Following the blood - explaining periods to your sons, boyfriends, husbands and brothers
by Devidutta Dash on Feb 12, 2023
In 2015, Florida resident Jose Garcia went viral because of his campaign message, “girls should be able to ask for a tampon like I ask for a pencil.”
We are sure most sons, brothers, boyfriends and dads aren't always comfortable with the idea of menstruation. Nevertheless, it is important for them to understand about menstruation so that they can explain it to their own kids in the future or at the very least, be considerate and sensitive around a person who is menstruating.
So, if you are male reading this, kudos on arriving at this article, you’ve taken the first steps to menstrual awareness. If you are not a man and belong to other genders, feel free to forward this to the men or any other persons in your life who need a crash course in menstruation.
Let's start simple. Let's break down a person’s time of the month into four phases.
The female body is host to organs called the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. Each month, eggs or ovum are released from the ovaries and travel through the fallopian tube and into the uterus.
Before the eggs reach the uterus, it starts preparing itself to give the eggs and possibly sperm a warm and comfy place to stay. You know, because it is a hospitable organ. This means it will create a uterine lining.
If the egg or ovum meets a mate, that is a sperm, there are high chances that it will fertilize to form an embryo - this will later turn into a baby. That means the person will experience pregnancy and the periods will stop for a few months.
But if the egg or ovum gets stood up by team sperm, it will exit the person’s body. When it does so, the uterine lining will also shed. This shedding refers to a person’s period.
Knowing what periods are isn't enough. You also need to know how to be considerate toward someone on their period. Here are some important dos and don’ts.
Don’t assume their mood swing is because of their period.
Yes, mood swings are associated with periods but they aren't the only reason why someone might be having mood swings. Asking someone if they are irritable because they are bleeding down there isn't appropriate.
Don't refuse to help
If a person starts menstruating unexpectedly and asks you to help them find a pad or a tampon. don't refuse to help. Remember, if it is awkward for you, it will be a whole lot awkward for them. They are probably asking for your help because there isn't an alternative.
Don't shy away from menstrual hygiene products
It's the 21st century, let's all be adults about menstruation. Averting eyes or altogether avoiding the aisle that stocks menstrual hygiene products at the supermarket is just immature.
Though the human body eventually adjusts to periods, their sensitivity can be heightened during their period. So it's always appreciated if you are understanding and considerate during that time of the month.
Cramps are real
Cramps can get really uncomfortable so don't assume they are not as intense. Some people actually load up on pain killers because their cramps can make them really uncomfortable. Don't forget.
It's not just women who bleed
Periods are not a womanly thing. Transgender people or people who might have been assigned female at birth but do not identify with being female can also experience menstruation. So be kind. This is just a bodily function and there is nothing awkward about it.
That's all for now! Congratulations on taking your first steps into menstrual awareness. Share this article with someone who needs to be educated about menstruation.
Dear men and everybody else who doesn't understand what exactly is a menstrual cycle, this quick write up will explain what periods are, why they happen and how you can help deal with them.
Illustration similar to the phases of periods illustration which are part of the packaging inserts needs to be made here.