“Why are you so bitchy? Are you on your period?”
5 reasons why you should not ask:
“Why are you so bitchy? Are you on your period?”
This is a guide for partners or friends of people who are on their period. Because those who menstruate often have to listen to comments that are almost as great of a pain as their own uterus. Here are 5 reasons to not be that person and become a bloody buddy instead.
Reason 1: Yes, periods are annoying sometimes – just like you.
First of all, a person can be angry or annoyed with you regardless of their cycle. If you've screwed up, take responsibility and don't blame poor, defenseless periods. Aside from that, with the classic "Why are you so bitchy? Are you on your period?” you can play down serious symptoms of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome). If your friend suffers from PMS, she/he/* can look forward to a long list of other possible complaints in addition to mood swings. For example, feeling depressed, anxiety and sleep disorders, concentration problems, headaches, chest and abdominal pain, cramps, spells of dizziness, circulatory problems and of course your comment.
So, the fact that people are bitchier during their period is a bit short-sighted. Incidentally, as the name suggests, PMS does not even occur during the period, but rather 4-14 days before the bloodshed. So, get your facts straight and be nice!
Reason 2: Everybody’s body needs something different.
Many articles repeat cliché tips like "Just bring your friend a hot chocolate in bed and massage their feet." Sorry, but what menstruating people need during their cycle is as individual as their tampon size. Some want sex, some want to hide away, some will go jogging with you and some will think you are nuts for even suggesting it. It's best to ask your friend what you can do to support them. Incidentally, the cycle is not just “the period”, but begins with the first day of menstruation and ends when the next one starts.
It is divided into two phases, which are characterized by different hormones. These different hormones also lead to different processes in the body and therefore also to different needs. Have we used the word "different" yet? So, rule for everyone: just ask (and still be nice obviously)!
Reason 3: Comments cannot resolve cramps. Herbs do.
Period cramps cannot be conjured away by you pointing them out. But you can try it with a herbal potion instead. Lady's mantle herb, for example, relieves slight cramps and is anti-inflammatory. A classic anticonvulsant is of course the chamomile flower. Yarrow herb can help relieve cramps and regulate your period. Black cohosh has a relaxing effect and can influence hormones for improving sleep disorders and hot flashes. So, get to the pot Dumbledore!
If concocting your own potion is too much of an effort for you, just check out our selection of herbal teas and natural helpers here.
Reason 4: The way to a person’s uterus is through their stomach.
Hormones can also trigger pain (fun fact: these are so-called pain hormones). Prostaglandins may sound cute, but they are tissue hormones that cause menstrual pain and are affected by what you eat. We can increase them when consuming meals with refined sugar which also sends our blood sugar level on a roller coaster ride. The result: an even greater appetite for sugar, salty and fast food. Salt, in turn, promotes water retention in the cells, which already happens before the start of your period. Dairy products aggravate inflammation which can trigger the formation of prostaglandins. So, brag about your hormone knowledge and serve your friend some period snack hacks: dark chocolate, (unsweetened) cocoa, pumpkin seeds, almonds, nuts, and legumes because these are all sources of magnesium. Magnesium ensures smooth muscle and nerve function and can prevent tiredness and cramps.
If that sounds too complicated for you, check out our curated selection of healthy snacks and nutrition products here that will kick your cravings.
Reason 5. Hormones are like followers: very easy to influence.
We know that you wouldn’t apply lead or pesticide filled lotion on your friend’s skin, but many endocrine disruptors, which are also affectionately called hormone poisons, can be found in your everyday life, and can be partially avoided. BPA can be found, for example, in the inner coating of food cans, in plastic bottles or pizza boxes – so get rid of them! Conventional fruit and vegetables (i.e., without an organic seal) can be up to 28% contaminated with pesticides and therefore shouldn’t end up in your breakfast bowl.
Tell your friend that they look beautiful without make-up, because butyl paraben or propyl paraben are often used as preservatives in cosmetics. Sunscreens, hair shampoos, etc. also contain chemical UV filters or phthalate softeners. When it comes to clothes, the following applies: 100% cotton or get naked. Because clothing is largely made of acrylic, polyester, or polyamide, which can contain hormonal pollutants and, through direct contact with the skin, disrupt your hormonal balance. Check the materials!
And don't forget: no stress!
Knocked out from reading? Then grab a hot water bottle and snuggle up to your friend. The hot water bottle is – as you surely know now – not for you of course. But remember, even if you don't know everything about periods (yet), you can still be there for menstruating people. It is enough of a start by dealing with the topic, and you did that just by reading this post. Thanks for sticking to it and please don't stress because this isn’t good for the cycle either!
by Jakob Leitenmeier (he/him)
(Founder of TAMTAM - A fashion label to celebrate the period)
Sources: helloclue.com, fembites.com, minimed.at