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How Would Men Handle Menstrual Cramps?

Recently, I have been blessed with menstrual cramps that would cripple a rhino. This is no hyperbole. Sometimes they are so bad, they feel like labor pains, only I don’t get a beautiful child at the end of it. I also get absolutely no sympathy from my family.

I’ve seen a doctor and after he checked to make sure it wasn’t anything serious, he told me that I’m going through perimenopause. This is the super fun time in a woman’s life when menopause symptoms can go on for as long as 15 years. Symptoms include: changes in menstruation, irritability, headaches, insomnia and hot flashes. My particular symptoms include: killer cramps and all that other crap.

Yes, there are many therapies I could use to ease my suffering. I could choose hormone replacement therapy (HRT). I could do acupuncture, take herbs, become a vegan, or chant to the crone goddess, but I don’t. Why? It’s too dang hard and I’m not sure if any of it really works. Also, I don’t recall having to do anything special when I first experienced menstruation (except cry) so why do I have to do anything at the end of it?

All of this makes me think that there’s an awful lot of stuff we women go through with regard to our bodies. Bleeding once a month, becoming pregnant, birthing children and then going through the great change when it’s all over…I mean, that’s a lot for one body to go through! I have often wondered what the world would be like if men had to deal with all of this change in their bodies instead of women.

How would a man handle cramps? If we take how men have handled the whole erectile dysfunction “problem” as a model, we can assume that it would be a big deal. Likely, there would be a special allowance of “cramp days” instead of “sick days” for men. No one would expect a man to be able to focus on work while he had debilitating cramps. Tons of money would be poured into finding a cure. If a cure could not easily be found, men would start foundations that would put on events like monster truck racing, fishing, or beer guzzling to raise money. All of these events would be sponsored by Budweiser and Moodify—a new drug to help men deal with their mood swings.

Men would quickly find out that some cramps do not abate with mere Midol or Pamprin. Some cramps are so severe that the pain throbs across the lower back and down the legs, making it difficult to be civil to another human being. Men would understand completely when his friend said, “It’s a heating pad kinda day.” When a man’s wife rolled her eyes every time he groaned as if he were in labor, he would secretly wish that she would show a little compassion.

Maybe, just maybe, things would slow down a bit, too. When men would hit that once a month crampfest, they would realize that there are more important things in life than fantasy football or world domination. Maybe men might even want to talk about how they’re feeling without the guilt or shame. There might be more hugs involved in every day life and men would not be worried about looking stupid or homosexual, unless they wanted to look stupid or homosexual. Men might start looking at each other differently. Rather than seeing a potential competitor or a feared stranger, maybe they would see someone who is going through the same mood swings, pain, and struggles that they are experiencing and feel some compassion. Perhaps there would be renewed interest in art, music, or other non-utilitarian pursuits within schools because somehow budgets would be freed up for such things.

Okay, I know this is all just idealistic daydreaming, but since I have to deal with horrendous cramps every month, it really makes me feel better to imagine a man in the same situation. I picture someone like David Beckham or Daniel Craig curled up on a couch with menstrual cramps, and that somehow makes the pain much more bearable for me.

You can read more from Dana Leipold on her blog.

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  • Allyson Kate Mcardle

    Oh my God, yes!!
    Apparently there was a study done in a country (forget which country) and they put those brain thingys on men to see their response to pain and they did it for the pain a woman felt in labour, and none of them could handle it :L

  • Hilary June

    This is amazing and needs to be in every newspaper, on every news program, and read by every woman and man in the entire world. If men had to go through what women go through, things would be different.

    YES. YES. YES. Yeah, people joke about cramps and make light of them, but sometimes they hurt worse than anything and the jokes become even more un funny than they were to begin with. I shouldn’t have to use my sick days because my cramps make me unable to stand up straight.

  • Bobbie Aleen Hendron

    Hands down, pretty positive they couldn’t handle it. If they truly understood, they wouldn’t hesitate to get the chocolate or fetch the remote or the heating pad.
    I feel your pain, though. Apparently the cramps I suffer monthly could get me over halfway through labor. Isn’t that lovely? I suffer from PMDD, which is PMS times 50 (I’m assuming). It’s absolutely horrible. Just drug me up and let me sleep.

  • Pauline de Groot

    The people in the Netherlands had the same idea. And they tested it:

  • Dana Leipold

    I saw that video about the guys in the Netherlands. It. Was. Hilarious. One guy couldn’t even finish the 2-hour labor pain simulation. He couldn’t handle it. I think every man with a spouse, partner, or girlfriend who has had his baby should experience what it’s like. Maybe there’d be a little more empathy. At the very least, we could stand there and tell them to breathe. AS IF that really helps!

  • Rindy Hart

    Hi there! I, too, suffered from “Cramps that would cripple a rhino” I, too, went to the doctor. For 7 years they jerked me around, offering NO help with my situation, I was denied ultrasounds, denied surgery, denied that I had a problem. FINALLY, I threatened legal action to get the surgery for Endometriosis, (1. a VERY common and misdiagnosed reproductive issue 2. THE ONLY way to diagnose is through surgery). Surprise, surprise….that’s what was wrong with me. I share this with you, because so many women suffer and NEVER get diagnosed….the surgery offers temporary relief, but from my research I have found most afflicted women find relief through Chinese medicine (I’m fixin’ to try that soon). It may not be Perimenopause….but even if it is, I suggest Chinese medicine.

  • Melanie Schmitz

    I feel that feel.


  • Sandra Henningsson

    From now on I am totally gonna picture Bruce Willis having cramps when I have cramps. Holy jesus, thank you!

  • Beth Cook

    I think if men ever had cramps the human race would completely die out because they would most likely kill themselves or be killed by someone else since everyone knows that things, like regular illnesses or even a paper cut are 10 times worse with men–they think they’re going to die if they get a simple cold, for Christ’s sake!

  • Diana Moreva

    All this did was make me angry.
    Imagining a world with men who get menstrual cramps and thinking of all the allowances they would likely get if fucking infuriating. How in the world does this make you feel better?

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