Helping Your Teenager Cope with Period Problems

Unfortunately, the changes a girl’s body goes through during the teen years can result in menstrual difficulties. Most of the time, these problems disappear with maturity; but in the meantime, you’ll need some coping mechanisms. Here is a partial list of common period problems and how to deal with them.

Heavy Bleeding

Really heavy menstrual bleeding (medically known as menorrhagia) can affect your social and academic life. You may find that you simply can’t do things with friends or family because your bleeding is so profuse. To make things even worse, sometimes these heavy periods can go on for days and days. To help manage this kind of bleeding, here are some tips.

* Take a good multi-vitamin that is high in Vitamin A and Vitamin K. It should also include Vitamin E and zinc, as these are important for the metabolism of Vitamin A. Sources report that girls who experience heavy periods are often deficient in Vitamin A. Vitamin K is important for blood clotting.

* If you like spicy foods, up the ante! Capsicum, the “hot stuff” in peppers, has been shown to reduce menstrual bleeding. You can also take cayenne pepper tablets or capsules.

* An iron supplement might be appropriate if you have heavy bleeding. Check with your doctor before supplementing with iron, though, as overdose is an easy mistake to make. You could also eat iron-rich foods like lean red meat and dark, leafy greens.

* B-complex vitamins are also important, especially B6.

* Cut back on sugar, as the body uses up B6 to metabolize sugar, and you need that B6 to do its job elsewhere!

Painful Cramps

Some menstrual cramps can be excruciating and last hours or even days. If your pain is very severe and lasts a long time, and doesn’t go away even if you take painkillers, you should see your doctor. For normal cramps, here are some tips to help you manage.

* Take magnesium supplements. Magnesium helps relieve muscle cramps, including uterine ones. A magnesium and calcium combination is a good idea.

* Get regular exercise to help regulate your body’s systems (including your hormonal system) and increase circulation and muscle relaxation.

* If you have to take over-the-counter pain relievers, it’s worth noting that these substances work by blocking pain-causing prostaglandins in the body. However, they block the body’s beneficial prostaglandins, too, which may ultimately make PMS symptoms worse.

PMS

Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is a common and sometimes difficult problem for all menstruating women, but for teen girls, it may be more of a struggle. Coping with PMS is possible – here are some ideas.

* Recognize the signs and the timing. If you know it’s coming, you can prepare for it.

* A diet high in whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables may help. In fact, some medical professionals have devised a “PMS Diet” that includes vitamin supplements and no refined grains, sugar, or artificial colors and preservatives.