Watch Men Experience Period Pain With Menstrual Cramp Simulator

Men in Canada have had the opportunity to experience what it's like to have the pain that often comes with having a period.

Vancouver, British Columbia–based period pain relief company somedays ran the simulator between July 7 and July 16 at the Calgary Stampede, an annual rodeo, exhibition and festival in Alberta, posting several videos of the men to social media.

"It makes you wanna keel over – I feel like throwing up," one volunteer said at Level 7 pain.

"The simulator, and what somedays is really trying to do, is open up [the period pain] conversation in a way that's not awkward," CEO and co-founder Lex Perry told CBS Mornings.

period cramps
Stock image of a woman experiencing period pain. Men in Canada were hooked up to a period pain simulator to spread awareness of the pain faced by many women during their periods. iStock / Getty Images Plus

People who menstruate undergo a shedding of their uterine lining around once every 28 days, which causes the bleeding and cramping associated with periods. The pain comes from the contracting of the walls of the uterus as it expels the fleshy lining, with this cramping varying from person to person in terms of pain level and duration.

Prostaglandins are hormone-like chemicals that trigger these uterine muscle contractions, meaning that higher levels of prostaglandins can be associated with more painful periods.

Research has found that 84.1 percent of people who have periods experience some degree of pain during menstruation, and that 32 to 40 percent reported pain so severe that they had to stay home from work or school. Periods tend to last between four and eight days.

Other issues that may worsen period cramping include endometriosis, which is when tissue usually found only on the uterus wall (the endometrium) grows on the outside of the uterus, such as on the fallopian tubes, ovaries or the tissue lining the pelvis.

The company's simulator has 10 levels of possible pain, with Level 10 being the worst pain usually felt by people on their periods. Level 4 to 5 is where the average cycle sits in terms of pain, with anything above that likely being due to some kind of menstrual issue. Perry explains that her period generally gives her Level 10 pain and cramping, due to her endometriosis, and she experiences that pain for seven days straight.

The period simulator sends electrical currents through the abdominal muscles of the people hooked up, causing their muscles to contract and flex in a similar way to the cramping of the uterus during menstruation.

"That's terrible, oh my god," one volunteer said as Perry increased the pain to a level nine. "I can't imagine trying to walk around, or going to work or anything like that."

"Now find a way to add in the bloating, migraines, sudden swings between cravings and nausea, and joint pain," one comment under the video read.

Other symptoms of menstruation not simulated by the cramp experience include bloating, breast tenderness, mood swings, acne and low libido.

In the U.S., $2 billion is spent annually on menstrual products, with the average woman using around 17,000 tampons or pads over a lifetime of periods.