Most of us got our first period in our early teens. This was followed by a flood of narratives about periods from different sources like the internet, relatives, and friends. Growing up, we have heard both informative and superstitious tales about periods from everyone. In 2021, we know that period myths are not just hilarious but can also prove to be dangerous to people who believe in them. It’s important to get your facts right especially if you’re someone who menstruates. The right information and regular visits to a gynecologist can make your period days even more comfortable. Here are a few bizarre myths that we’ve all heard at some point in our lives and the facts that lie behind them.
1. Myth: A Regular Period Means That You’re Fertile
Fact: A lot more than just a regular period ascertains if you’re fertile.
Fertility and being able to get pregnant involves more than just a regular period. Factors like a healthy egg, a uterus, balanced hormones, and fallopian tubes are all equally important. Unfortunately, just having your regular menstrual cycle can not be a sure-fire indicator of a possible pregnancy in the future. If you are someone who is looking to get pregnant, getting yourself checked by a gynecologist should ideally be the first step in that journey.
2. Myth: There’s No Risk Of Pregnancy If You’re On Your Period.
Fact: You can get pregnant on your period
While you’re on your period, and your uterine lining is shedding, one wouldn’t suspect that getting pregnant could even be a remote possibility. However, according to health experts, sperm that enters the vagina can live in your reproductive tract for days. So if you happen to have unprotected sex during your period, and you ovulate early for the next cycle (as the cycle can easily vary from one to the next,) there are significant chances that you can get pregnant.
3. Myth: There Is Something Wrong With You If You Don’t Get Your Period Every Single Month
Fact: You may skip your period every once in a while for a host of reasons
When you’re on hormonal contraception like the pill or a hormonal IUD—you may not get your period every month. This can be a side effect of the hormones that aim to reduce the thickness of the uterine lining. Having said that, you might also sometimes miss your monthly period for factors such as high-stress levels and a change in your body weight. In fact, in the last year amid the pandemic, more women missed their period than ever before in the unprecedented times that we were living in. Elizabeth Ward, the co-author of The Menopause Diet Plan, in her book, says that sudden changes in your life and unprecedented times like a pandemic can definitely affect the menses.
However, if you’re missing your menses regularly, you should schedule an appointment with your gynecologists’.
4. Myth: You’re Not Supposed To Exercise While You’re On The Period
Fact: You can exercise during your period with the right kind of support and the best sanitary napkins out there
It’s one of those age-old telltale myths that our mothers and grandmothers have heard and passed it on to us. In the past, it was believed that women should simply rest on their periods and that exercising could worsen the cramps and the bleeding or even spill over to cause stains.
However, research shows that exercising before and during your period might just relieve those painful cramps. Regular exercise can be good for your hormonal profile and can improve menstrual pain during heavy flow days in the long run. Lastly, in the year 2021, if you’re worried about stains, you should give organic pads a thought. The Hi Life organic pads are perfectly soft courtesy of the base material which is made of GOTS-certified 100% organic cotton sourced from Texas. They are also exceptionally absorbent with a meticulously designed honeycomb structure and a double airlaid technology that supports you during your period days amid all kinds of flow.
5. Myth: PMS Or Pre-Menstrual Syndrome Is Not Real
Fact: PMS is real and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Symptoms like major fatigue, moodiness, sore boobs, poor sleep, even weight gain happen due to the tweaked hormonal environment in the post-ovulation stage. These symptoms are often courtesy the elevated progesterone and estrogen levels in the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle.
6. Myth: Terrible Cramps During Period Are Normal
Fact: Terrible cramps during period signal towards an underlying medical condition in some cases.
The myth stems from a lack of medical research for periods in the last century. However, we’re medically advancing now and know for sure that extreme pain amid periods is not normal. In fact, painful periods can signal a number of underlying conditions, including uterine fibroids (noncancerous growths in the uterus) or endometriosis. These conditions can get worse with time and impact your fertility gravely if you don’t treat them. This basically means for really bad period cramps, you should visit a gynaec stat!
7. Myth: Having Sex On Your Period Can Get You Pregnant With Deformed Babies
Fact: Period sex is not a factor that affects the health of your baby.
According to The Curse: A Cultural History of Menstruation by Emily Toth, the French have believed in the past that babies born from period sex would be “puny, languid, and moribund,” and would also be “foul and stinking.” In Greek literature, the name miasma or pollution is given to such babies. In fact, in cultures across the world period sex with the aim of procreation has been discouraged. However, these are all beliefs that shouldn’t be taken seriously at all. Today, we know for certain, that period sex is not a factor that affects the health of the baby.
8. Myth: Women Should Just Stay At Home During The Period
Fact: Exercising and moving around helps with cramps during periods. Moreover, some women aren’t in pain at all during their periods.
These beliefs stem from a lack of research and prognosis made by 19th century Doctors. For example, in 1868, Dr. Horatio Storer who was then considered the father of American gynecology said that female physicians shouldn’t be allowed to work while they were on their period because their patients wouldn’t “as safe as at other times.” His book, Criminal Abortion: Its Nature, Its Evidence, and Its Law, is also almost two centuries old and advancement in gynecology today tells us otherwise.
9. Myth: Close Proximity With Menstruating Women Kills Crops, Ruins Foods & Spoils Pickles
Fact: Periods have no effect on crops, food, or pickles.
These are just a handful of superstitions, there are tonnes more out there that you may have heard while growing up. A Roman naturalist called Pliny The Elder wrote that “contact with menstruation turns new wine sour, crops touched by it become barren, grafts die, seed in gardens are dried up, the fruit of trees fall off, the edge of steel and the gleam of ivory are dulled, hives of bees die, even bronze and iron are at once seized by rust, and a horrible smell fills the air; to taste it drives dogs mad and infects their bites with an incurable poison.” Unfortunately, he wasn’t the only one to spread these superstitions. But today, we know for good to not entertain them.