TIPS FOR TREKKING AND BACKPACKING DURING YOUR PERIODS
26 Sep 2017
So girls, ready for your next trek for the upcoming long weekend? You might have prepared for everything, in your mind- but you know there is an elephant in the room that we need to address!
Your Periods! Yes, one of the things that we women do while planning a trek is to check the calendar to see if our period dates are coinciding with the trek or not. This is a fact, that period can be an uncomfortable experience and the thought of dealing with it while hiking/trekking can keep even the most adventurous girl off the trail. But we should know how to deal with it during our adventurous endeavours. And definitely, it should not keep us off the mountains
So here are a couple of tips based on all the doubts and apprehensions that keep buzzing in your mind.
1. BILLION DOLLAR QUESTION: TAMPON OR PADS
Pads? Tampons? Both?
Frankly, the choice is yours. Since, every woman’s menstrual flow varies, so one should go for the product that one feels most comfortable with. If you use traditional tampons or pads, you might want to bring your chosen brand with you, depending on the length of your trip.
Though, every product has its own pros and cons. Pad is always easy to use as you know the routine and how it works for you, whereas tampons need to be handled a bit more carefully but for monsoon and waterfall fun, tampons are highly recommended. They are less likely to spoil your undergarments and avoid unnecessary leakage. *Word of Caution* Consider using non-applicator tampons. Non-applicator tampons take up far less storage space.
2. WHAT SHOULD BE THE COPING MECHANISM?
With extreme preparedness, when the going gets tough, the tough surely get going!
Stock up your first- aid kit with painkillers. Though it is advisable to use them only in case of extreme pain which usually is during the first two days. Just avoid popping in them often.This might include Meftal Spas/paracetamol, or painkillers, which you might need a prescription for. You also should consider natural remedies like chamomile tea, an anti-inflammatory.
Drink plenty of fluids. I learned this lesson the (very) hard way. If you are dehydrated or just trying to avoid having to pee outside, you will increase your chances for a UTI because you are not adequately flushing your system. If you're taking pain relief medication, you'll need sufficient water both to ensure the medicine works properly and to dilute it so your stomach does not become upset.
Try to soothe your lower back with either a heating pad or if that is taking too much space in your backpack, then consider boiling a towel so that it can act as pain relief. If you are having cramps.
Period clothing is very similar to plane outfit. Dress for comfort and plan for bloating. Yoga pants, loose-fitting tops are a good idea, paired with comfortable shoes.
3. KEEP IT ‘HYGIENIC’
Practice proper hygiene. By keeping an eye on hygiene, you will help avoid vaginal and UTI. Make sure to carry extra sanitary pads/tampons; Pack plenty of hand sanitizer; keep a small bottle with your toiletries, so it's always there when you need it and pack baby wipes for maximum cleanliness. Strictly avoid scented products.
Wash your hands with soap and clean water when you’re in camp, and use hand sanitizer while on the trail.
The concept is pretty new in India, but it is preferable, nowadays, to switch to disposable underwear and these are easily available nowadays.
4. DISPOSE IT RIGHT’
Follow the NO TRACE PRINCIPLE!
Firstly, to keep everything sorted during your trek, it is best to make a ‘ GO KIT’. This is a sack containing a clean bag to carry products in, and a waste bag to carry used items out.
Secondly, zip-lock bags are the best way to carry out used tampons, pads and toilet paper to contain odors. It is better to line the bag with aluminium foil so the content remains private. While disposing of used sanitary products, seal them in an airtight Ziploc bag to reduce the odour of menstrual blood. Place the Ziploc bag with your other trash. Or if you are trailing the interiors of a village, then wait for the nearest town where they can be properly be disposed.
Most importantly, Do Not Discard used sanitary pads/tampons anywhere. If you want mountains to call you again and again, then you need to respect it first.
5. KNOW SOME EXERCISES
Unless you have special medical concerns associated with your period, it is perfectly safe and even advisable to exercise during menstruation. In fact, many studies show that women who exercise regularly experience less menstrual pain and shorter periods. For starters, start practising Reverse crunches. It is the best-known exercise for the cycle. They strengthen your pelvic area and lower back and reduce the pain. You can do a few sets whenever it is convenient, but try and start doing them a couple of days before you’re due.
6. LET THE LEADERS KNOW
Off late there has been a surge in the number of female trekkers and solo travelers. Therefore, trek leads are being trained for handling such situation Keep your trek leads informed about your situation. Ask for the suggestions if need be. They are there for a reason.
So Just Go and Live It Up! Remember, trekking/hiking on your period is not a handicap - so don’t treat it like one.