Debunking Period Myths
By: Kate McCallum
From a young age, women are fed numerous far-fetched rumors about our seemingly mysterious periods. Due to the stigma surrounding menstruation and a general lack of research conducted on the topic, these myths have become generally accepted in modern society. Apricotton is here to make periods a little less foreign and debunk some common period myths.
PMS is all in your head
While some people believe that women use Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) as a convenient excuse for our mood swings, abdominal pain and fatigue, PMS is a scientifically backed phenomenon that affects 85% of women.Throughout our menstrual cycles, our bodies secrete varied levels of estrogen and progesterone, causing numerous psychological and physiological impacts. Particularly, spikes in reproductive hormones can cause irritability, fatigue and cramping. PMS is excruciatingly real, and although there are methods to reduce the symptoms of PMS, it cannot be mitigated altogether.
You lose a ton of blood on your period
Many young girls share a similar worry - is it healthy to lose this much blood every month? Although it may feel like a lot more at times, the average woman only loses about 60 milliliters of blood on their period, equivalent to about 4 tablespoons. This is an insignificant amount of blood, and is completely sustainable for your body.
You cannot control the duration of your period
Contrary to popular belief, there are healthy methods of reducing the duration of your period once it has started. You may do so by opting for pads over tampons, as tampons tend to block some menstrual flow from the vagina, which may extend the duration of bleeding. Moreover, your menstruation period may be reduced by exercising, which helps more uterine blood exit the body, in addition to relieving period cramps.
You can’t go swimming on your period
There are many outrageous beliefs about swimming on your period - some people believe that menstrual blood may attract sharks, while others believe that your period is paused immediately upon entering the water. Both of such rumors are false, and neither should prevent you from swimming on your period. Although you may experience a reduction in flow due to water pressure, your period does not truly stop. We recommend that you opt for tampons, menstrual cups or period-safe bathing suits to prevent leakage. As for sharks, it has been proven time and time again that sharks are not attracted to menstrual blood, so there is no cause for concern if you do experience leakages.
Women who live together “sync up”
Through pure coincidence, many women experience overlapping menstrual cycles with housemates or family. Given that menstruation can last 5 days, overlapping periods are a common occurrence. However, recent studies have deemed cycle syncing to be “very unlikely”.
Bed rest is the most effective method to alleviating period pain
While it is important to get plenty of sleep during your period to minimize menstruation symptoms, exercise has proven to be extremely beneficial in reducing mood swings, minimizing abdominal cramping and nausea. So, to some extent bed rest is beneficial, but exercise should be considered a priority on your period. That being said, if your period is inducing fatigue you should reduce the intensity of the exercise to avoid straining your body.
About the Author
Kate is a business student at Western University, who enjoys hiking and canoeing in her free time. As the oldest of three sisters, Kate has a passion for sharing advice, and helping girls build a sense of self-confidence.