Written by Sofia Olendraru
University is often said to be some of the best years of your life, it is an exciting time for fun, independence, and self-discovery. But if your periods are troublesome, then that is not going to necessarily change just because you’re meant to be having a ball- they may sometimes feel like an additional source of stress.
This article goes through the best ways to manage your period while at university. Heads up - severe pain during your period is NOT normal and not OK, go and see a doctor and if they don’t take you seriously, ask to be referred to a specialist.
What Period Products Are Best To Take To University?
Everyone has different preferences of period products, so what you take to university will depend on what you feel suits you best. You can find a wide range of pads and tampons in most pharmacies and convenience stores everywhere you go. Some universities in the UK are also beginning to provide free period products; they are still a minority in England, but this is a great initiative to combat period poverty and to support menstruating students.
University is a great time to invest in reusable period products like menstrual cups or period underwear: these products are more expensive upfront, with menstrual cups costing between £12-20 each and period underwear around £15-30 a pair, but in the long run this is a lot cheaper and better on a student budget than regularly buying disposable period products, which adds up in cost over time.
Reusable period products are also a lot more environmentally-friendly. The downside is that reusables need to be looked after; menstrual cups need to be sterilised in boiling water after use and this requires access to a kitchen which not everyone has in student halls. It also may lead to some interesting conversations in a shared kitchen! It is likely that a combination of options may work best depending on you and your lifestyle, so explore the options!
University also involves being on the go a lot, and you might not find sanitary bins everywhere. Instead of contributing to ocean pollution by flushing period products, consider using FabLittleBag sustainably sourced disposal bags, they ensure easy, discreet and hygienic dispsoal bin or no bin! .
5 Tips For A Stress-Free Period Whilst At University
- Be prepared by keeping a couple of pads or tampons in your bag in case your period arrives unexpectedly. More and more places in the UK are starting to provide free period products in public toilets but unfortunately this is still rarely guaranteed, so better make sure you always have what you need, and don't’ forget your FabLittleBags for any disposable products.
- Tracking your periods and symptoms is a fantastic way of getting to know your body better and of being able to predict when you will get your next period. Tracking your cycle also helps you identify when things are wrong, and this is especially relevant at university where stress can sometimes lead to sudden changes in your menstrual cycle length, so knowing what is and isn’t normal for your cycle can encourage you to reach out for medical help when necessary.
- Regular exercise is incredibly beneficial to periods and can help relieve symptoms such as cramps. Most universities have sports teams you can join, or you can go on regular walks or runs around the campus.
- A healthy diet is also key to stress-free periods and many foods have benefits against period pain.
- Taking time off is one of the best things you can do when on your period. This may be difficult in the fast-paced environment of university but remember there is no shame in needing rest while on your period and this will help your body and mind to recharge and relax.
3 Easy Go-To University Remedies For Period Symptoms
- A hot water bottle is a student staple and applying heat works wonders against period cramps!
- Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen are great to reduce period pain and are found cheap in pharmacies and convenience stores. Don’t be duped by the brand names, check the ingredients, you’ll find the pack for 45p is the same as the packs for £2.45!
- Staying well hydrated during your period is also very helpful against period symptoms so make sure to drink lots of water. If you struggle to drink enough , try buying one of those reusable bottles with markings on it so you can see how much you're drinking and it motivates you.
Have as much fun as you can as being happy makes everything feels a little bit better!