Period myths. We’ve heard them all.
From not washing hair or ‘no-touching the pickle’, to being impure and not allowed to enter the kitchen.
Although there is no scientific data/relevance/study to back these claims and most of them are associated with religious, cultural and social beliefs, so, I am not touching upon them.
Here, I am busting some other pertinent misconceptions associated with menstruation.
Myth: A woman can’t get pregnant during her period.
Truth: In most cases it is unlikely that a woman gets pregnant while she is on her period but it is not ‘IMPOSSIBLE’.
There are a few reasons to back this.
- A woman’s menstrual cycle is usually for 28-30 days, but few women have shorter ovulation cycle (20 to 24 days). If the menstrual cycle is shorter than normal, she might ovulate soon after her period gets over. On the other hand, a sperm can survive for 3-4 days in the fallopian tube/uterus/vagina, and so if she gets involved in unprotected sexual intercourse during this time, there are chances of pregnancy.
- Some women may bleed slightly (spotting) when their ovaries release an egg each month (ovulation) and they misapprehend it for their period. A woman is at peak of her fertility when she ovulates. So, having sex during this time could result in pregnancy.
Therefore, getting pregnant during menstruation although is not likely, but there’s always a chance.
Use a condom or other form of birth control to prevent an unplanned pregnancy, no matter what time of the month it is.
Myth: You become weak during period because a LOT of blood is lost during menstruation.
Truth: On an average, a woman loses only about 2 to 3 tablespoons of blood during her period. Even if someone is experiencing menorrhagia (heavy bleeding), the uterus still only releases around 4 tablespoons of blood. In due course of time, our body automatically replenishes the lost blood. Having a healthy, iron rich diet is always a good idea.
BUT if a woman is losing so much blood that it’s affecting her day-to-day life, then it could be a reason of worry and examination. Going through more than 10 pads or seven tampons a day, bleeding for more than seven days, or becoming anaemic are signs that one could be losing too much blood and need to see a doctor.
Myth: PMS is ‘man’ made (literally!); it’s all in the head.
Truth: PMS or pre-menstrual syndrome is not a made-up disorder that women use to justify their mood swings or cravings.
Throughout the menstrual cycle, hormone levels fluctuate constantly. Varying levels of estrogen and progesterone affect our body/brain, causing irritability, fatigue, mood swings, depression, anxiety, cramping and a bundle of other unpleasant symptoms. According the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 85 % of menstruating women suffer from at least one PMS symptom every month. PMS is for real!
Myth: You should not swim in your period.
Truth: By wearing a tampon or a menstrual cup, you can very well go swimming. Just make sure that you change the tampon at desired and required intervals. But you must not try diving in the water with the regular pad as that can get really messy and will also spoil the water.
Myth: You should not exercise in your period.
Oh, you definitely can! If you suffer from abdominal pain (cramps) during your period, exercise is actually the most effective way to manage it because working out releases a hormone – endorphins into the blood.
But you have to make sure that the exercising should be vigorous enough to make you breath hard and elevate your heart rate. Because then only, your body releases endorphins that help in counteracting the cramp-producing chemicals which are part of the menstrual cycle.