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😌😱😃 Periods are a fact of life for many people, and not all of them women. For some trans and genderqueer people, getting their period is a normal and acceptable part of being in their body, while for others it is an uncomfortable and even actively distressing experience. It may not be a big deal for some, but for others, getting and managing a period can be particularly stressful. Here’s how to manage your period if you're transgender, nonbinary, or otherwise genderqueer.XResearch sourceXResearch source
Part 1Part 1 of 3:Changing Your Mindset
- 1Eliminate the idea that periods are feminine. When shops frequently label menstruation-related products "feminine hygiene" and "women’s health care," it's easy to feel dysphoric about your period. But not everyone who gets a period is a woman, and not every woman gets a period. Some cisgender women may not get periods due to birth control, low body weight, or other reasons. In addition, intersex people may or may not menstruate. Periods are not inherently gendered, and you're not alone. XResearch sourceXResearch source
- 2Be kind to yourself. Keep in mind you aren’t alone. There’s no need to put too much pressure on yourself to figure this out right away, so take it one step at a time. If you have a regular period, it is critical that you take care of yourself and your body. Remember that your period is neither male nor female, nor does it make you male or female. It simply is, and that’s fine.XResearch source
Part 2Part 2 of 3:Dealing With Your Period
- 1Use whichever menstrual products you’re comfortable with.XResearch sourceXResearch source
- Pads: Small absorbent cotton pads that are either glued to the inside of underwear or, in the case of some reusable cloth pads, snapped into place with fasteners. Pads may be preferred by some trans people because they do not require the insertion of anything into the genitals.
- Tampons: Small cotton cylinders that are inserted into the vagina. When properly inserted, you should not be able to feel it in place.
- Period underwear: Made up of three layers: a highly absorbent layer, a leak-resistant layer, and the external fabric, which is often in fun patterns and colors and comes in a variety of styles such as boxers and boyshorts. The underwear is then washable and reusable for an extended period of time, allowing you to interact with menstrual blood and products as little as possible.
- Menstrual cups: A Silicone cup that is inserted into the vagina and emptied as needed to collect menstrual blood. A menstrual cup can cost around $50 and last for many years if rinsed and sterilized in boiling water on a regular basis. Using a menstrual cup, on the other hand, necessitates inserting it into the vagina, which can be uncomfortable. But if inserted properly, you should not be able to feel it in there.
- 2Talk to a friend. If you want to talk about your feelings, find a close friend, partner, or loved one to confide in. When you’re feeling down, talking to someone who understands and won’t judge you is a good idea.XResearch source
- A transgender or nonbinary friend may be more understanding than a cisgender friend, but you can talk to them as long as they don’t judge you and you trust them.
- 3Get light exercise. You may not always feel like doing anything physical during your period, but exercise can really help with period pain. Light exercise can be as simple as watering plants, doing yoga, or walking the dog. XResearch source
- When it comes to yoga, practicing it can provide enormous benefits in terms of balancing your mood and relieving menstrual cramps. Try positions like Child’s Pose and Downward Facing Dog, they're are not too strenuous.XResearch source
- 4Use a heat pad. When you have cramps, heat helps to relax the muscles in your abdomen. You can apply a heating pad (on low) or apply a hot water bottle to the area of your stomach that is causing you pain.XResearch source A small amount of heat can help your muscles relax, improve blood flow, and relieve tension. Try using a rice sock if you don’t have a heating pad, or make a heat pad yourself.
- 5Look for ways to unwind and destress. This could include curling up on the couch to watch your favorite show, watching comedy, or listening to soothing music. You could relax with a pet, try breathing techniques, or meditation.
- 6Take a warm bath. Warm baths have been used to relieve sore, tense muscles for hundreds of years, and they’ve remained popular to this day for good reason. If taking a bath causes dysphoria, covering your chest with a hand towel or dimming the lights while bathing may help. Warm water relaxes your muscles and can relieve tenderness and abdominal pain. XResearch source
- Also, while bubble bath and bath bombs are nice additions, use them with caution if you are on your period. Chemicals and dyes can irritate the vaginal lining and disrupt your pH balance, which is already delicate when you’re menstruating. Instead, use essential oils, Epsom salts, or nothing at all.
- Alternatively, you could shower on your period. The blood will rinse off and run down the drain, allowing you to thoroughly clean yourself. If you use pads, you may notice that the dried blood is washing off, which simply means that you are washing away any potential infections and odors. Remember that your vagina is self-cleaning. To wash around your vagina, all you need is clean, warm water. If you’re using a hand-held showerhead, angle the water away from your vagina rather than directly into it.XResearch source
- 7Affirm yourself. During difficult times of your cycle, or whenever you feel dysphoric, try doing or saying things that affirm your identity, such as wearing your favorite outfit. Clothes that make you feel good and affirm your gender, as well as binding (using a binder to flatten your chest) or packing, can make a big difference (padding your underwear to give the appearance of having a penis). Wear clothes that make you feel at ease and confident to help alleviate symptoms such as bloating and a swollen chest.XResearch source
- 8Have an orgasm. This isn't always the best option if you're dysphoric, but having an orgasm during your period may help relieve menstrual cramps, help you fall asleep faster, and help you gain confidence. You or your partner can use a vibrator or another toy for some clitoral stimulation (because not everyone inserts their fingers or other objects to achieve an orgasm). Again, if you're dysphoric or simply don't want to, don't feel obligated to masturbate or have sex on your period.XResearch source
- Know ways to manage sex if you're transgender or nonbinary.
Part 3Part 3 of 3:Taking Care of Yourself
- 1Keep track of your menstrual cycle. When you track your menstrual cycle, you will be notified when your period is due. You can mark a red dot on a calendar, use a calendar app on your phone, or a period-tracking app. XResearch source
- "Clue," a gender-neutral period tracking app, with the advantage of having a non-gendered interface (unlike many apps that are not only very "women" focused, but also almost entirely pink) and not making assumptions about anyone’s gender simply because they menstruate.
- 2Change your diet. During your period, it may be tempting to snack on potato chips or candy. These foods high in sugar, trans fat, and salt can cause bloating and inflammation, worsening muscle pain and cramping. Some healthier alternatives include:XResearch sourceXResearch source
- Leafy greens: Iron levels can be increased by eating leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach. Spinach is high in magnesium as well.
- Nuts: The majority of nuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids and a good source of protein. They also have magnesium and a variety of vitamins.
- Pineapple: The sweet fruit contains manganese, copper, vitamin C, B1, B6 and several other vitamins. Pineapple’s vitamins help to relax your muscles, making it an excellent remedy for menstrual cramps.
- Yogurt: Yogurt can nourish the good bacteria in your vagina and may aid in the fight against infections. Yogurt is also high in magnesium and other important nutrients such as calcium.
- Bananas: Bananas may be the answer to easing menstrual cramps. They are high in potassium and can help prevent muscle pain and bloating.
- Beverages you should drink on your period include peppermint tea, herbal tea, and water.
- Avoid red meat, caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods.
- 3Be safe while binding on your period. Your chest may swell and become sore in the days preceding a period for many people with breast tissue. For most people, this may appear to be just another unpleasant symptom of PMS, but it can cause unbearable dysphoria and discomfort.XResearch source
- Limit your binder usage by wearing it only to work or school, then changing into loose-fitting shirts and pasties at home.
- As a temporary substitute for a binder, you could wear a sports bra or a tank top.
- Giving yourself (or receiving one from a partner) a massage can help alleviate the symptoms of tenderness and soreness in your breasts/chest area. This is not a good option for everyone, though, especially if you have dysphoria.
- Don’t do high-energy activities with a binder or sleep in your binder.
- 4Note that taking hormones can have a significant impact on your period.XResearch sourceXResearch source
- Testosterone: If you take testosterone or use hormone replacement therapy, your period may become lighter and shorter over time, or it may arrive unexpectedly before stopping. Testosterone injections (rather than testosterone cream) can hasten this process. Occasional spotting or cramping may be normal after a period has ended. This is not permanent, so if you stop taking hormones, your period will return.XResearch source
- Puberty blocking hormones: Puberty blocking hormones prevent the gendered changes that occur during puberty, including body changes such as breast growth and menstruation.
- 5Remember getting pregnant is still possible if you haven’t had surgery to remove your reproductive organs — even if your period is becoming more irregular. Ovulation will most likely be blocked if you use testosterone, but it is possible to become pregnant while using testosterone. So, if you’re having sexual relations with someone who has sperm and don’t want to get pregnant, take precautions and use birth control.XResearch source
- With hormonal birth control, people who use certain types of hormonal birth control may notice that their periods become lighter or stop entirely.
- 6Consider taking dietary supplements. Vitamin D can aid in the absorption of calcium and the reduction of inflammation in the body. Other supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and magnesium, can help reduce inflammation and may even make your periods less painful. Take supplements on a daily basis, not just during your period, for the best results. Also, because some supplements interact with medications, consult your doctor before beginning any new regimen.XResearch source
- 7Take care of any pain or concerns during your period. Take pain medication, such as ibuprofen, if necessary; everyone experiences some level of pain during their periods. There is a common misconception that painful periods are a normal part of some people’s menstrual cycles, but this is not the case. If your periods are consistently uncomfortable, painful, or debilitating, it’s critical to consult with a doctor you trust and find a solution that works for you. XResearch source
- If your symptoms are unbearable, consult your doctor. While some pain and discomfort are normal during your period, you should see a doctor if your symptoms become intolerable.
- Everyone deserves to be seen by healthcare professionals who are attentive to their needs and capable of providing thoughtful care. If you’re looking for a provider who is more sensitive to your specific needs and knowledgeable about trans, genderqueer, and non-binary issues, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association’s searchable provider databases may be useful.XResearch source
- QuestionIsn’t this the same as a period for anyone?No. Menstruation occurs in everyone who has a uterus (unless they are using hormone blockers). While a cisgender girl might be fine with her period, a period for a transgender or nonbinary person can be distressing and cause dysphoria.
- QuestionIs it OK to get my uterus removed?Sure, if you want to. This is referred to as a hysterectomy, the permanent removal of a uterus. You won't be able to get pregnant or menstruate once you get this. There are some risks to this, the procedure can be costly, and you must be over 18. Do research and make sure you truly want your uterus removed before making the decision.
- QuestionCan a man have a period?A trans man could possibly have a menstrual cycle, but a cisgender man can't have a period.
- QuestionIs there underwear suitable for a trans period?Absolutely! TomboyX has great leakproof boxers for people of all shapes and sizes. Thinx has period boyshort underwear (but is more pricey). Knix has leakproof boxer briefs in multiple sizes. Try some of these and see what works for you.
- QuestionIt's the emotional toll for me. I can't stand it. How can I deal with that?It can be hard, but the best advice I could give is to take your mind off your period with something you enjoy. This could be watching funny videos on the internet, listing to a playlist of your favorite songs, reading, creating art, texting friends, or talking to family.
- QuestionWhen do periods stop for good?Most people stop menstruating in their late 40's or early 50's. The ending of menstrual cycles for someone in their life is referred to as menopause.
- If you feel uncomfortable or dysphoric buying menstrual products in public, have them shipped to your home rather than buying them in a store, or have a trusted friend buy them.
- Wash your hands before and after using menstrual products.
- It’s a good idea to purchase a pair of pad-friendly boxers.