Contributed by: Rachana Arya
It’s that time of the month? You can’t cradle newborn babies or you’ll make them sick! You can’t touch plants and flowers, because they will die faster! You can only enter the temple once you’ve washed your hair on or after the fourth day! Avoid going camping because the bears can smell it from far away and attack you! You should wash your pads before disposing of them; else ghosts will come and haunt you!
Despite the great advances that we may have made on several fronts, millions of menstruating women believe in some period myth or behavioral restriction—and it’s because we don’t talk about this biological process enough. The topic of menstruation has long been perpetrated by myths and remains an ’embarrassing’ subject to broach. These myths also make it more difficult for women to talk about their period — leading to silence, embarrassment, and misconception.
It’s past time to put an end to the taboo, inaccuracies that have been passed down through the ages. Here are 6 amazing facts to debunk some of the most widespread menstruation misconceptions.
It is entirely possible to become pregnant while on your period:
The top contender of the myths around periods is that having sex during your period won’t result in a pregnancy. It is true that, in many females, menstruation is the period when they are least fertile. However, the chances of getting pregnant are slim, yet not impossible, as the duration of your menstrual cycle and your ovulation determines a lot. While most menstrual cycles last about 28 days, if you have a shorter-than-average menstrual cycle or early ovulation, fertilization could occur if you have unprotected vaginal sex toward the end of the period.
The menstrual cycle differs from woman to woman and from cycle to cycle. It’s completely normal to have a light period once in a while. This is quite natural and especially true when a female is just starting to menstruate. Your menstrual cycle and how it behaves can change as you get older. Hormonal fluctuations, lack of sleep, stress levels, excessive exercise, dietary changes, and weight gain are all factors that can influence your menstrual cycle and cause irregular periods.
Perimenopause — the years before menopause — can also cause shifts in the time from one period to the next, and you may have heavier or lighter bleeding during your period. While your body will eventually learn to recognize age-related changes, it’s recommended to consult a doctor if you notice anything unexpected, irregular, or unexpected.
Your menstrual cycle does not have to sync with your friends:
Anecdotally, there is a popular belief that women who spend a lot of time together begin menstruating on the same day every month. However, there is no research-backed evidence of sync-up to validate this myth. Proximity to friends doesn’t change your cycle timing or frequency. If you have your period for one week a month and live with three other women, there’s a strong probability that at least two of you will have your period at the same time. Also, females living in close proximity may have similar diets, exercise routines, sleep/wake cycles, and stressors, all of which might cause overlapping cycles a few times.
A missed period does necessarily indicate pregnancy:
If you haven’t had your period in a while, don’t assume you’re pregnant. That isn’t always the case. But if you have had sex and have missed your periods, then taking a pregnancy test is the greatest approach to make sure you’re not pregnant. There could be various reasons for the missing or late period. It could be due to stress, weight gain, or most probably hormonal changes, or it could be a sign of another health issue. It makes sense to seek the advice of your gynecologist for the possibility of any underlying health issues.
It is possible that your period blood isn’t always red in color:
It’s totally normal possible to see that the blood you lose during menstruation isn’t red. It could be a mix of colors, from bright red to dark brown and everything in between. Hormones and medical factors play a big role in the color of your period blood. In reality, the blood in your period can be a sign of an infection or an underlying health problem. You may have low estrogen levels or be anemic if your period blood is pink. Of course, self-diagnosis should be avoided at all costs. Speak to your doctor if you detect a change in the color of your period blood.
There are more alternatives to your traditional pads:
There are a number of additional environmentally responsible strategies to manage periods. Menstrual cups, period panties, and reusable cloth pads, and period-proof underwear are all options. These are more eco-friendly options that produce significantly less waste. Because sanitary pads have been so widely used for so long, many women have a blind spot when it comes to experimenting with different menstrual products. Whether you want to save money, reduce waste, or try something new—there are plenty of feminine hygiene goods to choose from.
If you ever come across anything that you are unsure of or that you find worrisome, speak to your gynecologist. They will be able to factually verify it for you. In the field of medicine, myths and misconceptions have no place.
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