Throughout the world, periods play a huge role in the lives of women. Starting as a young girl, the uncertainty of puberty raises many questions and concerns. And although menstruation is a normal process that happens monthly, it still remains a taboo subject. This stigma has led to the forming of endless myths around periods, and we’re here to debunk them. Have you heard of these 10 most common period myths?
1. The common cycle is 28 days long: FALSE
Your cycle depends on your body specifically; not everyone’s schedule is consistent each month. Various factors can affect how early or late your period appears. 28 days is the average cycle, and if you’re on certain birth control, it will regulate close to this. However, a normal period can actually last anywhere from 22 to 35 days. In some cases, you can have period symptoms even when you don’t have your period. Things like stress, diet, and rigorous exercise can all impact your cycle. For more information on why your period may be irregular, check out this informative blog post.
2. Period sex is unhealthy: FALSE
Although having sex on your period may be uncomfortable for some, it’s perfectly okay and safe to do so. There are no health risks associated with having intercourse during your period. Actually, it can even help relieve menstrual cramps for some women. If you choose to have sex on your period, make sure you talk about it with your partner first and set up safety precautions, such as towels and wipes.
3. You can’t get pregnant when you’re on your period: FALSE
Although women are most fertile during ovulation, there is still confusion around if it’s possible to get pregnant during your period. As mentioned earlier, not every cycle is a strict 28 days. Those who have shorter cycles can experience earlier ovulation and may not even realize it at the time. Not to mention, sperm can live inside of you for nearly five days afterward. If you decide to have sex on your period, be sure to use protection every time to be extra cautious.
4. It’s dangerous to skip your period when on birth control pills: FALSE
The period you experience when on birth control isn’t real menstruation. If you take your birth control pills consistently, your body shouldn’t ovulate. Without ovulation, your body won’t actually menstruate like how you would off of birth control. What you’re actually experiencing is withdrawal bleeding from the hormones you are taking when on your placebo week. So, as long as your doctor confirms that it’s okay for you to skip your period, you can safely skip your simulated period.
5. Menstrual blood is always red: FALSE
Period blood color can range from bright red, dark red, pink, to even orange. So although there’s no reason to worry if your blood isn’t always red, the color can be a good indicator of your overall health and hygiene. Your blood can tell you about your estrogen levels and the freshness of your blood (note: older blood tends to be darker in color and this is okay). The color can also show if there’s an infection based on its color, smell, and consistency. For more information on what the color of your period may mean about your health, click here.
6. Your cycle stops in the water: FALSE
This is an interesting period myth! Technically, your period doesn’t stop in the water. What actually happens is the pressure of the water can make the blood stay inside of you, mimicking the end of your period. However, the second you get out of the water, the pressure will cease and your period will continue once more. Therefore, it’s important to be prepared, and either put in a tampon before going into the water or have personal care items and a bathroom close by.
7. You can lose your tampon in your vagina: FALSE
Although you can get a tampon stuck in your vagina and may have difficulty removing it, it cannot get lost in there. Your cervix is at the base of your uterus and prevents anything from getting lost up there. If it were to get stuck, there are a few things you can do. Start by lying down or sitting on a toilet with your feet elevated. You can try to push it out and if this doesn’t work, relax your muscles and remain calm (as hard as that might be). If your own efforts can’t dislodge the tampon, you can go visit your doctor or urgent care immediately to prevent Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).
8. Your period synchronizes with women you’re close with: FALSE…well maybe
Synchronized periods have been a myth for ages and are often thought to happen for women who live together. Because of the varying lengths of a menstrual cycle, it isn’t uncommon for cycles to overlap with those you live with. Additionally, lifestyle changes can disrupt your regular flow, throwing your cycle off. There is little to no evidence supporting this phenomenon, so it remains a controversial myth.
9. PMS is all in your head: FALSE
Throughout your menstrual cycle, hormone levels are constantly fluctuating. These hormonal shifts can cause irritability, fatigue, cramping, and numerous other unpleasant symptoms. 85% of women who menstruate reported they suffer from at least one PMS symptom every single month. These symptoms can vary in severity for women, which can be dictated by genetics and/or lifestyle habits. Although PMS isn’t curable, there are many natural remedies you can try to help alleviate some of the discomforts.
10. You shouldn’t work out on your period: FALSE
For a long time, women’s periods were treated as an illness. Women were advised to rest, stay at home, and not socialize for the duration of their period. However, menstruation is a normal monthly function that happens for women and is not a disability. You can still maintain normal activities when on your period, such as exercise. For some women, exercise helps to relieve menstrual cramps, reduce bloating, and elevate mood. Yoga is also a great method for helping with period symptoms. It’s all based on your body and what you feel right doing.
How many of these common period myths have you heard before? Comment below!