Most men (51%) believe that people who menstruate should not openly discuss menstruation. In fact some men even joke around or make a comment about their partner when they are on their period. However, what they don’t realise is that having periods is a natural process and extremely important for women as well.
While many men are uncomfortable when it comes to talking about menstruation, they certainly need to know more about it. It is not just three to five days of bleeding that they go through; it is much more. And some of the men have no idea what sanitary napkins, tampons or menstrual cups are.
The truth is that people who menstruate spend 40 years of their life in menstruation. While everyone has a different menstrual cycle, it is certain that many men have no idea about menstruation.It is not just the blood that they are shedding every month; they are shedding their uterine lining. During the menstrual cycle their uterine lining prepares itself to nest a fertilised egg. So, their body gets rid of the extra tissue in the form of menstruation or periods.
Now, you might be thinking why should you know about menstruation. Well, half of the global population includes people who menstruate which means you must have female friends or a partner who is going through a menstrual cycle every month. Apart from that, do you know that cisgender women who identifies as a female do not always go through menstruation and vice versa. However, wouldn’t you like to know what they go through every month during their periods? Why do they get irritated or what kind of pain they suffer from? This is your time to get to know all about it.
Well, we took the time to ensure you get to know what they go through during their periods. Have a read:
The contraction of the uterus is caused by the release of the hormone prostaglandin which leads to menstrual cramps that can be extremely painful. Some of them have pre-menstrual cramps which evolve before they get their periods. It leads to bloating as well. While some of them take painkillers or muscle relaxers for it, some just bear it during their menstrual cycle like a champ. However, it can be really hard for them while they work and take care of the household as well.
Yes, people who menstruate go through mood swings during their periods and can get quite emotional as well. They can feel physical discomfort during periods too. Some of them also go through feelings of depression and anxiety during their menstrual cycle. As they go through hormonal changes, they can have mood swings. When the oestrogen levels fluctuate during their periods, they become moody and emotional as well.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS is not a myth and starts a week or even ten days before the menstrual cycle. During PMS, the reproductive hormones, oestrogen and progesterone fluctuate together which can cause terrible mood swings, aches, food cravings as well as cramps in people who menstruate.
There can even be a severe form of PMS known as PMDD or premenstrual dysphoric disorder which can cause poor sleep and forms of depression in them as well.
Pregnancy During Periods
Believe it or not, people who menstruate can get pregnant during their periods if they have sex during their menstrual cycle without protection. If they have a short cycle, it is possible for them to get pregnant as the sperm that is present in them can live for up to five days and can fertilise the egg as well.
If you indulge in sex with them during their menstrul cycle it is better to take protection rather than having an unwanted pregnancy.
Different Sanitary Products
There are different sanitary products that are available for people who menstruate during their periods. One product that they often use is a sanitary napkin or often called a pad. These pads are worn on the underwear and absorb all the blood that comes out of the vagina. Sanitary napkins are available in different sizes and are worn according to blood flow of the menstrual cycle. Apart from that, there are different sanitary napkins available for nighttime use as there is a possibility of leakage and staining during the night. However, these pads are supposed to be changed after a few hours for sure.
The next sanitary product they rely on is a tampon. Tampons look like a fibrous rod with a string hanging from one side. They are either made out of cotton, rayon or a mix of both. Made for single use, it is supposed to be inserted into the vagina, with the string outside. They often come with a plastic applicator for their insertion, however, it is preferred to insert it on their own. Like sanitary napkins, tampons too come in different sizes, according to their level of absorption. They have to be changed after every four hours.
Another menstrual cycle sanitary product is the menstrual cup or menstrual disk which is known to be much better than tampons or pads. Made up of medical grade silicone, it can be inserted into the vagina to accumulate the period blood. The best part about these are that they can be left inside the vagina for 12 hours, unlike a sanitary napkin or a tampon. After that, it needs to be taken out, emptied, cleaned and can be inserted once again! If menstrual cups are taken care of properly, they can last up to even ten years.
However, a menstrual disk has to be discarded after use and cannot be used again.
The next sanitary product that can be used by people who menstruate is a pantyliner. Much like a pad, it is thinner than a sanitary napkin and has less absorbance levels. It can be used at the very beginning or the very end of a menstrual cycle.
Last but not the least, people who get periods can go for period-proof underwear. This is a sanitary product very similar to a pad, however, it has no pad; it is only an underwear. It is made to absorb the period blood and lock it in so their clothes aren’t stained. Apart from that, they can be washed and used again!
It is true that people who menstruate get aroused during their menstrual cycle and sex during periods can be amazing. However, during periods, they are extremely sensitive and go through a lot of emotions as well. Apart from that, the idea of period sex might not be always your way into their hearts.
On the other hand, many experts recommend sex during the periods as it has the magic to make their muscle cramps better.
Pregnancy While Periods
People who menstruate can be on their periods and still be pregnant. Yes, you read that right! It’s not always a relief that they got their period. Here’s what happens; they might be shedding some blood due to their regular pregnancy due to some reason and not their uterine lining.
Some of them have reported bleeding during their first trimester or the first three months of their pregnancy. This could be caused due to the implanting of the fertilised egg in their uterus or their hormonal changes due to the pregnancy.
However, it can be the symptom of something serious as well, such as a miscarriage or problems with her placenta.
All Periods are Not the Same
There is a huge population that menstruates and all of them are not the same. And so are not their menstrual cycles. While some of them go through 5 days of periods, some only have 3 days of menstruation. It depends from person to person. The same happens with menstrual cramps and PMS. While some people who menstruate do not have PMS, some go through excessive premenstrual syndrome. Apart from that, menstrual cramps differ from person to person as well. While some people have back aches and stomach aches, some have pain in their thighs and have tender nipples.
What Can You Do
While your partner is dealing with menstrual cramps and feelings of anxiety and depression, being there for them should be your priority. While it still might be a touchy topic for you, being their human pillow can be a great help. Make sure that their painkillers are by their bedside table and behave like you normally would have when they weren’t on their periods. Asking them if they are PMSing is only going to piss them off. Apart from that, get them some chocolates and play their favourite movie on Netflix for some brownie points if you want to help. Asking them if they are angry because they are on their periods is only going to make them more angry.
Periods begin in the teenage years and can last till people are in their 50s. While people who menstruate can be a pro at handling themselves during their menstrual cycle, not even letting a man know that they are on their period, a little help can make a lot of difference.
Rather than being distant while your partner is on their periods, get closer to them and make them know that you are there for them. They aren’t impure or dirty. Menstruation is a natural process which leads them to create life. So the next time you see them getting frustrated while they are menstruating, make sure you make them feel comfortable rather than asking them why they are irritated.