9 Menstruating Myths That Need To Be Debunked
Even though 1.8 billion people across the world menstruate every month, there are SO many damaging, harmful, and honestly, kinda offensive menstruating myths. Well, we’re here to put the record straight and debunk these myths, because as we all know, knowledge is power, and that’s undoubtedly the case when it comes to your menstrual health.
Myth 1: When you’re on your period, you shouldn’t exercise
A lot of people believe that you shouldn’t exercise while you’re on your period, however, there’s no scientific reason that you shouldn’t. While you’re on your period, you’re more likely to feel tired, lethargic, and suffer from period pains, so while you may feel less motivated to exercise, it can actually be beneficial. Exercising can help ease period pains and boost levels of serotonin (the happy hormone). If an intense HITT class or run feels intimidating, try gentle exercises, like yoga, Pilates or even a long walk.
Myth 2: Period pain is “not that bad” and you should push through it
If you’ve ever suffered from period pains – or dysmenorrhea as it’s technically called – and had someone dismiss or invalidate your pain, you can officially tell them that you’re not overreacting. In fact, period pains have been ruled as being as painful as having a heart attack, thanks to John Guillebaud, Professor of Reproductive Health at University College London.
Myth 3: Tampons break your hymen
The hymen is a small piece of skin inside the opening of the vagina – it’s a highly misunderstood part of the female anatomy, which has a lot of damaging myths surrounding it.
Most commonly, the hymen is associated with virginity and people believe that when you have first-time penetrative sex it will break, causing the vagina to bleed. However, the hymen – a ring of tissue around the inside of the vagina shaped kinda like a doughnut – is highly elastic. The tissue can be thin or thick and will typically stretch; it can stretch during penetrative sex, it can also stretch from exercise, from horse-riding or dancing, and it even wears away over time. Similarly, inserting a tampon could stretch the hymen, but it may not.
So in short: a tampon won’t take away your virginity. Inserting a tampon may or may not stretch the hymen, but so can many other things.
Myth 4: You don’t bleed in water
One of the most common menstruating myths circling around is that you don’t bleed in water. However, if you’ve ever had a bath on your period, you’ll probably have realized this is not the case. Water pressure can temporarily stop blood flow, however, if you move around, cough or sneeze, this pressure can release blood flow. Plus, when you get out of the water, the blood flow will resume and you could also experience a surge of blood.
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Myth 5: You can’t get pregnant on your period
PSA: you can get pregnant on your period. Ovulation cycles vary from person to person, and it is statistically possible to get pregnant during your period. However, it is less likely in the early days of your period but the risk increases toward the end. As always, the best way to prevent pregnancy is to use a form of contraception.
Myth 6: PMS is in your head and doesn’t really exist
There is a hugely damaging narrative that women are moody, sensitive, and have no control over their emotions. It’s been used for centuries to limit and control women. There’s also an equally dismissive narrative that PMS doesn’t exist and it’s merely in your head. Well, we’re here to tell you PMS is a medical reality and can surface as a physical symptom such as cramping, headaches, excess sweating, as well as symptoms like increased anxiety or a low mood. To learn more about the unexpected PMS symptoms, read this post.
The key to feeling empowered during your period is knowing and understanding your symptoms. For example, if you know during your period that you get increased anxiety, you can schedule more self-care and mood-boosting activities like journaling or mediation during those days to help you feel your best. Your period doesn’t have to derail your state of being or throw you off balance (although it’s totally understandable if that does happen), but learning about your symptoms and knowing ways to soothe them can help you to have a more comfortable time. Check out our fave products to combat PMS and our fave all-natural remedies.
Myth 7: If you skip your period, you’re pregnant
While one of the most obvious signs of pregnancy is a missed period, there are a ton of reasons that you may skip a period. A missed period could be a sign of another underlying health or hormonal condition, from a thyroid condition to PCOS or even endometriosis. The length of your cycle can also be impacted by any form of emotional or physical stress on the body, so if you do skip a period, check in with your health provider to understand why.
Myth 8: You cycle sync with your friend
As much as we’d love to sync with our friends or sisters and have a period BFF, period syncing is not entirely a thing. Simply by chance alone, one could easily find two menstruators seven days apart, and given that menstruation can last five to seven days, the overlapping period is a common occurrence. And as menstruators tend to have different cycle lengths, it also means that if someone has a shorter cycle and a friend has a longer cycle, over time they will naturally have their periods together even if when they met they began their cycles at different time.
Myth 9: Your period is shameful or something to hide
Repeat after us: your period is not shameful, dirty, or something to hide. It is a natural thing that happens to 1.8 billion people every month and is totally normal. If you need a little extra help to find joy during your period, check out these empowering period tips.
For more period knowledge, check out 21 facts about your period.