For transgender people, your period isn’t just that time of the month; it’s the worst time of the month. It’s always important to accept ourselves, but it’s difficult when our bodies make us experience something that feels contradictory to how we see ourselves. (Every. Single. Month.)
Luckily, there are many things we can do to make ourselves feel better, so “that time of the month” doesn’t have to feel so frustrating. Below, find suggestions on beating period dysphoria as a trans person.
- Get Dressed Up
Putting on clothes that make you feel good can help in taking back ownership of your body. If your period makes you feel like you aren’t yourself, wearing your favorite clothes will. Pose in front of the mirror! Go and do a photoshoot! You’re still you, and should remember that (and capture the moment with a selfie or two).
- Work Out
Working out isn’t everyone’s favorite activity—it’s definitely not mine—but it’s well-documented that regular exercise, especially during one’s period, can help reduce period pain. When you reduce your pain, you’re in control—rather than your period or your body. Exercising should reduce some dysphoria by eliminating some pain and boosting your endorphins.
Don’t love exercise? Try simply walking outside. Experiment with different types of movement to find one that makes you happy. (And you can read our period workout survival guide here.)
- Talk About It
It’s never a good idea to let anger and frustration get pent up. Try talking about the discomfort, anger or frustration you’re feeling with a trusted loved one or professional therapist.
It’s important to educate our loved ones about how we’re feeling, and what specific experiences we go through as trans people. More importantly, these conversations can allow us to process our feelings, too.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking out loud, try journaling! Writing things down is a great way to process emotions and to tangibly express how you’re feeling both physically and emotionally. You’ll be surprised by how much better you feel afterwards.
- Try Less Traditional Menstrual Products
Tampons and pads are typically associated with femininity. If it makes you uncomfortable going to the store to buy them, it could be time to try an alternative that feels more like you. A lot of sustainable options exist nowadays that can help you distance yourself from the overtly flowery packaging of tampons and pads, while also being significantly better for your body and the environment. One great option to help make your period feel more normal is period panties. Instead of having to add something to your routine (or run to the store to buy tampons), all you need to do is just put on a new pair of underwear like you would any other day.
- Make a Plan
Maybe the next step for you will involve eliminating your period altogether. In fact, many trans and nonbinary folks achieve this, typically by either adding to or changing their birth control method, or getting on testosterone.
While a lot of cis women simply see their periods as a rite of passage, it can feel like a total burden for assigned female at birth (AFAB) trans people. Testosterone will eliminate your period, but if you feel like it isn’t for you, you can also use contraceptives. I didn’t get my IUD for the sake of eliminating my periods, but the fact that it has makes it one of the most gender-affirming experiences I’ve had.
- Hang Out With Your Friends
Think of the people you feel most comfortable and yourself around, and remember how important it is to make time for them. It’s as simple as this: Laughing and spending time with loved ones can easily take your mind off of physical or emotional discomfort you’re feeling (and they’ll understand why being on your period is so much more upsetting because they respect your gender identity). We can never underestimate how important our chosen family can be when we need them most.
And if you can’t hang out in person, FaceTime dates work too!
- Sit Back & Relax
When all else fails, the best thing might be to just “veg out” and watch a movie. Get into some comfy clothes and watch an old favorite. Your period will be over soon, and it’s okay to treat yourself gently while you’re feeling down.