Since the talk about periods has been a taboo subject in many cultures, myths and pseudo science can get propagated as information.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on June 9, 2020. It has since been updated.
Most women are not completely familiar with the ins and outs of menstruation even when they have been menstruating for years or even decades. Many of us fall prey to old wives' tales since talking about periods and sex education is taboo. We might not have access to the right information about periods because of which these myths get propagated. Many women may have heard about what periods are and how to handle them only from our mothers or other women in our lives.
There may never have been any expert or even a medical health professional explaining the intricacies of it to you. Not speaking up about our reproductive health can be harmful towards our fertility even, Internist Dr. Cara Pensabene tells Glam.com. It is important to be well-informed about our menstrual cycles since they are such an important part of our lives.
Here are some of the myths that we, as women, might believe in and should definitely stop reading any truth into:
It is unlikely to get pregnant if you are physically intimate without protection during your menstrual cycle but it's not impossible. It also depends on each woman's schedule. "Fertility awareness as a birth control method can be effective, but it also is difficult to do without error. Not all vaginal bleeding is part of your period, so it can be confusing to track ovulation," explained Dr. Pensabene. "From time to time, women can experience early or late ovulation, regardless of observed bleeding," she added. Period-tracking apps can be a great way to tell which days you’re likely ovulating and hence are more fertile.
That's incorrect, says Bodyform.co.uk. Working out can be one of the best ways to ease menstrual cramps. You don't need to participate in anything intense but some exercises that need only gentle movements like walking, swimming, Pilates, or yoga may be able to elevate your mood and relieve some of the pain. Remember to use a tampon when swimming and changing it right away afterward to avoid infection.
We may believe that the more time and space we share with another woman, the more likely it is that our periods get synced up but there is no medical reason to explain or support this. "Physical proximity to other women does not affect cycle timing or frequency," Dr. Pensabene told Glam.com. "This menstrual synchronization myth has been kicking around for many years, based on a questionable study of a handful of college students in 1971. Recent, more comprehensive studies show no reliable correlation."
Every woman's experience is different but on average, even though it looks like a lot of blood loss, we lose only two to three tablespoons of blood every menstrual cycle. Some women experience very heavy periods (menorrhagia), which can be because of other health complications. You don't need to worry about passing out due to blood loss if you have average periods. Although, symptoms like PMS can affect your mood and wellbeing. Also, if you do have heavy periods, so much so that you get dizzy when you get up, you should discuss it with your doctor, according to Bodyform.co.uk.
There is no way others can tell that you are on your periods. You don't smell or walk differently and neither can people say from the tone of your skin. You should be able to keep it to yourself if you wish to without others making guesses or talk about it if you want to. While you may choose to not talk about your PMS and cramps, it's not necessary that you do so as more and more people are becoming open enough to hearing and empathizing with the difficulties that come with periods. If you wish to, you can share just with your girlfriends since some of them might still be going through it, if they haven't hit menopause.
Women and girls shouldn't need to feel ashamed of their own bodies and least of all because of other women. Reading up and staying aware helps up help ourselves and others, whose experience of periods might be different than ours.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by master1305Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.