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Travel, menopause, and your period

As you pack up your bags and get ready for your vacation, the last thing you want to think about is menopause. Unfortunately, menopause does not take a vacation. But with some advance planning you can lessen the severity of your menopause symptoms and concentrate on relaxing and having fun.

Menopause and your period

If you are no longer taking birth control pills or have never done so, you know that your period keeps its own loose resemblance of a schedule. During the perimenopausal years, your all-over-the-place hormones mean even more erratic and irregular menstrual cycles. Anyone who has experienced a wayward period knows the frustration, discomfort, inconvenience, and maybe even embarrassment.

*Pack a just-in-case supply of your preferred menstrual protection. While traveling close to home may mean easier access to drug or grocery stores, consider holiday closings or that some areas do not have longer shopping hours or close on Sundays. Finding pads and tampons is more complicated overseas; many European and Asian tampon brands (like OB) come without applicators. Plus you will pay much more if you do manage to find brands such as Tampax because they are often in expat stores.

Some countries may also have cultural preferences for pads, making tampons impossible to find. Drug stores overseas are not always like those in North America and may carry few if any feminine protection items. Some places require you to ask for products (unlike grabbing off the shelf at Walgreens or CVS) which may be uncomfortable for some women, or challenging due to language barriers.

Another problem is that when you are in an emergency situation, the cost is often higher. Some places such as cruise ships or resort shops charge exorbitant prices for necessities because as desperation sets in you will have little or no choice to shop elsewhere.

By having a few daysí supply of pads or tampons and some panty liners, you will be prepared for those unpleasant surprises. If you are very brand loyal, consider bringing enough to get you through an entire period. Because these items are exempt from liquid restrictions, you can keep your supply on hand in your carry-on luggage or keep a just a few and pack the rest in your checked luggage.

Note, never assume that just because you had your period recently, you may be home free. For many women, travel and different time zones can disrupt your normal schedule.

(Editor Note: After several trips in North America and overseas, I have lost count of the number of times I had to track down products at odd times. This is even after the calendar assured me that I would be clear. Now I pack these items regardless. TES)

*Bring a travel-sized package of handy wipes or moisturized cloths. You can put a few from home in a plastic baggie, which will take up very little room. These are great for many purposes including cleaning up after an unexpected period or if you encounter washrooms without toilet tissue.

*Plan to bring a spare pair of underwear. You may already pack enough to last your whole vacation, or you may heed the advice of many travel sites that suggest you bring a couple of pairs. The idea is you wash out a pair at the end of the day, wearing your alternate pair. Either way, by having a spare pair of panties, you will be able to have clean dry underwear at the ready and not have to worry about scrambling to buy more especially if you have to toss a pair in the garbage.

With a little planning, you can take back your vacation and not let a period get in the way until menopause brings one comforting future bonus: being able to travel and never having to deal with menstruation again.

Keep track of your body's changes with Menopause, Your Doctor, and You

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