you and your loved ones can live by the "Always" mantra and have a happy period.

Art images: Courtesy of Pop Art Machine

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