10 menstruation myths you must leave behind
Menstruation is still a taboo subject in a lot of communities and there are lots of myths and misconceptions related to it. We want to leave behind all the stigma and the bad rumors that are vilifying menstrual cycle so people will stop believe in them, isolating women during their period or consider them impure.
Here are some of the most widespread myths about your period:
1. Sex on your period
One of the most well-known myths is that you cannot get pregnant while on your period. This idea is false. You can get pregnant if you have vaginal sex during your menstruation depending on how long is your monthly cycle. Sperm has the ability to live inside your genital tract up to 7 days, so if it lingers enough to coincide with your peak fertility (that usually happens when your ovaries produce and release eggs, in approximately 16 days before the start of the next period) you will not be able to avoid pregnancy. More than this, you might get some sexually transmitted infections if you’re not using a condom. On the other hand, if you decide to have sex and use protection, sex can help you relieve menstrual cramps and improve your general mood.
2. Unsafe to keep skipping your period?
Some people argue that is unsafe to skip your periods for a prolonged time, using birth control pills. According to most gynecologists it is typically safe to suppress menstruation, especially if you have severe symptoms that interfere with the quality of life or certain conditions like endometriosis where skipping menstruation is the best option for your health. Experiencing heavy bleeding, strong migraines, nausea, is unnecessary in this case and can be more trouble than they are worth. So, “Having a monthly period is reassuring, but it is certainly not necessary."
3. Shouldn't have a bath
One myth concerning menstruation is that having a bath or even taking a shower will either stimulate bleeding or stop bleeding and that is unsafe for your health. Wrong. Not only bathing will make you feel cleanser and help you cope with menstruation symptoms better but can also help relieve menstrual cramps and ease muscular tension. A hot bath can also reduce inflammation but you have to use intimate care products that are mild and without fragrances not to disrupt the bacterial balance in the genital area.
4. Syncing periods
Can periods actually synchronize? Is that a real phenomenon? This idea first appeared in a scientific article in 1971 and the author believed that women living closely together will exchange pheromones over time that led to increased menstruation synchrony. It seems that the notion is accurate and we’re sure you often experienced periods around the same time with your roommate, work colleague or schoolmate as well. It seems that the alpha-female is releasing hormones that can affect the period cycles of the women around them, so if she gets pregnant, the other women will have kids in the same period so they can take care of them together.
5. It’s okay to dismiss our feelings when we’re on our period
During PMS, there are some real hormonal changes in a woman’s body that can determine mood swings. For example, the levels of estrogen (that are linked to serotonin- “the happy hormone”) fall down while the levels of progesterone (that are linked to fear, anxiety and depression) increase. Even if these changes can affect our general mood, we should not invalidate our feelings during menstruation.
6. Period blood is dirty blood
The idea that period blood is loaded with toxins is totally wrong. It not only shows a lack of knowledge about the human biology but it defeats common sense. Just think about human embryos who live in this so-called toxic wasteland. The menstrual discharge consists in blood, endometrial fluid, vaginal mucus and regular vaginal flora but the blood component is no different than arterial blood. So, unless a woman doesn’t have a blood disease, menstrual fluid is harmless.
7. Periods are shameful
Periods are normal and we shouldn’t be ashamed of having them. It is not a disability. More than a half of population menstruates and we have to stop passing tampons secretly from one to another. It is not something gross, shameful or dirty and it’s about time to overcome these ideas. We have to open a dialogue and ditch the menstruation stigma, since it is the thing that help us create life.
8. You can lose a tampon in your vagina
It is true that your vagina can open large when aroused but it is not so deep to lose a tampon in it. So, if you believe you lost a tampon inside, insert two fingers and try to search for the string. It can be uncomfortable, embarrassing but you will find it for sure. It will not get stuck inside, your cervix will not allow it.
9. Period blood smells bad
The truth is that menstrual blood doesn’t have odor but when it mixes with the bacteria that you naturally have in your body can smell not so fresh. If, for some reason you feel an odor that is disturbing, you might have an infection so it’s better to go to the gynecologist and run some tests.
10. You shouldn’t exercise during your period
False. Not only it’s not forbidden, but exercising while menstruation can help decreasing menstrual cramps and alleviate many symptoms associated with your cycle. The increased production of endorphins that happens during sport activities can also reduce depression, anxiety and the mood changes you may experience during your cycle.