14 Period Myths That Need To Go Away!
There are so many taboos surrounding menstruation that most people feel embarrassed to talk about it. Not having open discussions helps perpetuate myths and leaves very little room for education past what we learned in 4th-grade health class.
Is it true that spending time with a close female friend will cause your cycle to sync up with hers? Is it possible to have totally painless period?
We decided to set the record straight on common myths and misconceptions we hear a lot about periods. Time to debunk them all!
1. You cannot get pregnant when you have your period
Sperm can live inside you for 5-7 days and you may ovulate during this time.
The probability of getting pregnant during a menstrual cycle is low in a woman who has a 28-to-30-day (or longer) menstrual cycle. However, with shorter cycles, there is a greater chance of pregnancy so make sure you are using contraception if you have sex during your period.
2. Exercising during your period is bad for you
You might feel low on energy and not feel like being active during your period but exercising is a great way to beat fatigue, boost your mood and release endorphins to ease cramps.
3. If you don’t get your period you’re definitely pregnant
There are many factors that can delay your period. So a delay in your period doesn’t necessarily mean you’re pregnant. Your period could be late due to stress, weight gain or loss or medication you're taking.
But if you’ve had sex, and your period is nowhere in sight; take a pregnancy test! That way you’ll know for sure.
4. You can’t go swimming on your period (especially in the ocean as sharks will attack you)
It is perfectly fine and safe to go swimming while on your period and it can even help ease cramps (you won’t turn the whole pool red, and you won’t be eaten by sharks!). Unfortunately, you can’t really go in the water with a pad on, but using tampons or a menstrual cup, and changing them regularly, your period is secured whatever activity you take on.
Plus, there are no published cases of shark attacks on women because of their period...
5. Sex is a no-no during your period
Sex during your period is fine as long as you and your partner are both consenting. It might get a little messy, but your cycle shouldn’t stop you from having fun especially when libido can actually increase during this time.
Your period can also be a natural lubricant so there is an added bonus!
Another reason not to miss out? Orgasms can make your cramps feel better by “releasing pelvic congestion,” the blood flow in the pelvis.
6. Everyone can tell when you’ve started your period
No-one can tell when you’ve started your period unless you choose to tell them. You don’t look different, walk differently or smell different.
Periods are private, but don’t have to be a secret. Don’t feel like you need to hide it. Remember, about half the population of this planet will experience periods at some point in their lives. It’s perfectly normal and perfectly natural
7. Your cycle syncs up with your female friends’ cycles
Some women swear that spending time with a female friend or roommate can cause this to occur. A famous 1971 study saw evidence of menstrual synchrony, however, a recent and more thorough study deemed cycle synching “very unlikely.” The truth is that it's usually plain coincidence. Sorry!
8. Menstrual blood different than regular blood
Menstrual blood is sometimes considered more disgusting than feces, and that’s just plain ludicrous. In truth, period blood is just regular blood mixed with some vaginal secretions and endometrium, or lining of the uterine wall. The blood itself contains sodium, calcium, phosphate, iron, chloride, and even stem cells!
9. Your period comes every 28 days
Cycles vary from person to person and can be anywhere from 25 to 35 days long with the average being 28 days. In the first few years, your cycle is likely to be very irregular, but it should then settle down. Changes to your cycle can be caused by stress, traveling between time zones, strenuous exercise, illness, or drastic changes in weight and diet. If your period is really irregular after the first couple of years, go and see a doctor.
10. If you use a tampon you are no longer a virgin
Anyone who has their period can use a tampon, it doesn’t matter if you have had sex or are a virgin. A tampon may occasionally cause the hymen to stretch but it does not cause someone to lose their virginity.
11. You have to deal with heavy periods
Heavy periods can be a sign of something wrong. If your periods are abnormally heavy, we suggest getting them checked out by your doctor. They should be able to identify the issue and treat the problem.
The average blood loss per menstrual cycle is 30 milliliters ― around two tablespoons ― but it can be higher. A chronic loss of greater than 80 milliliters can cause anemia. Menstrual cycles that last longer than a week, require changing a pad or tampon every one to two hours, or result in passing clots greater than the size of a quarter, could all be indicative of heavy menstrual bleeding. It’s important that you talk to your doctor in these scenarios.
12. PMS is all in your head
PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is real and normal. The changes in your body's hormone levels before your period can cause physical and emotional changes. Symptoms can include feeling bloated, mood swings and feeling irritable.
That being said, severe mood swings, irritability, food cravings, extreme fatigue, and sore breasts are all indications that something could be off with your hormone balance. Other causes of PMS include unstable blood sugar, nutrient deficiencies, or unhealthy levels of stress.
Extreme period pain is also not normal. Severe cramps, migraines, or vomiting are your body’s way of signaling that it is in need of something. If your period pain is severe, contact a doctor who will listen to you. This could be a sign of a bigger health issue. Don’t let anyone tell you, “This pain is just a part of being a woman.” This just isn’t true. Your body was not created to punish you, it was designed to communicate with you.
13. You can hold in your period
You cannot hold in your period. Pee and period blood do not exit the body from the same place – urine exits from the urethra which has sphincters so can be controlled while period blood exits from the vagina which does not have sphincters so cannot be controlled.
14. When you get your period, your body is cleaning itself out
Getting your period is a sign that fertilization did not occur. At the beginning of a cycle, your hormone levels are increasing and the lining of your uterus is building up. If you ovulate and fertilization does not occur, your hormone levels drop, and the uterine lining sheds itself, resulting in your period. Then the whole process starts again.
There are many other myths we didn't mention. Part of our mission is to put them all to rest.
"There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish."
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