Have you had your fingers accidentally slammed in between a door and a door frame? Or your toe stubbed by the edge of a table leg? Remember what feels like? The shudder that just ran down your spine at that memory? Now multiply the pain by at least 25, and we can have a conversation,” Juhi Kushwaha tells us, over tea on a Zoom call, with a giggle that doesn’t quite reach her eyes. Rucha Mahajan chimes in with more graphic examples. “Or, someone has your abdomen in a vice. Or is kicking you in the tailbone over and over.” The women nod, knowingly.
Women reading this, are you nodding your head too? The ordeal of the cramps has been the subject of many scientific studies, and some researches have gone as far as to describe the pain to be as bad as heart attacks. Yes. Heart attacks. Every. Single. Month. Let’s also note that we are talking about just healthy uteruses right now. If we go into the details of what women who live with PCOS, PCOD, or endometriosis go through, their agony can’t even be equated with the oft-used kick-in-the-nuts comparison.
Chinmayee Desai shares a relatable insight — “Hey boys. Imagine that one day, you forget to wear an L-guard while playing cricket, and you get hit by that speeding ball in your crotch. You multiply that pain by 10.” Yes, we know you squirmed. We asked these women to be relatable AF (just so that every man can understand, once and for all) and dayummm did they deliver.
Here’s some more education: Period pain has a name. Dysmenorrhea. It already rhymes with a bunch of uncomfy-ass ailments. Sounds painful, right? Sharvari Bandiwadekar helps explain her experience: “It’s like all your organs are rung like a wet cloth. It’s the same pain a man feels when you zip up your fly inattentively and catch something extra – but multiply it by a hundred.” You know why there’s so much Math going around? Because no regular physiological experience of the male anatomy can match this. Period. No pun, all truth. If, our dear reader, you are a runner, you’ll feel this imaginative nugget.
“Period cramps feel like drinking a two-litre bottle of Mountain Dew and then running a 10K, and then being kicked, continuously, in the lower abdomen. All without getting to pee,” says Supriya Singh. Ouch. Although, we’d not recommend Dew before a 10K, but you get the drift. The idea here is, dear men, to explain to you what those five days of intense discomfort does to women. “I’m in pain” is just so generic, and fails to capture the intensity and also the personal experience. It is so important to not generalise – as evident above, every woman has a different story.
Hence, when you read these relatable examples, you’ll find yourself, maybe, a teensy bit uncomfortable too, when in reality, you should be down on your knees, thanking the heavens for not bestowing this beautiful monthly subscription upon you. Sanjana Rastogi compares her periods to unannounced guests and how emotionally draining that is. An additional cherry — while we are beating this metaphor to death — would be if they brought annoying kids along. Rastogi’s example is a more immersive one, but does ably capture the constant, nagging, irritable discomfort that continues for almost a week.
So many women go through major psychological and digestive issues leading up to their periods too. Gym rats, you didn’t think we will forget you, did you? Here’s yours: “If you have ever dropped a dumbbell on your foot, you have experienced a fraction of the agony. The day after a leg day, is maybe another example, but still – surprise, surprise – a fraction,” shares Shivalli Arun.