Simone Giertz explains in a humorous but engaging way.
Simone Giertz builds the period cramp machine to explain period cramps. In collaboration with the U by Kotex® She Can Initiative, Simone helps young women demystify the amazing process their body goes through in her trademark style blending education and humor.
You know ketchup bottles? Of course you know ketchup bottles, but right when you’re at the end of the bottle you have to squeeze it really hard to get the last ketchup out… this is not turning out to be as
strong of a metaphor as I want it to be.
My name is Simone Giertz, and today we’re going to talk about the period cramps in collaboration with
the Kotex She Can Initiative.
It all starts with a magical mystical creature, the unicorn of the belly, also known as the uterus.
It weighs about as much as three tennis balls, and is roughly the size of a pear, but can expand to the
size of a watermelon. There are no other parts of my body that can expand that way. That I know of.
And unlike me, the uterus is mostly made up of muscle… and those muscles are there to do two things:
1. Push out babies
2. Contract to release the uterine lining and start your period.
That contraction is what’s known as a period cramp!
Sometimes they’re painful, and sometimes they’re not. About 83% of people who menstruate are
affected by cramps, so if you don’t know anyone affected by cramps, it’s probably just because you
haven’t asked them.
So I did some research and turns out the pressure that a period cramp can produce is 2.3 PSI, I have no
idea how much that is. Like 2.3 PSI means less to me than my ex… All I want to know is how strong a
period cramp is.
So I made this... It’s a period cramp machine! Or like a uterus pressure chamber. So I got four of these
blood pressure sensors and I took the air pouches out of them and put them in here. Now I can shove
different objects in here and then pump it up and it will squeeze it with the same pressure as a period
Can we try it? I’m pretty excited to put this balloon in there, I have no idea if it’s going to be able to
burst it. Ok cramp!
[Pumps on the blood pressure handles]
Oh no… Ok it won’t pop a balloon. But it’s gotta squash a strawberry. I need a moment to recover from
my disappointment. It’s the last straw... Strawberry.
This makes no sense anatomically, this is toothpaste for your teeth… in your uterus.
Awww look at her go!! If this isn’t art, I don’t know what is.
It’s me! She’s even wearing the same tampon necklace I am. Ok just gonna put you in here, you stay
there, and everything will be alright. Cramp her!
[squeezing + laughing]
Ok let’s try a can. I’m not feeling terribly hopeful about it based on the performance so far, but why not!
And empty just like me.
It buckled it, it did it! There was damage. Can a uterus crush an empty soda can? Seemingly! That’s
I think I expected the uterus to have a little more destructive power. But it also makes sense, it’s not
there to hurt you, it’s there to contract to shed uterine lining, and also occasionally crush cans.
And here is the thing: period cramps sometimes hurt even if there is nothing wrong with you, the
menstrual cycle was just made that way. With some occasional built in pain and no instruction manual.
And that’s actually a problem because it means some medical conditions that cause period pain can
easily be overlooked because your doctor is like “oh that’s period cramps they hurt, deal with it”.
No matter if it’s caused by a medical condition or not, a good rule of thumb is that if the pain makes it
difficult to do normal things, then reach out to a doctor. And remember to keep on advocating for
And that’s all I have to say about that. Period.
This Period Cramp Machine was created in collaboration with The Kotex SheCan Initiative, an organization that champions women’s progress by fighting period stigmas and the barriers they cause.
This is not intended to be medical advice. Everybody is different so please make sure to consult your physician if you're having issues. Do not delay or refrain from seeking professional medical advice from your physician because of something you have read on this site.
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