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PERSONAL CARE DURING MENSTRUATION

Don't worry - be happy
Though it is not an easy time for girls, it is best to assure your daughter it is merely a passing phase which will stay for just a few days in a month.

Exercise
A good exercise regime coupled with a proper diet can also help to relieve the stress. It will energize her and boost her self confidence.

Exercises like:

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Deep breathing - Lie on the floor with knees raised. Push stomach out as you inhale. Pull stomach in as you exhale. Repeat it four times keeping the back and arms flat against the floor.
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Sky stretch - Stand on tiptoe. Take a deep breath and stretch both arms towards the sky. Hold. Release and exhale. Repeat.

Regular physical activity will tone muscles and burn off extra pounds, making her look good and feel good. In addition, she will feel more energetic and will be able to cope with stress with a renewed self-confidence.

Eat healthy

As a mother you can help her to be aware and adhere to a healthier diet, which will make her fit. Make sure that she eats regularly and includes a lot of fresh juices, particularly carrot, green vegetable and fresh grape juice when available. When she starts menstruating, she runs a risk of becoming anaemic in case of a heavy menstrual flow which can lead to tiredness. Hence it is important for your daughter to eat iron rich foods.

Also, advise her to avoid excessive caffeine in coffee or tea, because they are thought to aggravate the symptoms. Be sure she gets her dose of Vitamin B6 found in whole grain, bananas, meat & fish. Many women swear this wonderful vitamin is the best way to beat PMS, for it is supposed to relieve fluid retention and consequently the soreness and tenderness of the breasts. But it is best to speak to your doctor before giving your daughter Vitamin B6 in supplementary form.

The nutrition chart below will help both you and your daughter decide on a good nutritional balanced diet.

NUTRIENTS
FOOD FOUND IN.
Carbohydrates
Grains, pulses, vegetables, cornflakes, yogurt and potatoes.
Proteins
Milk, eggs, nuts, poultry and fish.
Iron
Eggs, beans, spinach, potatoes bananas, apple, jaggery, dates, dark grapes and lean red meat.
Magnesium
Nuts, soyabean and dark green leafy vegetables.
Calcium
Dairy products, milk, eggs, almonds and soyabean.

Advice for discomfort in the breasts
To decrease the discomfort in the breast you can advise her:

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To eat less salty food, which will reduce the amount of water the body is storing, consequently relieving the tenderness and soreness of the breast.
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Assist her to find a well fitting bra. A cotton bra would be the most suitable, especially in hot, humid climatic conditions of India.

Helping menstrual cramps

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Putting a hot water bottle on her lower abdomen and back will help.
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A gentle massage to her abdomen will also alleviate the pain.
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Exercising may help, a good brisk walk may do the trick.
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Good effective medicines are available to lessen the pain of menstrual cramps (though these should only be taken on the advice of a doctor).

Looking good during periods
As the skin is a problematic area during menstruation, because of the increased secretion by the oil glands which are triggered by the hormones, a few suggestions to your daughter to make her feel and look better :

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Drink a lot of water, about 8-10 glasses.
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Regularly wash the face, twice a day with mild soap or facewash to get rid of dead skin cells, sweat and harmful bacteria.
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Use a cleanser morning and evening before returning to bed. Follow it with a toner which unclogs the pores and deep cleanses the skin. The next step is moisturizing. In case of an oily skin, use an oil free moisturizer, which is easily available.

How to keep your daughter prepared for her periods?

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Keep a calendar handy and ask your daughter to check the regularity of menstrual cycle. This way she can keep herself prepared with a sanitary pad in her bag around the day when she expects her period.
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If she is caught unprepared at any time, ask her not to panic and instruct her to roll up a toilet paper tissue for the time being and use it. Ask her not to hesitate to approach her teacher, friend or any other lady for help.
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One should try and wear dark coloured clothes when expecting the period, so as to avoid the embarrassment of staining the underwear and clothes. It pays to keep checking one's pad especially when one is at someone else's house, at a party, at college or at a movie.
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During periods, one should keep paper bags or plastic bags handy, so that one can dispose used pads discreetly.