Why do you bleed from your vagina every month?
Why do you get moody?
You have WHAT in your period?!?!
These are just some of the questions I’ve been asked over the years by an array of adorably naive and clueless gentlemen.
I’m now in my mid-40s and experiencing menopause. It’s no fun, ladies and gentlemen. I get hot flushes when I’m angry; and sometimes even when I’m just sitting on the sofa watching TV. Sometimes, my vag feels as dry as the Sahara Desert on a bad day. I have trouble sleeping and, the other day – you might want to sit down for this – I even said no to sex.
But before I was menopausal, I was a young and fertile butterfly who bled once a month.
Along the years, I’ve been posed a variety of questions by men about my period, including my son, who found a pair of bloodied knickers in the washing basket and ran crying to me during a dinner party, asking me if I was dying. I’ve therefore decided to address the questions and make things clear for all the males out there.
What is a period?
In a nutshell, it’s a cycle that happens every 28 days or so during which the uterine lining flushes itself out of a woman’s body. This makes room for a new uterine lining, while the ovaries start forming tiny follicles, which then become eggs. Those eggs then detach themselves from the ovaries and have two routes which they can take: become fertilised and head for the uterine lining, or remain unfertilised and leave the body as a torrential downpour of blood.
Does it really hurt, or do you just say it does to get a day or two off work?
For some women, it hurts like hell. To give you an idea, imagine getting kicked in the nuts and then so hard in the stomach you can barely breathe. Now multiply that by ten.
The scientific name for this pain is dysmenorrhea, and it’s usually felt in the lower tummy and the outer part of the vagina, but it can also spread to the back and even the thighs. And just in case you still don’t think it’s bad enough, the reason it happens will give you nightmares. The muscles of the womb contract and press the blood vessels nearby, thus cutting off the oxygen supply to the womb.
That’s what you hope it is anyway, as it could also be a sign of underlying diseases, including pelvic inflammatory disease. Such fun.
You have blood clots in your period?! That’s disgusting.
Why do women bond over their periods?
When men go to war, they become comrades. When men skateboard together, they start calling each other ‘bro’. When men get drunk, they start telling each other ‘’I love you, man’ whilst indulging in their bromances. So, when women get their periods, they become sympathetic towards each other, as they get a chance to discuss this monthly occurrence. It’s also a safe and easy way to confirm if there’s something wrong with our cycles.
Have you heard that crazy urban myth about women’s periods syncing up with one another?
Put the X-Files theme song on buddy, because you need to start believing. BUT, it’s all down to coincidence and nothing else. In fact, while studies have been able to show that period cycles do indeed seem to sync up between some close groups of women, they didn’t always do so. The period cycle happens every 21-35 days in most non-pregnant females, and it lasts five to seven days, so the probability of two or more women having their period at the same time is high.
So, there you have it, boys. A guide on what our periods actually feel and look like. And just in case you came here wondering why women tend to be moody while on their periods, it’s because we get a spike in the levels of oestrogen and progesterone… but don’t be rude enough to point it out.
Did any of these facts surprise you?
Let us know in the comments section below.