Periods 101 — A Menstrual Guide for Men

A random coffee quote states that Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. In reality, both are from earth and they have their own set of problems. Often most men have expressed concern about challenges they face while dealing with their women during their periods( pre &post periods too). These days are so delicate that you don’t want anybody to go through it. For beginners, periods are earmarked 3–5 days every month when women shed the lining of their uterus along with blood and sometimes serum. This lining is a nutritive lining which occurs inside their uterus to protect a fetus if impregnated. When not impregnated, it comes out. A friend of mine describes these days as a combination of excruciating pain with mood swings along with unpredictable physical and mental complications. While much of the issue has been scientific, there has been an key emotional aspect of this issue which has been overlooked due to the lack of proper education in the opposite sex.All our biology teachers in school and college were busy teaching us all about a woman but never on how to deal with their exceptions . That being said, here’s a perspective on how to deal with your woman during her periods and be able to bond with her in a firmer way. If you are wondering why this perspective might make sense, 83 women were interviewed and contents of these blog were made.

1.Accept It

On an average, a women goes through her periods for 3–5 days a month which means they approximately spend 1/9th of their active life dealing with menstrual issues. If you add the pre and post cycles, it rounds up to a good 7–9 days which is a rough 1/4th of their active life. As men, it becomes one of our key responsibilities to support our lady love during this period of agony. Often, our first reaction to periods is shock, surprise and indifference because we never knew what happens in the first place. Educating us about opposite sex in our science classrooms in school and college has been strictly restricted to technical aspects and never focused on being empathetic to opposite sex. This is one of the biggest road blocks to this issue. Once you know that this is an opportunity to contribute and care, it flips over into a golden opportunity. So keep calm and accept it!

2. The Discount Time

Remember when we are very young as kids, our parents would discount everything we would do and say till we get a certain age. Boys and men, we are supposed to do the exactly the same thing with women. Just discount them of all that they say and do during their periods. The state of intense physical affliction and mood swings triggers them to say and do things, sometimes very uncomfortable which they do not mean. Periods are time when fights and arguments spark off very quickly. Do not show your might. Try and dissolve it! It is ok to let your ego take a bit of beating! During the non-period days, use all your logic and wit. Of course, they love you! All you need to do is to be extremely patient, silent and nonchalant without reacting to anything.Be prepared for the fact that your buttons are going to get pushed and you need to really smile through it like a gentleman. Touch-wood, that she does not hurl vessels and vases at you if you complain about less salt in the dinner!

PS: Never ever ask a women if you are PMSing even if she does the most unacceptable things. Women do not like it at all! Their dangerous reactions are left for your creativity to imagine! If you urged to say that, quickly run up to the terrace and shout it loud on the terrace.

3. Be Their Nanny

We are all tired of hearing this eternal quote from our women — “You will never understand what we go through.” While it is debatable about how they feel this way, this is spot on quote to describe their state during periods. The physical complications during periods range from acute muscle cramps to unannounced pain in abdomen, groin, thighs, calf and legs. This plus stomach upsets and constipation sometimes with extreme appetite and fatigue! Additionally, some women also have fever, headache, flu, insomnia and dehydration. The mental complications are not the same for any two women. Women tend to get easily angry, are irritable, emotionally extra vulnerable and overwhelmed easily. They need a lot of care and attention during this time. They need immediate help for anything they ask! In other words, they need a nanny. Become their nanny! Do all that they ask for! It may range from fetching a glass of water or hot water bag to patiently giving their thighs and feet a relaxing massage. Often, women have an increased appetite during their periods! If you can cook well, cook it or be ready to fetch it from the nearest take away! Men will naturally take care of their women when carrying but gentlemen will take care of their women when they have their periods. Some women complain of insomnia during their periods. It becomes our duty to make our women slip into baby sleep even by talking sweet, sing soothing songs or recounting some interesting stories or even making them sleep in your lap on the couch and carrying them to bed when they are asleep.

4. The Third Hand

It is an unwritten rule for all the men to share half the load of all the household chores! While the amount of load what men take ranges from absolutely nothing (Such men are jerks!dot!) to doing everything (ultra feminist partners! poor men!), we really make a woman’s life easy when we share her load. A lot of men have expressed their opinion that cooking a meal, doing the dishes and clothes and sometimes cleaning the book rack is cherished more by a woman than gifting her glitzy Swarovski pearls , MAC cosmetics and gorgeous apparel. Of course, women will love that too when you gift them! During period, it is mandatory that we share her load! If she cooks in the morning, you cook the evening meal. If she does the dishes, you do the cleaning. If she waters the plants, you take the vacuum cleaner around. Women need a lot of physical help and let us do our best. Don’t let her drive or take the metro. Drop her and pick her up from the workplace! Let her be the couch potato and you do the walking job like going to the supermarket or the mall. That being said, I sincerely hope that your woman will return the favor when you want to be the lazy bum, stay glued to the sofa and watch Game of Thrones all day!

5. Sweet Tooth Gestures

You chose a woman in your life because you felt that she is special and she decided to be with you because she felt that she will be special in the same way! Love is doing all the unnecessary things and sweet gestures are those magic wands which make them feel special! A lot of woman feel extremely down during their periods. Some women also expressed that they feel absolutely worthless for the kind of stress they go through. And it is in moments like these, that we need to make them feel special. It starts off with saying nice things about them. Praise them, say flattering things which you always wanted to say and make them feel good! You are smart enough and go all creative to do this. Gift them a box of Lindt, send a spa voucher to her office, book a nice candle light dinner, take them out for a long drive and play that Amit Trivedi playlist. All these gestures are the concrete to your relationship being super strong like walls made of Ambuja cement. We men don’t lack love. Love doesn’t need proof. It needs expression. Express yourself to the degree Arnab Goswami expresses dissent over the panel of debatees in his debate every evening.

Fun Fact: A friend of mine has shared that her husband has a calender invite which reminds him to praise her once every week. I am not kidding!

6. Yoga and Meditation Practice

Traditionally, relief is the best suited medicine to periods. Ancient techniques like Yoga Asanas like Suryanamaskar, Padmasadhana, Pranayama and other breathing techniques, regular meditation provide the body and mind enough nourishment to handle extreme conditions like periods. Special techniques like Mudra Pranayama, some specially designated Yoga Asanas which needs to be done under the guidance of a certified Yoga instructor provide substantial relief too. Here’s one video for reference! Take your girl friend or wife and get her enrolled on the nearest Yoga studio.

7. The Checklist

Here a checklist of all that you might want to have in place for your woman before she raises a flag :

  • Keep medical relief ready. Talk to your women and ask what all she would need during that period.
  • Keep a check on her diet. Avoid anything which is spicy, sweet, sour in excess. The craving is more during periods and you really need to check how much sugar she is eating. Non-veg and eggs are a strict No! In Ayurvedic lingo, anything Rajasic is a No.
  • Drinking 3–5 litres of water per day along with one serving of fresh papaya in morning and evening works wonders.
  • Amla or Indian Gooseberry is a proven solution to relieve yourself of menstrual cramps. Consumption of amla in any form can provide great relief.
  • Pick up a hot water bag and a few extra pillows for the sleeping and sitting area. Any online store will bring it to your door step.
  • If you are away from her when she is off to work or if you are travelling, please stay in touch with a person around her who can shepherd her in case of any casualty.
  • This sounds too mushy-mushy but calling her and Whatsapping her every 3–4 hours when she is away from you works. Experienced brothers recommend sending “I Miss You” text. It worked wonders!

So here’s all that you need to take care of your woman like a Disney princess during her periods. Most of what I shared is an amalgamation of all that the 83 women shared, personal experiences of few of friends who are married,a friend of mine who is a doctor. In addition, you are instinctive enough to know what your woman needs during her periods and non-periods time. Add all that in. Know that you are gentleman! You do not need training. All you need to is realise that. In conclusion, here’s a brief note to all the beautiful women who have patiently scrolled down till the end of this article:

“ Just like you want the best for us,we want the best for you too. Our behaviour is not lack of love but lack of awareness. It is your duty to educate your man. Off all the zillion things you talk, make sure you talk about what you need during your periods. Talking what you need otherwise in life also works. If a friend of yours, your colleague or any other man is being indifferent to you, please bear with us. It is not a lack of feeling but a lack of awareness. Over and above, if he or she is still being a jerk, go ahead and use the pepper spray but not on the eyes please. You people are the source of creation on this planet and you are the torchbearers for the life to go ahead. All of us are pretty much here because a woman at some point of time put up with us for 9 months in her stomach and most importantly put up with 100–150 menstrual cycles to give us life just the way you see it today. Much love and admiration to the entire women folk”

SURYA TEJ BORRA