If Men Had Periods is a spoof that wants you to think. A British NGO called Water Aid that released a spoof ad for Manpons (a take on manly tampons) that asks if the world would be more open to talking about menstruation if men were directly affected by the monthly visitor. The video, which has social media enthusiasts in a tizzy, follows two men in a gym locker room, exhilarated after using the tampon that’s crafted using NASA’s technology. According to recent research in the UK, if men had their period, they would brag about it on Facebook, the hashtag would trend on Twitter and sports bookies would factor in a player’s time of the month into setting the day’s bet.
A seemingly happy thought for sure. The unfortunate reality however, is this -1.25 billion women around the world do not have access to even a toilet during their period. The video is part of a campaign to increase awareness.
We spoke to Dr Bandita Sinha, consultant gynaecologist and obstetrics, Fortis Hospital, to discuss facts that escape most women. Here are five things you may not know about your period:
THE DAYS BEFORE YOUR PERIOD MIMIC PREGNANCY
The cycle begins with the uterus preparing the womb for a possible pregnancy. This includes secretion of hormones that play an important role in preparing a bed (the endometrial lining) that will hold the embryo. When these hormones (especially progesterone) are secret ed, it causes water retention, experienced as bloating. Bloating and gastric disturbances like vomiting and back ache are common in both, the week prior to pregnancy and onset of period. While menstruation eases these symptoms, pregnancy aggravates them.
SHORTER CYCLES COULD POINT TO IRON DEFICIENCY
A normal cycle ranges between 28 and 35 days. If you experience shorter cycles (15 days) with heavy bleeding, it could be a sign of iron deficiency, fibroids or low haemoglobin. A normal cycle does not affect iron levels dramatically. A woman loses close to 50-60 ml of blood which is not enough to cause an imbalance in mineral levels. A regular diet of green leafy vegetables will help replenish the iron loss.
WHEN YOUR BODY FAT DROPS BELOW 8-12 PERCENT, PERIOD WILL STOP
If your BMI is too low, your body fat is correspondingly lesser. When there is no intake of fat, the body goes into emergency mode. Then, the body burns fat, the metabolic system alters itself and less crucial activities like period, stop. This is called amenorrhea. However, in the case of obese women too, hormones go out of sync and can be responsible for irregular periods.
BACK PAIN AND CRAMPS: A SIGN OF HIGH ESTROGEN
At the beginning of the cycle, blood flow to the genitals increases. This can cause congestion in nerves of the back and legs which is experienced as cramps. Decrease your salt intake a week prior to your period to reduce the effects of bloating. If the pain is unbearable, it can be a hormone problem. Women who haven’t experienced prior menstrual discomfort and notice increasing levels of pain suddenly, must investigate the matter. It could be endometriosis which is a serious concern.
SUGAR CRAVING NOT TRIGGERED BY PMS
There is no medical connection between sugar cravings and PMS.The mind knows sugar as a comfort food. That is why you reach for that chocolate ice-cream during your period.