If you keep track of your period, you may have noticed a pattern emerging to do with how you feel on certain days. Some days you might feel utterly miserable – bad cramps, heavy bleeding, emotional etc., whereas other days you’d barely even know you had your period. And even if you don’t keep track of things, I’m sure you’d probably be able to work out which is the worst day of your period – you just might not know when you’re going to get your period next!
The problem is that unless you log your bleed days and symptoms it all kind of just blurs into one ‘bad period’. When in actual fact we all have a day during our period when our symptoms feel harsher than normal. And the funny thing is, the worst day of your period is likely to be the same as most other women, because yep there really is one particularly bad day.
Today we’re going to find out what that day is as well as taking a look at the reason why it’s worse on that day versus all the other days of your period.
The Worst Day Of Your Period Revealed
You might be able to feel it brewing in the days beforehand. Perhaps you’re feeling more tired, more irritable, maybe your legs feel heavy when you exercise, or you’re being hit with an uncontrollable urge to eat your own body weight in chocolate. Your period is definitely on its way, but the lead up and even the first day of bleeding is not the worst day of your period.
So, what is the worst day then?
Day 2. That’s the bad one. The day when you’re at your heaviest, moodiest, and most tired. Day 2 aka the worst day of your period.
Why Is This Day Worse Than The Others?
But what makes day 2 stand out from the other days? Why is this day particularly bad? Let’s firstly understand why we experience menstrual cramping.
Menstrual cramping occurs when the muscular wall of the womb contracts more vigorously than normal to help it shed the lining of the womb. Every time the wall of the womb contracts, the blood vessels that line the womb are compressed, which causes a temporary disruption to the blood and oxygen supply to your womb. This cramping sounds painful enough in itself, but just to add more fuel to the fire, when the womb isn’t getting enough oxygen, it releases chemicals that trigger pain. To top it all off and throw a bit more pain in there, as the body releases these pain-triggering chemicals, it also produces prostaglandins, a type of chemical that encourages the womb muscles to contract even more so. Which is precisely why it can feel as though your mid-section is being squeezed through a mangle. And guess what day that happens? Yep, that’s right, day 2.
The average period will last between 2 and 7 days. And whilst you can experience cramping at any point during this time, and indeed in the days leading up to this, it is by far the most painful during day 2 of your period. The reason for this is simple. You may also have noticed that day 2 of your period is when your flow is at its heaviest. And so, it all starts to make sense…
- Contractions in the womb help shed the bloody lining of the womb.
- More contractions equal more blood.
- Leaving you in pain, feeling bloated, dealing with heavy blood loss, and therefore feeling tired and utterly drained.
Women lose between 20 to 90ml of blood with each period. Which to give you a better idea is roughly 1 to 5 tablespoons. Day 2 of your period sees the biggest blood loss and it will be red in colour. As your period progresses, the colour of the blood will change to pink or brown as the flow gets lighter. You may also notice some blood clots in the early days of your period, which is nothing to be alarmed about, it is just that your womb lining is thicker at this point.
The muscle cramps you feel on the second day of your period may also spread to your back and thighs and can come in spasms, or it may feel as though you have a dull, but constant ache. This pain that you feel will usually only last for about 48 to 72 hours, with day 2 being the worst day because that is the day your flow is heaviest.
How our periods behave can change throughout our lives. Young girls often experience period pain from about a year after they get their first period. This can then continue throughout your menstruating years; however some women notice an improvement after they have had children. Period pain can then worsen as women get older, especially around the time a woman starts experiencing perimenopause symptoms.
How Can We Ease Menstrual Symptoms On The Worst Day Of Your Period?
Not all women experience menstrual symptoms. However, the vast majority of women will experience some degree of discomfort during their period. There’s not a lot we can do about it, after all the body is just going through a natural process, however there are ways we can help to alleviate these symptoms.
Here are a few ways to make you feel better on day 2 of your period:
- Exercise – Although it may be the last thing you feel like doing, including some gentle exercise on day 2 of your period can really help ease the cramping and will also help ‘flush’ you out a bit quicker.
- Drink lots of water – Keeping well hydrated during the heavier days of your period will make you feel more energised, reduce bloating, can shorten the length of your bleed, and will help reduce pain.
- Use a heat pad – Holding a heat pad on your stomach will help ease muscle cramps. You can get ones that you pop in the microwave to heat up for a few seconds and they work absolute wonders.
- Take ibuprofen – If the pain gets too much take some ibuprofen. This is an anti-inflammatory medicine that will help reduce the pain you’re feeling.
- Have a warm bath – Like the heat pad, a warm bath will ease muscle cramps and help relax your whole body.
- Eat a healthy diet – If you’re feeling bloated it’s advisable to steer clear of heavy, fatty, processed foods when you have your period. Instead, opt for lighter, smaller meals which include plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and good carbs.
There’s no getting away from the fact that day 2 of your period is a nightmare. But what helps is knowing when day 2 is going to be as well as knowing what you can do to help yourself when day 2 comes.
If you have any concerns about the symptoms you are experiencing, always contact your GP for advice.