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When periods send you off piste

reading time: 2 minutes reading time

Who can resist the call of the slopes at this time of year?

Snow-topped pines, fresh mountain air, steaming hot chocolate… bliss.

You’re halfway down a crowded piste when, all of a sudden, you get your period. Not ideal, let alone idyllic.

Clomping through a packed bar in your boots, queuing for the one and only toilet, struggling out of your gear (the only saving grace being it’s usually thickly padded), realising your emergency tampon got damp when you wiped-out earlier, and of course, there’s never any toilet paper. Off piste? More like piste off.

So you head down, feeling sorry for yourself, forgetting that you booked the cheapest deal with six of you all sleeping in one room and sharing a bathroom. All you want is a bit of peace and privacy. It turns out that costs extra.

It doesn’t matter what type of holiday you’re on, periods have a habit of showing up in the most inconvenient (and whitest) of places.

But there is a bright side to all this. There are lots of experts who say that exercise may help during your period. Cramps are caused by the uterine muscles not getting enough oxygen. As you carve down the slopes like a total pro, your heart starts pumping, increasing the flow of oxygen all over your body and reducing the pain.* Exercise also generates a great endorphin rush, in exactly the same way as chocolate (can I have both?), which may help with the pesky mood swings. Finally, when you’re feeling tired or bloated, the fresh mountain air is the perfect medicine.

On a practical level, as I mentioned before, a lot of ski and snowboarding gear is baggy, thick and padded so you can wear your biggest pants and thickest pads without any fear of discovery. Just avoid the all-in-ones or the ones with braces, unless you fancy doing a full strip in the coldest and tiniest of toilets every time you need to change your tampon. And keep your supplies dry in a small plastic bag – highly absorbent materials and melting snow are far from an ideal combination!


*If you experience very painful cramps on or around your period, your doctor may be able to help you find a way to decrease the pain.