It baffles men. Dear boyfriends, you may have heard of it, learned about it during sex ed in school, seen the girls around you display some of the symptoms, but you know that you will never be able to understand or empathise with a girl on her period. Even if she is your girlfriend.
There are many helpful articles out there on the Internet, but all the advice is kind of…all over the place and even conflicting sometimes. Give her more attention! No, leave her alone! Exercise with her! Let her rest at home!
As a girl reading those articles, I got confused myself too. Actually, I found myself agreeing with a lot of the suggestions, even the few contradicting ones. So I admit guys, girls can be hard to decipher. But I realised that it was because these articles focus on all the things you can/should do to help your girl.
Huh, isn’t that exactly what you should be looking for?
Actually, turns out “what you can do” is not very helpful, because every girl is different, and every month is different. The permutations of PMS and its correlating solutions are endless…sorry guys! ¯\_(?)_/¯
BUT! I didn’t write this article for nothing. We’ve briefly written on this before, but you can be of great help to your girl when she’s going through her period, and make the monthly sufferings so much more manageable for her. Boyfriend of the century goes to you!
1. Understand Her Biology
To those still doubting the legitimacy of periods and its effects, IT’S REAL! Though you may not be able to empathise with what she is going through, sympathy will really help you to genuinely care for her, and she’ll be able to feel it too. Just really understanding her makes a lot of difference.
Not to overwhelm you with too much of the science, let’s just go through some of the symptoms that girls can face. Just off the tip of my head.
So firstly, cramps are definitely a no-brainer. But did you know technically how bad it can get? Sometimes the pain gets so unbearable that a girl can faint. Sometimes, we are managing our cramps well but a random stab of excruciating pain hits us in the abdomen for a good 30 seconds or so. Even if it’s not that serious, girls who experience cramps go through their day having to bear the pain constantly. Usually it lasts for a good 1-2 days, though some girls can experience it for longer.
And then there’s the ever-so-notorious mood swings. No, it’s not made up. Our hormones are actually going bonkers. It’s bad enough with the physical side, and now we have to deal with the emotional side. And it sucks because nobody wants to be a bitch, and it takes a huge emotional effort to keep calm and rational.
Girls can also experience bloating, water retention, headaches, backaches, nausea, diarrhoea, constipation, painful and swollen boobs (yay for better fitting bras though), fatigue, acne breakouts, weight gain, muscle or joint aches, lack of appetite, etc.
I’m not kidding! There are up to 150 menstrual symptoms. So understanding what she goes through can really help you to sympathise with her and genuinely want to care for her.
2. Don’t Be Grossed Out
I mean, she already is. Can you imagine how gross you will feel when you’re bleeding clumps of blood out of you (it’s not just liquid blood you know, it’s actual uterine wall tissue that’s coming out), with a bloated stomach and 5 new pimples?
*That was just 2 randomly chosen symptoms by the way.
We understand if you find it difficult to comprehend, and even if the idea of bleeding every month kind of freaks you out, don’t show her that you’re grossed out.
She can’t help it, and it’ll make her feel like you think she’s a monster to be avoided.
3. Pay Attention, Listen
Precisely because there are so many symptoms, and they’re not even constant through the months. And every girl has a different preferred solution to her symptoms. And even those solutions might differ every month.
For example, maybe a girl needs more hugs, more affirmation and more expressions of love when she’s feeling needy. But there could be a random day where she just wants to be alone on her bed the whole day. Maybe you were both excited to go hiking that day, but her body just isn’t feeling it for a work out.
Haha, I’m so sorry guys. But that’s really where communication matters a lot.
Let her know that you’re asking because you genuinely want to know how you can help. And ask if what you guess or observe about what she’s going through is accurate or not. It’s really not about asking just to know, but asking to help better. Any human, female or male, will really appreciate that! And girls, don’t beat around the bush or give vague answers. Help him to help you 🙂
4. A Period Care Pack
If you happen to be particularly free and the DIY type (even if you’re not, this is really easy to do), make her a period care pack! It’s a little bag/box of stuff that will make her feel better during her time of the month.
I bet you this will be her reaction, especially if it’s the first time you’re doing it for her:
Need some suggestions as to what to put in the care pack? Find out what makes cramps better, or refer to this short list:
- A heat pack. Heat is scientifically proven to help with cramps because it relaxes the muscles and encourages blood circulation. You can get MenstruHeat, which is specially designed for menstrual cramps!
- Tea bags. Certain teas really have a positive effect on a woman on her period, particularly those that do not contain caffeine. Check out a list of teas that you can give her here and here. Remember to avoid coffee or anything with caffeine!
- Chocolate. Especially if your girl is the chocolate kind. But remember, some people have very strong preferences for different types of chocolate so know what kind of chocolate she likes!
- Healthy snacks. Like almonds, dried cranberries, etc. Especially if she’s on a cycle that increases her appetite. Eating healthy is still better than eating junk food!
- Find out what she’s craving for and get her that too.
- A loving note, just to perk her up.
And that’s the main point guys, it’s a mindset more than specific actions. If there is a will, there is a way!