American women are even less comfortable talking about their periods with guys than women abroad. Only 35 % of U.S. women reported no discomfort in discussing their periods with male coworkers and classmates.
There are more than 5,000 euphemisms for periods around the world. Including: “‘Les Anglais ont debarqué,” which in French means, “The English have landed,” and “Erdbeerwoche,” which in German means, “Strawberry week,” according to a survey by Clue, a menstrual cycle-tracking app.
But American women are even less comfortable talking about their periods with guys than women abroad. Clue said that only 35 % of U.S. women reported no discomfort in discussing their periods with male coworkers and classmates.
On the other hand, 50 % of Spanish women said they were cool talking about their flows with male colleagues and classmates. Nearly 50 % of women surveyed in Argentina and the Philippines said the same. Also, women all over the world are sharing the horrors of their periods on the hilarious #LiveTweetYourPeriod hashtag.
Of course, you may have been blessed with a life full of dudes who fully understand periods, but some of them — from bosses to family members — still have strange misconceptions about what the monthly menstrual cycle actually is and how it works.
Underlying assumptions about periods are widespread because, as a culture, we still get freaked out by talking about it openly. We've heard reports of everything from “What is that for?” (about a menstrual cup) to “So does it hit the wall if you aim it right?” Yes, really.
And these were not from young, callow youths.
We know that someone who's never menstruated couldn't possibly empathize. But it would be so nice to be able to just talk openly about what's going on with us, no matter who happens to be around. If you're about to live with a man — a fiance, a lover, anybody — and are going to be sharing a bathroom, you may want to give them this list of basic pointers about what happens to your body once a month.
# 1 Cramps. Hurt. So. Much.
There's a clinical term for them, too: dysmenorrhea.
Some women don’t get cramps at all, while for others it can feel as painful as passing a kidney stone. For some women, period pain is so intense it’s actually debilitating. Gynecologists say some women will report that, despite pain medication, they need to miss out on daily activities such as work or school due to cramping.
The feeling is often characterized as some combination of crampy, shooting, stabbing, dull and pressure-like. Think about having a bad stomachache all day for several days, with occasional bursts that feel like you just got rammed in the gut by an invisible billy goat. It's kind of like that.
#2 Women sound different during those days
The sound of her voice changes during her period. Vocalization researchers theorize that female reproductive hormones actually impact our vocal chords, altering our voices.
Researchers tested the same women’s voices at different times of the month, and participants could identify not only when the women were on their period – purely from listening to their voices – but also that they sounded ‘less attractive’ when they were.
# 3 Periods feel more painful in the cold
Cold weather can make our period last longer and be heavier. Discomfort may increase because our muscles stiffen up in the cold. The womb's and whole body’s muscles may become tight and tense. Added tension can make body and muscles aches worse and may increase our risk of a muscle strain.
In addition to the typical period symptoms, it’s not uncommon to experience a bad headache, a runny nose, or a sore throat during our period. Women may also feel more fatigued than normal on their period, especially late in the afternoon when our blood sugar drops. As a rule, though, this cold should disappear by the time the bleeding ends.
# 4 PMS is very real, but women don't go "crazy"
Pre-menstrual syndrome is an authentic problem, but it's not worth the sheer amount of misogynist jokes that have been shed about it over the years. And, like basically everything else in this scenario, it will differ between women. And, by the way, men are affected by hormonal shifts as well. They can enter their own version of menopause after 40, where the levels of testosterone in their body begin to drop — it's not universal, but it's not uncommon, either.
And there's a hypothesis around about something called "irritable male syndrome" which theorizes that men, like other mammals, have mood swings and corresponding irritability of their own across a mating cycle. So, we're not the only hormonal ones.
# 5 Even we can be caught off-guard by how severe our symptoms are sometimes
Symptoms can vary from cycle to cycle. Again, it's different for different women, but while some can just breeze through their periods, and others know for sure that it's going to get outrageously bad, many of us don't know what to expect in any given month. And even if we do, we’re never totally “ready” for it.
Even doctors don’t totally understand why for many women menstruation leads to mood swings. And though those of us who get pissy during our periods are usually able to recognize when it's happening, we are pretty powerless against it.
Occasionally, your woman wonders why something made her tear up, or why she simply cannot decide what to wear, and she'll look at the calendar and go, "Oh, I'm about to get my period. Right."
So, guys, you’d better keep track, too: it may be that every three months or so your house gets hit by a tsunami of symptoms. Prepare together to weather the storm.