Menstruation is a natural bodily function experienced by half of the world’s population. However, despite its prevalence, there are still many myths and misconceptions surrounding periods that can lead to shame, stigma, and misinformation. In this blog post, we will debunk some of the most common period myths to help promote education and understanding.
Myth: PMS is just an excuse for women to be moody and irrational.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a real and often debilitating condition that affects many menstruating individuals. It is estimated that 90% of women experience some form of PMS, which can include physical and emotional symptoms such as bloating, fatigue, irritability, and mood swings. However, the severity and duration of these symptoms can vary greatly from person to person.
PMS is caused by hormonal changes in the body, specifically an increase in progesterone and a decrease in serotonin. These hormonal fluctuations can affect the brain and lead to changes in mood and behavior. It is important to recognize that PMS is not an excuse for bad behavior, but rather a legitimate health concern that should be taken seriously.
Myth: You can’t get pregnant on your period.
While it is less likely to get pregnant during your period, it is still possible. Sperm can live inside the body for up to five days, so if you have sex towards the end of your period and ovulate shortly after, it is possible to get pregnant. Additionally, irregular periods and short menstrual cycles can make it difficult to predict ovulation, making it important to use contraception consistently and correctly.
Myth: Tampons can get lost inside you.
Tampons cannot get lost inside the body. The cervix at the end of the vagina is too small for a tampon to pass through. If a tampon does become stuck, it is usually because it has not been inserted correctly or because it has been left in for too long. It is important to change your tampon every four to eight hours to avoid the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS).
Myth: Menstrual blood is dirty and needs to be cleaned out.
Menstrual blood is not dirty and does not need to be cleaned out. It is a natural bodily function that serves a purpose in shedding the uterine lining. In fact, using harsh soaps or douching can disrupt the natural pH balance of the vagina and lead to infections.
Myth: You can’t swim or exercise during your period.
You can absolutely swim and exercise during your period. In fact, exercise can help alleviate cramps and improve mood. While it is important to change your tampon or pad frequently to avoid leakage, there is no reason to avoid physical activity during your period.
Myth: All menstrual cycles are 28 days long.
While the average menstrual cycle is 28 days long, cycles can range from 21 to 35 days. Additionally, cycles can vary in length from month to month and can be affected by factors such as stress, diet, and exercise. It is important to track your cycle to better understand your body and to predict ovulation.
Myth: You can’t have sex during your period.
While some people may feel uncomfortable having sex during their period, it is perfectly safe and can even provide relief from menstrual cramps. However, it is important to use protection to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Myth: You can’t use a menstrual cup if you’re a virgin.
There is no reason why a virgin cannot use a menstrual cup. The hymen, which is often associated with virginity, is a thin membrane that can be stretched and broken through various activities, including the insertion of a menstrual cup. It is important to choose the right size and to practice proper insertion and removal techniques to avoid discomfort or injury.
Myth: Periods are always painful.
While some individuals may experience menstrual cramps and discomfort during their period, not all periods are painful. Additionally, the severity and duration of menstrual pain can vary greatly from person to person. If menstrual pain is interfering with your daily life, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider to rule out any underlying conditions and to discuss treatment options.
Myth: Menstruation is a “women’s issue.”
Menstruation is not just a “women’s issue.” Transgender men and non-binary individuals who have a uterus and menstruate also experience the challenges and stigma associated with periods. It is important to recognize and support all individuals who menstruate and to work towards breaking down the gendered stereotypes surrounding menstruation.
In conclusion, there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding menstruation that can lead to shame, stigma, and misinformation. By debunking these myths and promoting education and understanding, we can help create a more inclusive and informed society. Menstruation is a natural bodily function that should be celebrated and supported, not shamed or stigmatized.