Whilst attending band camp on your period isn’t convenient, it certainly shouldn’t hold you back. Here are 10 essential tips for surviving band camp on your period:
1. Talk To Your Drum Major/Band Director Beforehand
If you’ve recently started your period (or are due to start it), it’s imperative to speak to your drum major and/or band director before starting drill. Whilst this can understandably be embarrassing, they’ll fully-understand that you may need to use the restroom at short notice. If they’re unaware of the situation, they might be more hesitant to allow you to use the restroom in the middle of drill.
Here’s a quick guide on speaking to your drum major or band director:
- Don’t be embarrassed: Periods are completely normal. Your drum major or band director will almost-certainly understand the situation.
- Choose the right moment: Try to speak to them before drill starts, preferably when there aren’t many people around. If you’re in the middle of drill, try to wait until there’s a break before asking to use the restroom. If necessary, tell them it’s urgent.
- Speak to whomever you feel most-comfortable with: If you have the choice to speak to either your drum major or band director, speak to whomever you feel most-comfortable with.
2. Use The Restroom At Every Opportunity
Band camp often involves several hours of drill without a break. Therefore, it’s essential to make use of the restroom whenever you have a chance. Even if you don’t feel like you need it, use it anyway. If you don’t, you could end up bleeding on your uniform, which would be a very embarrassing and expensive ordeal.
3. Be Prepared
Planning ahead will ensure everything goes smoothly once the inevitable happens. It’s highly-recommended to carry a small bag containing the following:
- Extra tampons/menstrual cups
- Spare underwear
- Hand sanitizer
- Wet wipes
- Medication (such as ibuprofen or Pamprin Max)
4. Avoid Pads
Pads are a definite no-go when it comes to band camp. Marching can easily move the pad out of place, which may cause you to bleed through your clothing. Instead, it’s recommended to use one of the following:
- Tampons: Tampons offer much more freedom of movement that pads do. However, they’ll need to be changed every 4-5 hours.
- Menstrual cups: These are reusable silicone cups that are inserted into the vagina during menstruation. They offer full freedom of movement and only need to be emptied every 10-12 hours, making them ideal for band camp. I’d recommend investing in a mini kit such as this one on Amazon.
5. Stay Hydrated
As you most-likely know, staying hydrated is essential when you’re marching in direct sunlight for 8-12 hours per day. However, staying hydrated can also help relieve the following period symptoms:
- Bloating/cramps: Research has suggested that drinking more water can increase water retention (by improving kidney function). As a result, drinking more water can relieve bloating/cramps.
- Migraines: Whilst staying hydrated won’t cure a migraine, being dehydrated will only make it worse.
- Constipation: Research has shown that drinking more water can relieve constipation.
I’d recommend buying an insulated gallon jug with a strap such as this one and keeping it with you at all times.
6. Keep Cool
Marching in hot weather is uncomfortable enough as it is. However, your period can often make the heat feel even more uncomfortable. Here are a few actionable tips for keeping cool whilst marching:
- Acclimatize to the heat beforehand: If possible, try to exercise outdoors every day for a week before band camp starts. This will allow you to acclimatize to the heat.
- Wear light colored clothing: Light colored clothing absorbs far less heat than dark colored clothing does.
- Partially freeze your water: Half-fill an insulated gallon jug with water and freeze it overnight. The next morning, fill the jug to the top. This will ensure your water stays cold for the entire day.
- Place a wet rag under your hat/helmet: In many cases, keeping your head cool is half the battle. Try placing a wet rag under your hat/helmet to keep you cool.
- Dress sparingly underneath your uniform: If you’re dressed in full uniform, try to keep the layers to a minimum. I’d recommend a t-shirt and basketball shorts.
7. Wear Comfortable Clothing
There’s no doubt that period side-effects (such as bloating and cramps) might make marching even more uncomfortable than it needs to be. As a result, it’s essential to wear the most comfortable clothing you can. For regular practice, I’d recommend wearing the following:
- Compression shirt: Compression shirts are made from spandex-type material. They’re lightweight, breathable and offer UV protection of up to UPF50+.
- Gym shorts: Gym shorts are breathable and lightweight, making them especially comfortable. Many gym short brands also offer UV protection of up to UPF50+.
- Baseball cap: If you commonly experience migraines as a period side-effect, sunlight will only make them worse. Make sure you wear a baseball cap to keep the sun out of your eyes whilst marching.
8. Consider Menstrual Pain Relief Medication
Menstrual pain relief medication (such as Pamprin Max) often contains a combination of:
It can relieve the following period symptoms:
Make sure you read all directions on the product packaging before taking menstrual pain relief medication.
9. Stretch Before & After Marching
As you might know, stretching before and after physical activity can effectively prevent injury. However, it can also ease common period symptoms.
Here’s a great stretching routine specifically for cramps and PMS from Yoga With Adriene on YouTube:
10. Treat Yourself
There’s no denying that surviving band camp on your period is no easy task. As a result, you deserve to treat yourself after drill. Consider heading to the local ice cream shop or taking a long shower once you’re done for the day.
- Does marching band look good for college? Marching band can look good for college as it demonstrates discipline, leadership skills and an interest in extra-curricular activities.
- How long does band camp last? Most band camps last between five days and four weeks.