It’s Monday morning, you pull your chair up to your desk ready to tackle a pile of emails that have accumulated over the weekend and boom: Aunt Flo visits a day early! You search your desk drawers, dig through your purse or Slack a few gal colleagues asking if they have a tampon. Getting our period is difficult for us no matter what. Physically it puts a toll on our bodies with fatigue, hormone fluctuation, and things like anxiety and depression. It makes it a difficult time of the month. We’re digging in and talking about managing your period at work!
What happens to your body during your period?
The menstrual phase is the first stage of the menstrual cycle. It’s also when you get your period. This phase starts when an egg isn’t fertilized. Because pregnancy hasn’t taken place, levels of the hormone progesterone drop.
The thickened lining of your uterus, which would support a pregnancy, is no longer needed, so it sheds through your vagina. During your period, you release a combination of blood, mucus, and tissue from your uterus.
Due to the fluctuation of hormones, many women say they experience these symptoms:
lower back pain
On average, women are in the menstrual phase of their cycle for 3 to 7 days. If you have questions regarding your period or are trying to regulate it, we recommend Period Repair Manual! Lara Briden breaks down every little (and big) thing that affects us, our periods, and our hormones.
Why do I get emotional during my period?
Thank PMS! With the rollercoaster hormones come hard-to-handle moods, and it’s completely normal. They can be difficult during working hours, especially when all you want to do is curl up at home and binge Netflix! Tracking your period and logging symptoms can really help you know what to expect during the days of menstruation so you can plan accordingly and help you manage your period at work. Using some easy remedies to balance you out can help too!
Normal PMS symptoms are:
Have you been sitting at your desk feeling overwhelmed or about to burst into tears? None of this means you’re inadequate or a poor fit for your job! You’re feeling everything that’s happening in your body and it’s important to give yourself grace during this time.
How do I handle my period at work?
Plan ahead. Getting caught short in the office is never fun (unless your employer provides free period care in the restrooms)! If you’re without a tampon or pad, it can really disrupt your day and make you lose focus from your work. Have you thought about using a menstrual cup? A menstrual cup is a small flexible cup made of medical-grade silicone. It fits in the vaginal canal and collects menstrual blood (leak free!) for up to 12 hours!
Be comfortable. Nothing is worse than being stuck in a desk chair wearing something snug or uncomfortable. Especially if you are prone to bloating on your cycle, wearing loose fitting clothing can help get your mind off of that and on to your work. Your midsection isn’t the only place that bloats! Are you constantly on your feet at work? Think about comfortable shoes too.
Cope with the cramping. Dehydration can make cramping even worse, so making sure you’re drinking plenty of water and electrolyte drinks is key. Maybe slow up on the caffeine-laden things like coffee or sodas. Another idea would be to keep a heating pad handy. If you’re sitting at a desk most of your shift, you could easily have one around your back or abdomen!
Additional supplements. On top of your daily multi-vitamin, taking vitamin B can help with energy when you’re feeling fatigued. Also, magnesium helps tremendously with cramping if you suffer the first few days of your period. Nuts are high in magnesium as well as dark chocolate. Who would argue with chocolate during their period!? #nobrainer
Notice what you’re eating. What did you pack for lunch? While our cravings will most likely have us reaching for something salty, sweet or greasy (comfort food, right?) the best things to have during our period are the exact opposite. Think light! Fruits, leafy greens and anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric and ginger. For proteins, think chicken, fish and tofu.
Exercise. Keep a pair of sneakers under your desk and take a walk around the block on your lunch break! The fresh air and exercise are suggested to be helpful during our periods and can decrease PMS symptoms. If you struggle with your mental health during your period, exercising causes your body to release chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins in your brain that make you feel happy. Not only is your brain dumping out feel-good chemicals, but exercise also helps your brain get rid of chemicals that make you feel stressed and anxious!
Can you take time off of work during your period?
This is a tricky one. The U.S. currently doesn’t acknowledge menstruating women in the workplace. If you have sick days or personal days accumulated, taking one during the worst part of your period wouldn’t be considered poor work performance or cause attendance issues. There is a long history of women (and employers) coping with their periods while still being professional. If you have really hard periods, our advice to you is to talk to your doctor, use your best judgment, and listen to your body. Again, tracking your period can be extremely helpful in making you feel equipped when that time of the month rolls around including managing your period at work.
Many women around the world run into period problems. Some greater than others. A woman who is facing cultural shame would likely miss work during her cycle. A schoolgirl in Kenya will miss up to six weeks of school due to menstruation and the lack of period care available to her.
Here at Pixie Cup, we believe in period freedom for all women. It is our mission! We do this through our Buy One, Give One program. Every time a Pixie Cup is purchased, we give one to a woman in need. You’re saying ‘YES’ to period freedom for yourself, and at the same time, you’re saying ‘YES’ to changing someone else’s life too.
Haven’t you heard? Menstrual cups are awesome. [I know we’re sorta biased, but it’s true!] If you’re thinking about making the switch, you’re in the right spot. We’re about living that free life! Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned user, we have 8 menstrual cup tricks that may help when you’re stumped!
What is a menstrual cup?
For the uninitiated, menstrual cups (also known as period cups) are flexible bell-shaped devices that you insert into your vagina to catch your menstrual fluid. Typically made from medical grade silicone, you can actually safely wear a menstrual cup for up to 12 hours then you can empty out however often it is necessary based on the heaviness of your flow.
What are some menstrual cup tricks?
If you’re new to menstrual cups, these are tips and tricks we would tell our BFFs if they were about to try a period cup for the first time. You’ve got this!
Read the instructions! You may be looking at this egg-shaped cup wondering how hard it could actually be. Good news: it’s not hard, you’ll just feel more confident once you pull out the instruction packet and have a good read.
Relax! This is incredibly important. If you’re tense, your muscles throughout your body will be tense too. Your pelvic muscles respond to stress very easily. Inserting a menstrual cup if you’re freaked out or worried will be no fun! Try inserting on a day that you don’t have your period. Don’t leave it in long-term, but insert, stand up and walk around so you can see if you got the knack of it. You should never feel your menstrual cup if it’s in place correctly!
Use lube! Whether you’re on your period or not, if you’re dry down there, it’s going to make inserting a menstrual cup uncomfortable. Everything is just easier when it glides smoothly, right? We have our Pixie Cup Lube that is designed specifically for your menstrual cup and for your vagina.
Figure out the folds! There are three popular (and easy) folds. Figure out which one works with you the very best. You should hear or feel the menstrual cup pop open once you release it in your vagina.
Wait for the pop! Depending on what fold you choose, you should feel the pop of your menstrual cup springing open! This is absolutely crucial. This magical pop is the only thing standing in the way of a carefree period day or one of horror films. Just kidding… but close. Making sure your period cup pops open is vital to creating a seal and keeping your day leak-free.
Empty your menstrual cup in the shower! Whether you shower at night or in the morning, this is a great period hack. You don’t have to worry about a crazy mess because everything washes down the drain. We recommend our Pixie Cup Wash because it’s gentle on your period cup and on you!
Pinch don’t pull! So, if your menstrual cup is working and kicking period woes like it should be, then it’s going to have created a really tight seal keeping it leak-free. If you try to pull your period out at this point, you’ll basically get nowhere and place unneeded pressure on your cervix and pelvic muscles. Be sure to break the seal! Do this by pinching the base of your menstrual cup or by sliding a finger up the side. You should feel the release or hear the sound of air escaping.
Size does matter! We’re all shaped differently and one menstrual cup doesn’t fit all. Thankfully there are several sizes and styles. Here at Pixie Cup we have our small, large and extra large menstrual cups depending on your flow or if you’ve had babies via vaginal birth. Our Pixie Cup Slim is specifically designed for women with a low cervix. If you are questioning what size menstrual cup is best for you or how to measure your cervix, we’ve got all the information you need. We even created this handy cervix ruler just for you.
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You’ve got this!
Being nervous switching from something you know well like a pad or tampon to something entirely new can be nerve-wracking! We totally get that. Everyone has those beginning fears. Check out our store for all the menstrual cup styles and sizes. Let us know how we can help. We’d love to chat with you!
Essential oils are a powerful tool for our health. You’re taking all the goodness from the plant and concentrating it. They have been used for relieving headaches to relaxing muscles, correcting digestive issues to calming nerves. Naturally, we want to know if essential oils can helpduring our menstrual cycles! Here are some practical and easy tips to help you.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are often used in aromatherapy, a form of alternative medicine that employs plant extracts to support health and well-being. Essential oils are basically plant extracts. They’re made by steaming or pressing various parts of a plant (flowers, bark, leaves or fruit) to capture the compounds that produce fragrance. It can take several pounds of a plant to produce a single bottle of essential oil. In addition to creating scent, essential oils perform other functions in plants, too. Essential oils are the essence of the plant that are captured via distillation or mechanical methods like cold-pressing, depending on the plant type.
Because essential oils are incredibly strong and concentrated, it is vitally important to read up on the individual oil prior to using. Some are safe to apply full strength and others have to be heavily diluted with a carrier oil or lotion to diminish its concentration. Something as common and loved as peppermint needs to be significantly thinned so it doesn’t chemically burn your skin.
Please always read the instructions on the side of the bottle before administering.
Common ways to safely use essential oils include:
Aroma Therapy. Diffusing is the most popular essential oil use! Diffusers can be found in all shapes, sizes and colors and use water to vaporize the oils. Necklaces, bracelets and keychains made with absorbent materials you apply essential oils to and sniff throughout the day. Even something like an essential oil inhaler! These portable plastic sticks have an absorbent wick that soaks up essential oil.
Topically. A mixture of essential oils with a carrier oil such as olive, jojoba or coconut oil that can be massaged into skin. But again, because essential oils are concentrated, they can cause irritation. Avoid using them full-strength on skin.
How can I use essential oils during my menstrual cycle?
Hormones are all over the place during our menstrual cycles, we know this, right? We feel empowered during parts of our cycle, potentially anxiety-ridden during other parts and overall fatigued depending on the day of our cycle! Certain essential oils or oil blends are tied to potentially giving relief for different symptoms. Here are some popular essential oils to use during your period and menstrual cycle.
Menstruation. This is where we feel most exhausted! You’ll most likely crave alone time or rest. Frankincense or sandalwood or a grounding blend to overall settle you. At this point in the menstrual cycle, you should do things that aid in your comfort. To help with cramping, there are blends of essential oils for your menstrual cycles like this DIY recipe . If you’re prone to cramping, have you thought about trying a menstrual cup?
Pre-Ovulation. At this point you’re feeling your best! Your energy has come back and peaked and you’re ready to conquer the world. If you ever see a pattern of motivation or need for accomplishment, you’ll probably notice it’s just after your period ends! During this time you’ll reach for energizing oils such as peppermint and citrus like orange or grapefruit.
Ovulation. You’re feeling good about yourself, sultry, attractive, and active! You may find you’ll apply a little more makeup or pick an outfit that makes you feel the best about yourself. Floral and earthy essential oils are popular during this menstrual phase. Scents like jasmine, rose, vetiver, and patchouli.
Pre-menstrual. Our body is gearing up to release and let go and this is the phase we start craving the comfort foods and the desire to curl up and relax. If you’re feeling crampy, clary sage diluted with a lotion and rubbed on the abdomen can help relax the muscles and balance the hormones that are spiking during this time. Much like we reach for ginger tea when we feel unwell, ginger essential oil can help ground and calm us.
If you’re prone to cramping like we mentioned earlier, you should consider trying a menstrual cup! Women have commonly said that tampons cause cramping especially during the first couple days of your period. Menstrual cups are an egg-shaped vessel that collects menses versus a dry, porous material that absorbs all fluid it comes in contact with. You’re able to safely leave them in your vagina for up to 12 hours! The first couple days of your period you may have to empty the cup sooner than that due to heavy flow. If you’ve ever wondered which menstrual cup size or style is best for you, we have some pointers. We’d love to hear from you if you’ve used essential oils for a menstrual cycle and if you’ve ever considered switching to a menstrual cup!
PLEASE NOTE: This blog post is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of your doctor. You should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to your health and particularly with respect to anything related to menstruation. If you have any concerns about using a Pixie Cup, consult your doctor before use. If you have any gynecological conditions, please talk to your physician before using any menstrual cup.Pixie Cup has not been sponsored in this post and any links or suggestions are not affiliates, they are purely from personal use or experience.
If you’re like most of us, we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what’s in our tampons. We take some time to figure out what brand works for us, or we spend time in the aisle of Target each month browsing, wanting to try something new. Have you ever noticed that the typical tampon box doesn’t tell you what tampons are made of? We’re tackling that today!
What is a tampon?
We need to start with the basics. If you’re like me, you may have never looked at a tampon let alone used one! I was in my 20s before I strayed from pads and braved the idea of a tampon. A tampon is a rolled sheet of cotton or cotton-like material such as rayon and has a string sewn in. It’s designed to expand in the vagina as it absorbs menstrual fluid.
What are tampons made of?
As we mentioned, tampons are typically constructed out of cotton or a blend with the cotton such as rayon or polyester. While tampons are an approved medical device by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the FDA does not require them to label or disclose what other things may actually be in the tampons. Some of these may not be direct ingredients, but bi-products of the harvesting, growing and production process. So the concept of the tampon is approved, the idea of an absorbent material being inserted into the vagina for menses and being removable by a string. However, not necessarily what it’s made of. Make sense? We don’t think so either.
What chemicals could be in tampons?
Pesticides. On a super basic level, if you don’t reach for an organic tampon option, you could be running the risk of pesticides remaining on the cotton from the growing process.
Fragrances. It’s your period. You typically feel gross and you’re hypersensitive to how you may smell. It’s super tempting to reach for a box of scented tampons! The term ‘fragrance’ is a tricky one here in America. The FDA allows companies to put countless chemicals under the banner of fragrance, unfortunately, without having to specifically name them.
Dioxins + furans. These are part of the bleaching process. Unbleached cotton looks much different than bleached cotton and tampons are not exempt from the bleaching process unless you specifically buy unbleached organic tampons.
What are the side effects of using a tampon?
We’ve talked about what tampons are made of and you’re probably wondering how that affects you directly. Your vagina is a muscle structure that’s super sensitive. You’ve probably heard that most anything you put on your skin (lotion, etc) is absorbed and in your bloodstream in less than a minute. Same goes for your vagina. It’s a very complex environment and the probability of toxins, bleaches and pesticides entering your body via your vagina is high. We also recently spoke about how tampons could negatively effect the vaginal flora that makes up the delicate ecosystem of your vagina. Tampons have been long linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) so we don’t really have to spend a lot of time talking about that.
What is an alternative to tampons?
Thankfully, women’s active and busy lifestyles have demanded a more reliable period protection option. Have you ever thought about a menstrual cup? A menstrual cup is a flexible egg-shaped cup typically made of medical-grade silicone. It’s folded and inserted in the vagina and left to collect period menses. Get a load of this: it can be left in the vagina (safely) for up to 12 hours! Let’s say ‘hello’ to period freedom, shall we? Because a menstrual cup is solid and doesn’t absorb, there isn’t a worry of it affecting your vaginal flora, potentially leading to infection. We haven’t even mentioned how eco-friendly a menstrual cup is and how many tampons it saves from entering landfills!
Talk to us! Ask any questions you may have about menstrual cups or leaving traditional period protection. If you’d rather watch videos, we have a full Youtube channel on questions, tutorials, and common techniques. Head over to our store to see what sizes and styles we have to fit your needs! If you’re wondering what cup is best for you, check this page out too.
Periods aren’t fun to talk about. Why is that? (Definitely another post for another time) For a woman, it’s a normal bodily function just like breathing, eating, sneezing or snoring. All these things happen every single day and we don’t feel awkward (OK, maybe the snoring). You may feel doubly uncomfortable talking about a product that may not be as well known or is “out of the norm” for periods and menstruation. We get it! (We get weird looks when we are asked what we do for work, ha!) Here are some helpful tips for when you’re talking about menstrual cups.
What are menstrual cups?
If you’re going to explain it to someone, you’ll feel most comfortable if you know exactly what it is you’re talking about, right? Here’s a quick refresh. Menstrual cups are egg-shaped cups typically made from medical-grade silicone that are inserted into the vagina. They collect menses and can be worn for up to 12 hours, safely. If you’re casually talking about it, all the detail may not be necessary…
“A menstrual cup is an alternative to tampons and pads. They are better for your body and eco-friendly.”
If they push for more detail or “Wait, how do they work?” you can quickly say, “It’s inserted in the vagina and collects your period mess!”
Menstrual cups aren’t just a fad
Even though menstrual cups have recently gained popularity, they have actually been around for nearly 100 years! Tampons and pads took the spotlight in the 1970s because they were a disposable product. Up until that point, most women still used rags and other reusable cloths to soak up menses. If I had only known washcloths and wads of fabric in my underwear, I would leap at a throw-away product too! Women working outside the home became increasingly popular in the 1970s as well which would make reaching for a tampon even more appealing.
What should I say when I’m talking about menstrual cups?
Whenever we’re excited about something new, we always talk about what we love first, right? So here are some super easy and quick perks when talking about menstrual cups.
Period cups are eco-friendly. Menstrual cups save nearly 250 tampons (and plastic applicators) from entering the landfills, per woman, per year!
They are healthier. Tampons are linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). This is no mystery. Recently, however, tampons have been the discussion of vaginal flora and disturbing the pH balance in the vagina. We talked about that recently. Menstrual cups do not soak up anything, they just collect. So this doesn’t mess up your vaginal balance.
Menstrual cups save you money. A typical box of tampons is $7, and that’s not even the really nice, organic ones. In two months time your Pixie Cup will have nearly paid for itself.
They are convenient. Menstrual cups can be safely left in the vagina for up to 12 hours. This was a mind-blowing fact for me! I was used to getting maybe 3 or 4 hours out of a tampon and I felt like I was a slave to toting them around during my period.
We’re here for you
Here at Pixie Cup, we believe in period freedom for all women. Our company was founded on that very fact. This is the breath and backbone of everything we do here and with our Buy One, Give One program we do just that. Every time a Pixie Cup is purchased, we donate one to a woman in need. So really, you not only changed your life, but you changed someone else’s too. How’s that for a fact?