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.
About Simone Giertz
Simone Giertz is a Swedish inventor, YouTuber and robotics enthusiast. She is world-renowned for her useless machines and has risen to the very top of the field, mainly because the field is very tiny and not of great interest to anyone else. She currently has 2.46M subscribers on YouTube and her popularity continues to grow every day with her machine builds.
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:
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 cramp.
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!
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 pretty cool.
Reaction to the Period Cramp Experiment
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 yourself.
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.