There are so many things we’ve heard about our periods growing up, and since forever, people have had strange beliefs and rituals when it comes to that time of the month. In medieval ages, they burned a toad to help with menstrual cramps, today, some of us still believe that you shouldn’t shower while being on your period. So, let’s break some of the myths we keep hearing about.
- Don’t go camping during your period because bears will be attracted to the smell of your blood.
Research has actually been conducted on this and proved that you don’t appear to be more yummy than your friends if you’re camping while you’re on your period. So, pack your camping gear and worry not about attracting some unwanted company - at least, in relation to your menstruation. In fact, bears might feel invited to the food you’re bringing, as the research showed that the were indeed interested in that, more than they were in eating tampons soaked in period blood. (Oh, the things you can learn!)
- You lose a lot of blood
It may feel like you’re losing a lot of blood, for sure. We feel bloated and heavy, and when we check what’s going on down there, some days it looks like this is the end. In reality, it’s not that much at all. It is only about 80ml of blood that the average woman bleeds every month. When using tampons or pads this might be a little bit hard to determine or it might seem like a lot more. But if you’re a menstrual cup user, you have probably realized that you don’t bleed as much as it feels like you are.
- Swimming during your period will attract sharks
The nostrils of a shark are actually there just to smell their next meal. That’s their only purpose. But no, being on your period will not attract sharks. After tons of research, it seems that the consensus is that you can swim on your bloody days without being any more worried about sharks than the next non-menstruating swimmer. You don’t bleed nearly enough to be able to alert them.
- You can’t get pregnant during your period
There are still many women who believe that there’s no need for contraception when having sex during your period. You can get pregnant on your period days just like on your non-period days. Although the chances might not be as high as during your fertility (ovulation) days, they are still there. There’s many cases where women got pregnant during their periods, so unless you are planning such a big step in your life, don’t play with fire. Always be safe.
- It’s not good if you don’t get your period until the age of 14
It is common for most women to get their periods around this age (or even a bit earlier), but some of us don’t get our period until we are 16 or 17. This is normal and there is nothing wrong with it. Everyone matures at a different pace, and some cycles start sooner than others. There is no reason to be concerned if a 14 year old still doesn’t have a period.
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There are countless myths like these all around the world. Some cultures believe that menstruating women should not go to a religious institution, or that they shouldn’t cook because they will contaminate the food.
Menstrual myths through history have put women in very unpleasant situations,and have even defined their role and the way they are perceived within society. It is important to teach young people that menstruation is a normal process and a menstruating woman is not a woman to be avoided or shunned. There’s nothing wrong with bleeding. In fact, menstruation is a part of the process that gives us life. Menstruation means reproductive health, and reproductive health means life.