Periods. Menstruation. Monthlies.
Call it what you want. But there’s a whole lot to talk about.
Is it something that should be brought to attention only during Menstrual Hygiene Day or Menstrual Hygiene Week or Women’s Day ?!!
Guys, don’t freak out. Let’s go through what different persons among you think about menstruation. Girls, let’s see how well we know about something that’s happening to us. Let’s learn together.
What He Thinks ?
What about men? When it comes to periods, is the average male becoming more enlightened, or are they still left in the dark?
It was a great experience for me to understand how men of different backgrounds, regions and ages thought about the menstrual cycle. I talked to some of them and have taken words from the teens, youth, middle age and the elderly ones too. I’ve taken qoutes of different people on the same topic from internet as well. It was really inspiring to see how well and greatly much of them appreciated periods. But there were also some who still felt better to keep it a taboo. We will discuss what men thinks about menstruation.
I was really happy to see a few among them were so bold to talk openly about this. I would proudly say that my dad was the first person who explained to me about menstruation. The guys who had relationship before or married were almost familiar with the subject than the young ones (who were a bit embarrassed). But others don’t get it. They just don’t have an idea. All they know are – blood – eggs coming – dull – angry – mood swings – nothing more. Calling it names like “Dragon Lady Week” and “Sh Week” or “Oh My God! Those days of the month” because of the perception that women become moody and volatile during their periods. Some men think it to be unclean or unsafe.
A few among them mentioned those biology classes in grade 10 and 12 where they came to know about it for the first time. While some openly pointed out on how they came to know it from their friends whom they thought knowledgeable then. And for some, out of the curiosity of watching related advertisements, Googled it and got an idea. There’s no point in blaming them when those topics are discussed in special meetings at school (where only girls are taken in). The secrecy begins there.
Most of them thought girls bleed because of the unwanted eggs coming out. Some were thinking that impure blood in her body comes out monthly. And surprisingly when we mention lining of uterus shedding off, they think the vaginal lining is coming out and women bleed !!!
The answers varied a lot about how much a girl bleed on an average a day. Some skipped the question saying they had no idea. Some guessed it to be 500ml. While others stated it would differ with each girl. Wild guesses on PMS included Premenstrual Cycle, Pissy Mood Cycle as well as Pissed Men Syndrome.
Most of them recognised a dull, moody behaviour or stomach pain as a symptom to understand if a girl is on her periods. Three-fourths of them thought it would be embarassing to find stains on her dress. They shared that they won’t tell her directly. Instead they would tell one of their female friends to inform the girl.
A few of them at times had to buy sanitary napkins for their sisters, mother, wife or collegues. Most of them haven’t ever bought one. Some say ‘It’s a tiny bit embarrassing when you send us to buy pads for you’. While others openly told they won’t feel ashamed to do so if required, which was really wonderful. Guys are familiar with sanitary napkins because they’ve been sold in the market for a very long time. But they don’t know much about tampons or menstrual cups.
Nevertheless, some men believe that periods is very similar to urinating. They think women has got a control on it. Even some think a woman is intolerable when she’s on her period. And they always believe it’s just an excuse so they can easily win arguments. The ignorance is boundless in some parts of the world and certain sections of men.
The idea of thinking of a woman’s period is just too gothic for some guys.
“It’s when the uterine lining is shed each month. I Googled it! I was like, I have to know what this is. It’s hard to understand what your girlfriend is going through, because there is no equivalent for men.” —James J., 26 (from cosmopolitan.com)
When I asked them, ‘What if men gets menstruation ?‘ , a few told that they would have no issues, they could withstand the pain and they may even celebrate it.
One of them told me that he would die because, he thought men were not as strong as ladies in this case. Rest of the men thought that they are already going through a lot and they don’t want to add more to it.
What She Says ?
Getting first period is an important milestone in a young woman’s life. It signals the beginning of a long phase of life (around 40 years!).
No one actually goes around outrightly calling it ‘menses’ or ‘menstruation’, unless they work in medicine. Some of them include ‘Aunt Flow’, ‘That time of the month’, ‘On the rags’, ‘Red tide/river/sea/moon/light/army/curse/days/dot’, ‘Code Red’, ‘Monthly visitor’, ‘Mother Nature’, ‘Lady days’, ‘Crimson wave/tide’, ‘Bloody Mary’, ‘The Blob’, ‘Shark Week’, ‘Painters in’ and lot more. Some slang names include ‘Chums‘, ‘Purath‘, ‘Chettan vannu‘ etc.
Girls too were unaware of how much blood was lost on an average. During periods, most of them prefered to wear utmost comfort dresses but also made sure they are of dark shades. Most of them totally avoids white dresses during those days.
I was happy to know that young girls like us came to know about periods before it started in our lives. But, some of them were unaware and really got scared seeing blood. Also some were terrified when they were told that this would occur monthly.
While buying sanitary napkins most of the girls have faced hurtful experiences from the persons sitting in the billing counter. Majority of them felt it better to be left alone during those days. All they needed was a space for themselves. Working women suggested getting approved and paid leaves if they’re really not feeling well during periods. What troubles them most is the disposal of sanitary napkins and so on.
The moment they heard the question, ‘What if men gets menstruation?‘, all faces were shining with joy. They thought it would help men realise the pain women are going through so that next time they would be a bit more empathetic to ladies especially during periods. Some even thought men won’t be able to adjust the mood swings and cramps and might even get hospitalised. One of the girls assumed that they might actually become happy and celebrate their periods. They may post in social media each time they get their periods.
WHAT IS MENSTRUATION THEN ? HOW WELL CAN WE TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES ? HOW CAN WE STICK OUT OF THE STIGMAS AHEAD ?
What is ‘Menstruation’ ?
Friends, Periods is no ‘Rocket Science’.
Menstrual cycle help females prepare for pregnancy every month. It also makes them have a period if they’re not pregnant. Their menstrual cycle and period are controlled by hormones like estrogen and progesterone. Here’s how it all goes down:
Every female human being has 2 ovaries, and each one holds a bunch of eggs. The eggs are super tiny — too small to see with the naked eye.
During menstrual cycle, hormones make the eggs in her ovaries mature — when an egg is mature, that means it’s ready to be fertilized by a sperm cell. These hormones also make the lining of her uterus thick and spongy. So if egg does get fertilized, it has a nice cushy place to land and start a pregnancy. This lining is made of tissue and blood, like almost everything else inside our bodies. It has lots of nutrients to help a pregnancy grow.
About halfway through menstrual cycle, hormones tell one of her ovaries to release a mature egg — this is called ovulation. Most people don’t feel it when they ovulate, but some ovulation symptoms are bloating, spotting (Light bleeding that happens not during a menstrual period.), or a little pain in her lower belly that she may only feel on one side.
Once the egg leaves the ovary, it travels through one of the fallopian tubes toward her uterus.
If pregnancy doesn’t happen, female body doesn’t need the thick lining in her uterus. Lining breaks down, and the blood, nutrients, and tissue flow out of her body through her vagina. It’s her period.
If she does get pregnant, her body needs the lining — that’s why period stops during pregnancy. Period comes back when she’s not pregnant anymore. Caution : The risk of pregnancy while menstruating is very low but can be higher depending on the length of a woman’s cycle !
Most girls get their first period when they’re around 12. But getting it any time between age 10 and 15 is OK. Every girl’s body has its own schedule.
Is PMS & Menstruation Same ?
That’s not exactly how it works. PMS stands for Premenstrual Syndrome, it actually comes before your period — typically about a week or two before. Once you have your period, it’s not PMS anymore.
PMS is a series of symptoms that can include:
PMS affects as many as 3 in 4 women, reports WomensHealth.gov.
How Much Does She Bleed On An Average ?
It may look like a lot of blood gushing out, but a girl usually only loses a few tablespoons of blood during the whole period. Most girls need to change their pad, tampon, or menstrual cup about 3‒6 times a day.
An adult period usually lasts up to 8 days. Across the length of the period, it is normal for between 5 to 80 ml (that’s up to 6 tablespoons) of menstrual fluid to leave female body. Adolescent periods can also be up to 80 mL per period, like the adult range, but are often lighter. Many people experience lighter bleeding and some don’t bleed at all if they are using birth control.
Sanitary Pads , Tampons , Menstrual Cups
In countries like US and Australia women increasingly use tampons whereas Indian girls usually use sanitary napkins. Menstrual cups are highly used in countries like Canada.
It’s a strange term, but a “sanitary napkin” or “sanitary pad” just means an absorbent pad that you wear on your panties during your period in order to absorb menstrual blood. Made out of cotton to avoid rashes and skin irritation, sanitary napkins (or pads) come in a number of varieties and sizes.
Tampons are inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual flow when people have their periods. They are cylindrical in shape and made of cotton, rayon, or a blend of the two.
A menstrual cup is a type of reusable feminine hygiene product. It’s a small, flexible funnel-shaped cup made of rubber or silicone that you insert into your vagina to catch and collect period fluid.
Menstrual cramps are most likely caused by an excess of prostaglandins—compounds that are released from the uterine lining as it prepares to be shed. They are a necessary part of the process, but in excess, they cause pain.People typically feel their cramps just before or at the time when bleeding begins each cycle. Cramps can be barely noticeable, or quite painful or severe. Menstrual cramps can be “primary” or “secondary”. Primary dysmenorrhea (the clinical word for painful periods) is pain caused by the period itself. Secondary dysmenorrhea is period pain with another root cause, such as a health condition like endometriosis which needs to be brought to the attention of a doctor.
Mood swings are common around the time of menstruation. From feeling irritable, to angry, to crying their eyes out, girls often have to deal with a rollercoaster of emotions in a short period of time.Oestrogen hormone is prone to fluctuating. Oestrogen dominance is thought to be associated with mood swings involving more irritability and anger whilst progesterone dominance is more commonly associated with feelings of low mood, weepiness, anxiety and low self-confidence.
What foods are women reaching for?
Carbs and fats and sweets. No surprise there. The most commonly reported food craving is chocolate, likely because it’s a pleasantly sweet combination of carbs and fat.Eating carbs turns up levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, which contributes to a general sense of well-being and happiness.
Researchers suggest that these food cravings are also regulated by hormones. Scientists have observed that women tend to eat more when estrogen levels are low and progesterone levels are high
Who else gets periods ?
Trans men have a period and continue to have it till they have a hormone treatment. Their period stops only when they have been on the testosterone for a specific amount of time. Trans men can be described as female-to-male transgender as they are assigned female at the time of their birth, but they identify themselves as male. So, the trans men or non-binary person or genderqueer person will have a period if they haven’t undergone hormone treatment.
A trans woman can be described as a male-to-female transgender or transsexual person. Transgender women are those who were assigned male at the time of their birth. As they are assigned male at the time of their birth, trans woman do not have ovaries or uterus. During menstruation the lining of the uterus shed and bleed, since there is no uterus, trans woman do not bleed or menstruate.
Menstrual Hygiene is vital to the empowerment and well-being of women and girls worldwide. Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) is defined as: “Women and adolescent girls are using clean menstrual management materials to absorb or collect blood that can be changed in privacy as often as necessary for the duration of the menstruation period, using soap and water for washing the body as required, and having access to facilities to dispose of used menstrual management materials” (JMP 2012).
Promise yourself healthy and happy periods with these hygiene tips.
- Change your sanitary napkin every 4-6 hours-
- Wash yourself properly-
- Don’t use soaps or vagina hygiene products- Vaginas have their own cleaning mechanism which comes into play during menstrual cycles, and these artificial hygiene products can hamper the natural process leading to infections and growth of bacteria.
- Discard the sanitary napkin properly-
- Stick to one method of sanitation–
Feminine Hygiene Around the World
Taking Care Of Yourself
- Make a priority of eating right. It’s pretty common to crave carbs and sugary foods as your period nears, but these can cause your energy levels to crash while also contributing to mood swings, bloating, and water retention. …
- Make sure you’re well rested. …
- Stay active. Do lighter exercises.
- Take a bath or use a heating pad.
Regular periods are a sign that your body is working normally.
Check if you have any period problems 👉 : https://www.womenshealth.gov/menstrual-cycle/period-problems
Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by period-shaming. Chances are almost everyone would have. People who have periods have been taught by society that their menstruation is dirty, shameful, and embarrassing. We’re taught by society, by marketers, and sometimes even by our own parents to sneak tampons in our pockets and bury our wrapped pads in the bottom of the trash can so no one will know that we’re menstruating. Secrecy of this kind breeds nothing but shame, more secrecy, and sometimes even violence, resulting in a vicious cycle that can keep us stuck in damaging patterns of embarrassment and guilt.
Myths, Taboos & Facts
“It is still partly tabooed to talk about menstruation, and we try to hide it when we have our period,” says art historian and post-doctoral fellow Camilla Mørk Røstvik. The significance of menstruation varies substantially among different cultural and religious groups. For example, in the Cherokee Nation, menstruating women were considered sacred and powerful. However, this positive view is a rare perspective, and in many parts of the world, menstruation is unfortunately regarded as dirty, impure, and taboo.
Menstruation is a shared experience among all females — females everywhere understand what it is like to get her first period, and most females experience the same symptoms. And yet, menstruation is also a widely stigmatized issue. It is a topic that people are usually uncomfortable talking about and is typically a topic that is only discussed behind closed doors.
Basically half of Earth’s population experiences menstruation, and yet no one talks about it. In an ideal world, everyone would be both familiar with how women’s bodies work as well as comfortable discussing women’s health issues.
Being discouraged from talking about our periods has serious consequences — not only does it unnecessarily shame women for something that’s totally natural, but it also can negatively impact our health, too.We are unable to identify a reproductive health issue. If we feel embarrassed or ashamed of our own bodies during our period, that emotion takes a major psychological toll.It inhibits our ability, as a society, to invent new products that could vastly improve women’s health.
What Periods Look Like For Women Around The World.
Building restrooms with menstruating women in mind can help solve many of these issues that often act as a barrier for women to gain education and employment, and these solutions may ultimately be able to address gender inequities in developing countries all around the world.
Through increasing education, promoting female empowerment, providing expanded resources, and encouraging candid conversations surrounding women’s health, menstruation may one day no longer be a taboo but will be celebrated for the natural experience that it is.
It’s Natural; It’s A Blessing !
Dear readers, menstruation or periods, whatever you may call it, is not a disease. It’s a natural process. Just because something isn’t happening to you, doesn’t mean you can be ignorant about it. It’s clearly going to happen to people you know. It’s really important to understand that it’s not a curse; It’s a Blessing !
I take this opportunity to thank all of them who were ready to answer my questions. I was happy to see most of them open up without judging me. I hope this post would turn fruitful for the readers. This experiment was really helpful indeed. This will help you recognise the importance of awareness about menstruation and related topics for everyone. The only way to normalize menstruation is to make sure everyone, including (and perhaps especially) men, understand how periods work, and feel no shame or embarrassment when discussing menstruation.
Let’s Celebrate Menstruation 💓
I Believe You.
Image Courtesy & References :