Teen periods; 6 strategies for supporting healthy, happier cycles.

Teen periods; 6 strategies for supporting healthy, happier cycles.

Starting your period can be tough! Most of us can clearly remember this time in our lives, your body is changing (a lot!), you’re trying to make friends in a new school and you’re just feeling pretty uncomfortable all round! 

Having to deal with painful periods is just another thing that gets added to the list of overwhelm for many young teen girls. And having a conversation with your parents about your new menstrual cycle is often the last thing you want to do! 

Here are six things you can do to support the teen in your life:

1. Nutrient-Rich Diet:

    Encourage a balanced and nutrient-rich diet to support overall health and hormonal balance. Ensure that teens have an adequate intake of iron, calcium, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids (from oily fish, nuts & seeds). Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins in their meals.

    Teens can often start to experiment with their nutrition, if they are trialling the removal of foods e.g. trying out a plant based diet or if they tend to eat a lot of the same foods on a daily basis, introducing a supplement, like the PMS & Hormone Balance Blend, would be a very welcome addition to their diet to ensure they’re getting all the nutrients they need at this time.

    2. Hydration:

    Proper hydration is essential for overall well-being and can positively impact menstrual health. Encourage teens to drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day, about 1.5-2L is a great goal. Herbal teas and hydrating foods like watermelon and cucumber can also contribute to hydration.

    3. Regular Exercise:

      Physical activity plays a crucial role in maintaining hormonal balance and promoting a healthy menstrual cycle. While many of us tried to urge our PE teacher to let us sit out class when we had our period, gentle exercise during menstruation can be very supportive for relieving pain and promoting mental wellbeing. Encourage teens to engage in regular exercise, whether it's team sports, dancing, yoga, or simply going for a walk. Exercise can help alleviate stress and contribute to overall well-being.

      4. Stress Management:

        Teach stress management techniques to help teens navigate the challenges of adolescence. These could include a simple box breathing exercise that they can turn to when they’re feeling overwhelmed or a journaling practice in a nice diary. Stress can impact hormonal balance and menstrual regularity. Activities such as mindfulness, deep breathing exercises, and journaling can be effective in managing stress - encourage them to find a form of stress management that they enjoy!

        5. Open Communication:

          Foster open communication about menstruation and menstrual health. There’s zero need for it to be a taboo topic. A lot of us felt shame around our cycles growing up as a result of the poor societal narrative that surrounded periods in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, thankfully the taboo is slowly beginning to dismantle. Create a supportive environment where teens feel comfortable discussing any concerns or questions they may have because they are bound to be experiencing changes in their body and symptoms that they’ve never had before - which can be pretty daunting! Providing accurate information and addressing misconceptions helps build confidence and reduces anxiety.

          6. Establishing Regular Sleep Patterns:

            Adequate sleep is crucial for hormonal regulation and overall health. Encourage teens to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, aiming for 8-10 hours of sleep per night. Quality sleep contributes to emotional well-being and can positively influence the regularity of menstrual cycles.

            Every teenager is unique, and their bodies may respond differently to lifestyle changes. Irregular periods are very common for teens while their hormones find their own rhythm, as the menstrual cycle develops and they reach late teens/early twenties, their cycle should have found some regularity. Encourage them to track their cycle using an app like Clue. Ideally, their cycle should mature to be between approximately 26 and 35 days. If they are significantly shorter or longer or if there are specific concerns such as a lot of pain and discomfort, make an appointment with your GP to discuss having further investigation into the route cause of the irregularities.

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