It's not easy being a menstruator. Not only do menstruators have to deal with cramps, mood swings and of course, their period, but they also have to worry about the reactions they get from other people when it comes to their periods. It is important that men are supportive of their partner’s period. Men need to be informed, be emotionally supportive, and aware of how they interact with menstruators at “that time of the month.”
When young men are unaware of the menstrual cycle and do not participate in discussions about women's reproductive health, they grow into adult men who do not support women at this time of the month. This could be true for most men. However, one can always learn. For those menstruators who bleed monthly - either due to menstruation or having a medical condition such as endometriosis and are in relationships with - there are many ways you can turn your male partner into your ally.
What men need to know about menstruation
Most men are unaware of menstruation and the physiological changes in menstruators during menstruation and menstruation, so it is difficult to change their perception of menstruation and menstrual hygiene. According to a research survey, it was found that at the family level, men are not supportive of women regarding menstrual hygiene and have never discussed menstrual problems with their wives and daughters. In both cases, women have to compromise their menstrual needs and personal hygiene. Women are more likely than men to sleep poorly, and one likely cause is hormonal changes associated with the menstrual cycle. Women, however, often notice a connection between headaches and hormonal changes.
The average cycle length is 28 days but can vary from 21 to 40 days. However, every menstruator's cycle length is different, and cycle length can vary from month to month. For many menstruators, the cycle length and amount of bleeding are about the same for each cycle. During this cycle, menstruators undergo a lot of hormonal changes; especially right before their period while they are PMS-ing. Sadness, irritability, anxiety, anger, etc are some of the emotional symptoms of PMS. However, this does not mean that every time a woman is angry or sad, she’s having PMS. Several men in the past have made the error of presuming a woman is on her period, just because she had been out of her zone or irritable. The simple thing would be to comfort a woman and give her the space she needs.
Putting the men in Menstruation
One of the most important things men need to do while their partners are menstruating is to take the time to find out what's going on in a woman’s body. It’s important to know that everything you do should be for her and her only. Here are a few ways menstruators can turn their male partners/friends into their allies as well as men can find ways to support their partners -
- Communication is key: This is something that mothers should exercise with their daughters and sons. Teaching menstruation to girls and boys equally is something that needs to be practiced. The reason why men can be so unaware and incognizant of how to deal with periods is that they never had the period talk, nor were ever taught what it is. So, to break the chain of errors, menstruators need to initiate the conversation. While it can be very tough to take the lead, one needs to start somewhere.
- Be understanding and listen to her: One of the best ways to show that you are supportive of their condition is to be understanding and listen to what they have to say. Sometimes, all one wants is to be heard. Make them feel comfortable and try to create a safe space where they can share things freely with you. Try to be as considerate and empathetic as you can be.
- Offer help in whatever way possible: Menstruators go through a lot of physical pain. However tormenting the pain can be, most menstruators don’t talk about it and go through it silently. The best thing you can do as a partner is offer help in whatever way you can. A hot water bag and some comfort food can go a long way. Offer to buy pads/tampons when required. You can also help your partner out by doing the household chores and running errands for them.
- Educate other men: This is probably the most important part. To turn more and more men into your allies, it is crucial that menstruators educate others about periods. Explain what periods are to men, elders, young boys, teenagers, etc. and encourage them to start the conversation. One should dismantle the shame around periods and start an open conversation about women and their needs.
When it comes to spreading awareness about periods, there’s still a long way to go. However, with social media and today’s youth, the conversation about periods has increased. More and more men know about menstruation and are great allies to menstruators. With time, everyone can be good period allies.