With air travel volume expected to reach pre-pandemic levels in Canada this holiday season, ’tis the season for travel stress. Much of the stress that comes with travel is unavoidable, and having your period can only serve to exacerbate it—but there are ways to make travelling with your period pain-free. We chatted with Lux Perry, co-founder and CEO of Vancouver-based period pain management company somedays to get their top tips for navigating your period over the holidays and while travelling. —Noa Nichol
Hi Lux! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
I’ve struggled with chronic pain for most of my life, and I’ve tried everything out there – but nothing worked for me when it came to period pain relief. After years of debilitating pain, and almost zero support from the medical system, I began to explore alternative options. My first “aha” moment came when I realized period cramps are muscle cramps (which seems obvious now) and realized that a lot of the research being done on sports recovery could potentially apply to period pain. Once I found a solution that worked for me I knew I had to share it with others and launched somedays with my co-founders in early 2021.
When and why did you launch somedays, and what niche were/are you aiming to fill?
We believe that somedays was founded out of necessity. For people who menstruate, there aren’t a lot of options out there to soothe their pain. Traditional pain medications like Tylenol or Advil can help ease pain temporarily but often come with some less desirable side effects. Somedays aims to offer safe, natural and effective options for everybody that are informed by the latest research on chronic pain and natural pain relief. From a sexist medical system that dismisses women’s pain as “hysteria” to a culture that believes women’s suffering is inevitable, we are conditioned to believe that period pain is normal. We want to change that by empowering people to seek and receive the menstrual care and pain relief they deserve. Since our launch last year, we have been able to share our mission that “period pain is not normal” with over 2 billion people and are proud to say that we now offer the largest selection of period pain relief in North America.
We understand that, with air travel volume expected to reach pre-pandemic levels in Canada this holiday season, ‘tis the season for travel stress, especially if you are on the go with your period. How so?
I think almost everyone can agree that the holiday season can be an incredibly busy and stressful time. Airports are notoriously busy, and as travel and social engagements pick up coming out of the pandemic, this year is shaping up to be one of the busiest we’ve seen in a while. When you add your period to the mix, it can be a recipe for unpleasantness. Not only can it be logistically frustrating to deal with your period on the go (changing your tampon in an airplane bathroom is no fun at all), but stress can also make period pain worse. Stress can affect the hormonal pathways in the body, including the hormones that control the menstrual cycle, making your period more painful than in times of calm. It’s critical that we listen and pay attention to cues from our body and give ourselves the dignity of rest when we need it.
What are your top tips for making travelling with your period pain-free, and for navigating our period over the holidays? (Let’s look at what foods to eat during various phases of your cycle, periods and planes, and your recommended period packing list).
Much of the stress that comes with travel is unavoidable, but if you know your period is coming, there are a few ways that you can prepare to help your future self:
Prep a period packing list: If you know your period is on its way, plan what you’ll need in advance. Consider putting together a travel kit (like the Better Period Kit), and remember to pack extra sets of underwear (Revol Undies are period-proof). A reusable menstrual cup is a practical and sustainable choice for travel, and it could be a great option for long travel days. You should also make sure pain relief options are available in case a wave hits when you’re not expecting it. Herbal teas can help alleviate (and prevent) menstrual cramps, and a cozy heating pad helps relieve period pain in the moment. My personal go-to hack will always be somedays Cramp Cream. I never leave home without it (you can literally put that stuff on everything).
How to manage periods and planes: Be sure to drink plenty of water if your holiday travel plans include a plane (dehydration makes pain worse), and use the time to give your body permission to rest. If you’re on a long-haul flight or a long road trip, foam rolling or going for a walk or gentle stretch upon reaching your destination can help bring your body back into balance.
Plan foods to eat during various phases of your cycle: Your holiday dinner might have a set menu, but it can be helpful to keep your cycle in mind when meal planning over the holidays. Start increasing your colourful fruit and vegetable intake during the follicular phase of your menstrual cycle. In the ovulation phase, strive to eat quality protein. In the luteal phase, focus on high-quality fats and incorporating plenty of dark greens, and in the menstrual phase, aim to bring nutrients back into the body. If you need more info, somedays has a blog post dedicated to grocery shopping in sync with your cycle.
Listen to your body: During busy and stressful times, we’re more likely to ignore what our bodies need. It’s so crucial that you listen to your body’s queues when it’s telling you to slow down and rest, especially if you suffer from pain during your cycle. Lastly, keep in mind that it’s okay to say no and skip that last holiday party in favour of some TLC.