Are you someone who has a lust for travel and collects travel guides like a shoe collection? Perhaps you dream of eating at the best patisseries in Paris or seeing the Eiffel Tower. Maybe you want to see the leaning tower of Pisa and eat the best that Italian food has on offer. Perhaps you want to see the pyramids for yourself and touch its magical walls.
Alternatively, you could be involved in work that sees you traveling all over the world to conventions and business meetings. Perhaps you live a life of living out of your suitcase in hotel rooms in order to get the job done! The following video gives you the best tips for traveling on your period:
Travel Stress Affects Periods
Whatever reason you may be traveling, it can create a lot of stress, and the stress can cause hormonal imbalances. The stress that you may experience through travel can also be good stress called eustress, but nonetheless it is stress.
Dr. Alyssa Dweck, MS, MD, who is a practicing gynecologist at CareMount Medical in Westchester County, New York, says: “Travel can definitely alter menstrual habits. Travel involves stress for many women. Stress can alter ovulation and the well-orchestrated, accompanied hormonal changes entailed.”
Also, you have to be prepared for your period while traveling. If you are not, certain things can occur. If you wear tampons and quickly need to buy some, NOT all countries sell tampons (See guide at the end of this article).
There is also an option of taking a tablet that will stop your period while you travel but it is not recommended as it can make you feel ill and really tampers with your cycle.
Sleep Deprivation Affects Periods
Your circadian rhythm is really important to your body’s daily functions and affects your mood greatly. It also affects your hormone release. Your body is generally used to a certain hour that you fall asleep and a certain hour that you wake up. When you travel, you are going through time zones so things change. Your circadian rhythms respond to the light as well as the dark, and traveling through a change in this really confuses the body. This can make a change to your period and its regular schedule.
“Sleep deprivation – even just changing one or two time zones – can really mess with your circadian rhythms,” Dr. Donnica Moore, who is host of the Podcast, “In The Ladies’ Room’” explains. “And your circadian rhythms can also influence your internal hormone levels.”
Misuse of the Pill Affects Periods
If you take the pill, you know how important it is to take at the exact same time every single day to be effective. If you are traveling, you can forget to take it and you can also be affected by the changing of the time zones, so much so, you are confused as to when exactly to swallow it. The best thing to do is, on the day of your departure, take it at whatever time you normally swallow it and then put a 24-hour alarm on. That way after 24 hours, the alarm will go off and you will know, no matter wherever in the world you may be, to take the pill. Obviously, you will have to keep the pill with you and a bottle of water as well.
If you don’t take the responsibility involved in this, you may completely forget to take the pill and it can mess with the timing of your period – and if you are using it as a contraceptive, it is especially important to be responsible about this. You will need to remember to put on a 24 hour alarm every time you take your pill.
Jet Lag Affects Periods
Nobody enjoys jet lag. It can often take a full 24 hours or more to recuperate once you land. Often, you will even miss out a whole day of fun in order to catch up on sleep. Symptoms of jet lag include:
All of these have been known to affect your menstrual cycle. Things should go back to normal after two days provided you stay put in whatever region you have landed.
Now, when you actually do start your period while travelling, you need to look at the best options available to you.
The Best Option for Travel
Tampons and sanitary pads can take up a lot of space in your luggage, whether its your suitcase or handbag. Whenever you change them you need to make sure there is a dustbin in the bathroom to throw away the covers.
Then you get the magic of menstrual cups. They truly are a delight for any seasoned traveler. They are light and can fit into your jeans or jacket pocket, handbag or any small carrier and you can safely travel with the knowledge that you only need to change it every 6 hours. That way you can do all the fun things you are planning on doing, without the worry of having to run to the bathroom every hour.
Without a doubt, menstrual cups are the way to go when traveling as they will cause the least hassle for you. Still though, it’s important to know what feminine hygiene products are available to you according to where you travel:
What Feminine Hygiene Products are Available to you According to Where You Travel
Africa is a big continent. Of course, in South Africa, which is a very developed country, you will be able to have access to all sorts of products from pads to tampons (with and without applicators) and menstrual cups. Of course, there are also countries that are not so developed, such as Ethiopia. In Ethiopia you will mainly find pads – but if you are going to go explore the rural areas, don’t expect to find many menstrual products.
In Kenya, you can find many places to buy over the counter contraceptive pills, tampons and pads. In Madagascar, you will find tampons and pads in the major cities and pads in rural areas. In Morocco, tampons are available in big stores that cater to tourists and pads are found everywhere. If you do take a menstrual cup with, there are a lot of bathroom facilities with clean water to wash your cup. If you do decide to explore the pyramids in Egypt, you will be able to purchase pads.
In Israel you will be able to find a wide range of pads and tampons (with and without applicators). In Japan, you will find tampons with applicators and the pads tend to be very bulky, big and long. In Malaysia, you will find pads in supermarkets – but not pharmacies. You can also buy tampons with and without applicators in the city, but apparently, they are quite expensive. In the Philippines, you can find tampons and pads.
Bangladesh is quite a problem. Pads are often very big and ineffective. It is also almost impossible to find tampons. You also have to carry around toilet paper wherever you go to wrap around your used pads and tampons. In Cambodia, pads are much easier to find than tampons. Menstrual cups that can be reused are found at Western Pharmacy in Phnom Penh, Bantreay’s Women’s Spa in Kampot and Peace Café in Siem Reap.
In Thailand, pads are more available than tampons but they can be found as well. In China, pads are available, but they are smaller than the pads found in Western countries. In India, it is easier to find pads, but be aware that they are quite big and bulky. In Qatar pads and tampons are available but tampons are apparently quite rare and very expensive.
Australia is a very developed country with a wide variety of tampons and pads found everywhere. In New Zealand it is also easy to find pads and tampons.
In Ireland there is a wide variety of tampons, pads and menstrual cups. Emergency contraception is available over the counter. In Italy you can be comfortable knowing that straight after eating that delicious slice of pizza you can get a tampon or pad basically anywhere. In Germany, pads and tampons are available. There is also no need to worry in France.
If you want to travel to Belgium, pads and tampons are readily available. You will be able to find pads in Hungary and tampons with applicators in only a limited number of shops in Budapest. You will be able to find pads in Spain, and tampons have become more and more popular over the years. In Switzerland, you can have fun skiing on the slopes with no worry as tampons and pads are widely available.
In Canada you will easily be able to find tampons as well as pads. Menstrual cups are also easily found at drugstores and also at, surprisingly, health food stores. The USA has a huge range of tampons and pads and menstrual cups that are available at health food stores. If you feel like traveling to Mexico, pads and tampons are readily available everywhere. In Guatemala, pads and tampons are available but come with very little variety.
You can find pads and tampons in Argentina. In Chile, it is easy to find pads but not so much when it comes to tampons. All the tampons you find will come with applicators. Brazil also offers pads and tampons but it’s not too easy to find tampons with applicators. In Ecuador you will be able to find many pads as that is what most the local women use, and there aren’t tampons with applicators. In Peru you will be able to find pads in supermarkets although a limited number of tampons will be available to you.
So, you see, when traveling you have to take your period into account and be prepared. Although all these countries offer the choice of either pads or tampons, it is so much easier to just bring along your handy menstrual cup. There’s no worrying about wasting time looking through different supermarkets and pharmacies for tampons and pads and you will save so much money in the end. Menstrual cups are recommended by so many women in the world and many of them are avid travelers!