The myths surrounding menstruation are bizarre and widespread. In Israel, you get slapped on your face when you get your first period, so you’ll have beautiful cheeks all your life. Ouch! Malaysians believe you must wash your pads before you throw them out or you’ll be haunted by ghosts (boo!) and Americans think that if you go camping when on your period, you’re likely to catch the attention of bears. So much for being a developed superpower.
From being able to poison someone with just one look to being able to control the weather, menstruating women sure come with a hell lot of power. While these strange beliefs are hilarious, we found some myths that need serious debunking.
After major research (and eye-rolling), we’re laying down a list of seven myths about menstruation it’s about time were debunked once and for all.
Myth # 1: You Can’t Wash Your Hair While Menstruating
Forget everything your grandmother told you about not washing your hair till you’re on the third day of your period. While the cold water they bathed with may have increased menstrual cramps, hot water is no longer a luxury. In fact, having a hot shower eases cramps and makes you feel so much better, right?
Myth # 2: You Can’t Go Swimming When You Have Your Period
This myth dates to the time when tampons and menstrual cups were non-existent. And of course, entering a pool without protection was a concern from a hygiene perspective. While the difference in water and blood pressure generally prevents your flow under water, don’t forget to wear a tampon when you go swimming. Blood could leakout if you don’t…
Myth # 3: Exercising During Your Period Is A Big No, No
Menstruation was treated as a sickness in the good ol’ days when women stayed in bed. Truth be told, there’s nothing we can’t do when we’re on our period. It’s not a disability and it’s not a weakness. In fact, regular exercise helps reduce the intensity of menstrual cramps. After all, women have competed in the Olympics and won when they’ve had their periods.
Myth # 4: PMS Is All In Your Head
Move aside everyone (read men) who believe PMS is just something we’ve made up to justify our mood swings, cravings and uncontrollable desire to curl up and cry over cat videos. There are actual physical changes going on inside our bodies. Oestrogen—linked to the happy hormone—drops, and progesterone, linked to the part of the brain associated with fear, anxiety and depression, increases. So, while it’s easy to write this off as “just hormones”, the mood changes that come with them are totally legit.
Myth # 5: You Lose An Enormous Amount Of Blood
This is pure fiction, girl. In reality, the average woman loses about 2-3 teaspoons of blood every day. Yup, that’s it. Even if you do suffer from menorrhagia aka heavy bleeding, you lose only a maximum of 4 teaspoons of blood daily. Of course, there are outliers and if your periods start affecting your life, it’s time to meet a doctor.
Myth # 6: Period Sex Is Gross
While this one is purely subjective and based on personal preference, we just want to quash any belief around period sex being unhygienic or unhealthy. The origin of this myth is probably from religions that prohibits sex during menstruation, but there is absolutely no health risk involved. Remember though, while it is highly unlikely, there is a slim chance of pregnancy if you have unprotected sex on your period. So, always use protection, girls. Better safe than sorry!
Myth # 7: Period Blood Is Dirty Blood
The blood that comes out of your vagina is just about as dirty as the blood that comes out of, say, your elbow. It’s less blood and more a mix of uterine tissue, mucus lining, bacteria and a few blood cells, basically evolved vaginal secretion. We’ve been made to believe it’s dirty from years of it being a taboo.
For centuries now, women have been made to believe periods are shameful, debilitating, a disease. But it’s time to ditch the stigma and talk about menstruation openly. No longer should we feel the need to ask for a pad in hushed tones or hide a tampon up our sleeves on our way to the loo. It is, after all, an important part of the cycle of life. Period.
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