Menstruation isn’t glamorous, but it’s time to eliminate the stigma and shame surrounding this natural part of womanhood. When it comes to periods, there are a lot of unspoken questions and unconfirmed biases floating around. Many “period myths” stem from past cultural beliefs that have not been adapted to current scientific knowledge and advancements we have today.
Thanks to new research and innovative products that help women manage their cycle, we can answer the questions we’ve all asked ourselves with more certainty.
1. You Can’t Get Pregnant While You’re On Your Period
While you’re much less likely to get pregnant while on your period, it is possible. Any time you have sex, there is a chance of pregnancy. Having sex when you’re ovulating is when you’re most likely to get pregnant, and having sex when you’re on your period is when you’re least likely. However, your chances of getting pregnant depend on the length of your menstrual cycle and ovulation from month to month, among other factors.
2. Having a Timely Period Means You’re Sure to Get Pregnant
It’s always reassuring to know that your cycle is consistent every month. However, fertility requires more than just a punctual period. It requires healthy eggs, reproductive organs, sperm and a lot of good timing.
3. Missing a Period Means Your Probably Pregnant
If you’ve missed your period, it could mean a variety of things. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re pregnant. Are you stressed? Have you started taking any new medications? These are also very normal reasons to miss your period. There is a lot of information out there that explains what could be going on. However, the best thing to do is to always consult your doctor with your concerns.
4. Virgins Can’t Wear Tampons
Contrary to popular belief, any girl who has had a period can use a tampon. Using them may cause the hymen to stretch or tear, but that doesn’t mean you’re no longer a virgin. For those who fear that using a tampon will be painful, there are a number of junior tampons that are smaller and easier to insert or remove. If you’re looking for products that contain fewer chemicals, try natural tampons.
5. PMS Pain is Totally Normal
Let’s talk about culture. It’s widely accepted that women are just moody, fatigued and sore while they’re on their periods, but what we don’t always acknowledge is that these pains are a result of a hormone imbalance. It isn’t “normal” to experience debilitating cramps, major depression, anxiety or extreme irritability. These symptoms could be a sign of PMS or PMDD, which can be diagnosed by a doctor who can recommend medication or other treatment methods. While it is common among women to experience physical and emotional menstrual symptoms, it definitely isn’t normal. READ: Period Pain In Lower Back: Causes, Management and Treatment
6. Eliminating Your Period is Unhealthy
There are certain methods of birth control that eliminate your period altogether, and while this may sound too good to be true, it’s not! If you choose to use an intrauterine device (IUD) as birth control, it’s likely that the IUD will prevent your uterine lining from thickening (a process that naturally happens during the first half of your menstrual cycle). As a result, your flow will decrease, as there’s less uterine lining to shed. Eventually, your period may stop altogether. This is a natural effect of the IUD and shouldn’t be viewed as inherently dangerous.
7. You Can’t Have Sex on Your Period
This is simply an issue of preference. There are widespread beliefs that having sex while on your period is unsanitary, but there are scientific studies that have shown that menstrual blood is not as taboo as we may think. In fact, it contains sodium, calcium, phosphate and other beneficial elements. If you still aren’t sold on this one, consider alternative feminine care products, such as a menstrual disc, which allows for mess-free sex during your period.
The key to ending the stigma surrounding menstruation is education. By asking the questions and embracing the future of feminine care, we can continue to normalize the conversation in society and promote freedom in womanhood. As always every woman’s body is different, so consult with your doctor with any concerns you may have.